Philadelphia Zoo Aviary

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Denver Zoo Bird World

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Henry Vilas Zoo Anacondas & Classroom

Anaconda-wanting-to-help-Paul-paint-at-Henry-Vilas-ZooOne of my most consistent and enjoyable clients is the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin. The director, now retired, was a Viet vet like myself, and a former Green Beret, so we hit it off instantly, trading War stories. My most recent job for Henry Vilas was in 2012, some rainforest walls in the Education building which included an Anaconda exhibit. The two huge snakes, on the other side of a plexiglass sliding door, made no secret of their desire to help me paint. At least I think that’s what they wanted. Continue reading

Kansas City Zoo

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Philadelphia Zoo Primates

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Henry Vilas Zoo Small Mammals

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Henry Vilas Zoo Aviary

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Hidden Features, or The Art of Camouflage

I was into camo long before it became fashionable. I’ve been a collector of all sorts of camo from all sorts of countries. Understanding the principles of camouflage (counter shading, breaking up the outline and mimicking the background), learned in the Marines, has been of surprising utility in my mural career. Often I’m presented with a wall that is less than ideal for creating an illusion. The perfect wall for a muralist is utterly simple: flat, white, curved corners, no obstructions, no angles, no electrical features. Most zoo buildings are existing structures that must be retrofitted to create a believable natural environment. Consequently, the muralist winds up with unwanted architectural features such as soffits, columns, pipes, walk doors, jogs in the wall, windows and skylights. My job is to make them go away. Continue reading

Language Barrier

In 1993 I was doing murals in the main building of the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth, Minnesota. The building featured a cafĂ© with a deck overlooking the small valley in which the Zoo was nestled. They wanted a mural on either side of the two serving windows in a back wall, and they wanted a mural of a wildlife preserve in India. …

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Philadelphia Zoo Reptile House

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Milwaukee County Zoo Aviary

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