Lake Superior Zoo Australian Exhibit

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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 café 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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