I had the honor to create a mural for the bar at Herd Restaurant which I am also a partner in. Because of this I was able to create a mural concept that encompassed what I like most. I have been asked many times over the years if I could paint anything in the world what would it be. This thus far would be the closest to what that answer would be.
Having your father as a commercial insurance agent has its perks. After getting a referral from friend Carrie Corella, owner of Nora cupcakes my father gained Chu Nygo owner of Lan Chi’s Vietnamese restaurant as a client and with that my introduction as well! 🙂 The Lan Chi restaurant mural was a bit of a challenge but a welcome one to say the least. With difficulties on picking a composition for the mural and time running out with the opening of the restaurant around the corner I thought it was a good idea to move my studio into a new location. Almost from an episode of hoarders we moved 7 years worth of “stuff” 6 doors down into my new studio spot. Amid the chaos I was going back and forth with the wonderful Chu and her ever funny husband Lam on what we were actually going to paint! My initial design for Lan Chi’s Vietnamese restaurant was turned down. After going through three more designs I received an email from Chu stating that she just wasn’t excited about any of the new ideas I had shown her. Frankly I wasn’t either. She ask me what I thought and what I wanted to paint. I said that I really wanted to paint the original idea I had shown her and would love to take my design and project it on her wall so she and her husband can see why I wanted to paint it. That Sunday morning I was very excited as I knew once they saw this design blown up in there 11 foot tall by 14 foot wide wall they were going to go crazy, and in a good way. So that morning I projected it on the wall and stated why I wanted to paint it. I believe Lam felt my excitement and fed off my energy. He said what any artist wants their client to say. “If you are excited to paint this then i want you to paint it because your enthusiasm will be with in the painting and give us great finished product”. BINGO Back to the studio I went and with 6 days I needed to finish this large painting on canvas in my studio so it can be hung at the restaurant the day before the opening!
The finish piece I feel adds something to the restaurant that any central wall should, interest. Using a variety of elements I made sure that I used stone, sky and earth colors in my mural. With the majority of the mural being stone I was able to ensure the pop of color coming from the yellow in the Cambodian statues and the red from the temple in the background which is the The Temple of Literature, Van Mieu. The end product was well received and everyone was happy, which in turn made me very happy!
Creating the mural at Us Restaurant and Lounge in Middletown, CT was quite the honor since I had painted murals in this same address years earlier for the previous business Titanium. It was nice to create new murals and a new theme for a very large layout. Working with Earl and Kendra O’Garro, the owners was amazing as well. They brought an energy to the project that rivaled my own and that says a lot.
Originally this space was painted a charcoal almost black color from head to toe. Added elements of greys and silvers highlighted the black and then there was the lighting…everywhere. The NEW look was quite the opposite. This large space was opened up even more first by painting the entire space white. With this fresh palette to start a highlight color was added and that color was red.
There were two sets of murals being painted for Us Restaurant and Lounge. The first was a large scale mural the spanned over 16 feet in length and 3 feet in height. It was a monster painting in size and it was very evident to me the scale of this piece when the frame arrived in my studio before I started painting it. The premise was to create something that embodied family and friends. Being that the name of the restaurant was “Us” this was a good opportunity toe represent this. To prepare for this painting I held a photo shoot with all the players. 26 people gathered one night and we lit them in a very dramatic fashion. It was from these photos that I compiled the composition here. A modern day “Last Supper” except with a happier ending only at Us Restaurant and Lounge.
The second stage of paintings was very different. The idea was to create similar large murals like the last set for the previous business but more of them this time and with the idea of red being the dominant color. Using an R&B theme I had a blast painting these. (6) 8 foot by 4 foot paintings that needed to hang on the walls over 12 feet above the viewers heads. When we sat down Earl and Kendra O’Garro gave me 6 artists to paint including, Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott, Alicia Keys, Tracy Chapman, and Robin Thicke. Once completed I had my carpenter take on the dubious task of climbing the scaffold to hang them. This project is one that I am very fond of. I love that the owners created very personal pieces for the restaurant. It was not only a challenge but ultimately as an artist a great honor to paint. I have also had the opportunity to try the wonderful food of Chef Garfield Trout who is an artist in his own right and all I can say is if you get a chance stop by and order up because it is well worth it!
A true passion of mine has always been painting murals in restaurants. A few years back, my father told me about a new hotel being built in Madison. Located at 94 West Wharf Road right on Long Island Sound in Madison, CT, the Madison Beach Hotel has a view of the ocean like no other. This brand new, high-end hotel includes a gourmet restaurant, luxurious spa, and just over 30 beautifully appointed rooms. The grounds include a large grassy area where the hotel shows family movies and hosts concert and art shows during the summer. Madison Beach Hotel had a classy reputation even before it officially opened!
The Madison Beach Hotel is an amazing place that words can hardly describe!
My father suggested I contact the hotel to see if they would want any of my art. I put out some feelers and made a couple of calls, all to no avail. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that a friend I have known for over 20 years ended up getting me in to meet with one of the owners. It is then that I first met Dawn Duques, the owner of the Madison Beach Hotel. Dawn is a tiny lady, delicate and elegant. She is strong without having to state it and some might say she embodies a perfect mix of traits. I enjoyed sitting with her and coming up with ideas for this mural. Most of it evolved from an original idea until we settled on an interesting mix of culture, entertainment, and history. It is through our conversation I was able to gain insight into Mrs. Duques’s interests from key words like french bistro, evening gala, and, later on a representation of her father in law, husband, herself and son. I found that we worked very well together and would come up with really creative ideas. With this information I was able to create a composition that would work for the space. It had to have a certain standard. The Madison Beach Hotel has been referred to more than once as something out of the book The Great Gatsby and I agree. It is a gorgeous retreat and I needed to make sure that the mural I created would stand its own ground without being overpowering. Using warm tones and highlights I felt I was able to capture the feel that not only represented the Madison Beach Hotel but also the family values that Mrs Duques’s holds dear.
Living in Madison, CT I enjoy nothing more than having an opportunity to have my work seen in the town where my family lives. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to get a call from the two sisters, Sheila and Janice, who own and operate a popular storefront in Madison that sells trendy and fashionable clothing for women. When I first arrived to talk with them, they were in a transition, moving their storefront from Bradley and Wall Street right onto Main Street (or Boston Post Road) in Madison.
I arrived and immediately noticed their Ciao Bella Moda International sign with clouds and cherubs adorned with a leopard skin pattern. It was trendy and fun and I wanted to be involved.
Originally they wanted me to quote them the job of having their wall covered in leopard spots. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t beat the price or speed of having wallpaper up. The good news was, they liked my work and we all hit it off pretty well. I ended up pitching them an idea I had of painting a model in front of the leopard spots, creating a tromp l’oeil mural that would be interesting and fashionable like the store they own. They also hired me to recreate the signs for the exterior. Now, this Connecticut mural I created was something I was pretty excited about. We ended up using Sheila’s daughter as the model which made it even better. The finished painting is something I am super proud of and is a piece that inspired me to create other paintings in that style. I have always loved painting in this Trompe L’oeil style and this piece in particular is a favorite of mine.
There are some projects that are just fun and this is one of them. I got involved with the Russian Karaoke Bar Jelsomino nyc through a company called iCrave located in New York.
I went to high school with one of the guys who worked for them and touched base with him through Facebook. He in turn got me involved with the Ginza project that was producing this incredible Russian nightclub Jelsomino nyc located on 204 W. 55th street in NY.
I’ve loved working for restaurants and nightclubs ever since I started my business working for clubs in south Florida over a decade ago. The great thing about these commercial products is you can work a bit out of the box, creating a mural design or style that is a bit more whimsical. This New York mural project did not disappoint. I was given renderings of the mural wall and a basic idea of adding an aged graffiti-like element to the wall and making the three doors on the wall disappear. A couple of trips into the city and a few sketches later I had a design that was approved. This New York nightclub mural design depicted images of three icons in the music industry, connecting them with decorative scrolls.
When I arrived to paint this mural I was excited to see such progress since my last visit. Jelsomino Karaoke Bar was starting to look like a wonderful project to be involved in. Everything was looking top notch which added a bit of excitement that it was my turn to add my bit to the Ginza project. The entire mural took me three days to complete with an assistant and I left feeling completely gratified. It was a simple mural that made a big impact for the space. I got a big thrill in signing my name to this one. Since the opening they have been in many newspapers including the New York Post and boast to be a once in a lifetime experience.
40 feet of fun is the best way to describe my experience in painting this mural for Hot Tomatoes in Hartford, CT. Located at 1 union Place in Hartford, CT and attached to the train station, what could be a better location to have a restaurant! I fortunately got the call to create a unique mural to hang over the bar on a long 40 foot wall. The owner Chris Calvenese and his wife trusted me to come of with something really unique and fun. As an artist I end up going above and beyond when a client gives me the freedom to paint my vision with out micro-management. This was the grand daddy of and awesome project and I planned to live it up. First off I called in my friends and my buddy’s friends to pose for the mural. We ordered food and provided beverages as we lit and photographed our models for this mural. Over 18 people in unique positions were added into the painting all interacting with each other creating a fun atmosphere. With over 200 pictures taken I knew I had plenty of shots to use. The canvas used covered all of the walls in my Durham, CT studio. It is always fun to see my studio before I start a mural. All that white square footage of canvas just waiting to become something. It is kinda neat to see it transform over the next 3 weeks into something that many would see after it is hung in the Hot Tomatoes restaurant. This was one of the greatest experiences I have had working at a restaurant. The owner, his wife and his son were great to work for and this would be one of the projects that I would miss after it was done. Once open we had all of the models in for a meal to show our appreciation and to give them a chance to see the mural in its final location.
Hot Tomatoes in Hartford, CT
La Boca Mexican Restaurant has some of my favorite murals in it. The first time I saw a grown man’s face turn red with his eyes tearing was at La Boca Mexican Restaurant. It was my Uncle and he had just gulped down a jalapeno pepper excited as a little boy. I remember thinking to myself that it was weird that my Uncle was crying. When it was explained to me why he was crying and that these types of peppers are very spicy I asked my uncle why he did this. He said he loved spicy food and that it was really good. As an 8 year old boy I just shrugged my shoulders and moved on with my meal. I never forgot it though and when the opportunity came up to paint some murals for this establishment that had been around for over 30 years I jumped at it! La Boca Mexican Restaurant was moving towards the middle of main street to where Bob’s Surplus used to be. The new address would be 37 Main street Middletown, CT and the new location would promised a new beginning for a restaurant that has outlasted most business on main street. With new beginnings came the opportunity to create some really unique murals. Working with Kristen McCory of Ammati design and La Boca’s marketing team from Social Tuna I was able to add a twist to a tradition Mexican themed restaurant. Using the day of the dead theme I added a modern flair to old photographs creating a younger more hip theme for the bar. This theme would be then taken further from Social Tuna using this idea for all of the marketing of la Boca in the future.
La Boca Mexican Restaurant
A few years after we completed Esca Wine Bar the Bramato family called us to add some flair to their newest venture run by their son Gaetano Bramato, named Titanium Bar and Lounge. After talking with the son I realized that other than painting the walls black and adding some super awesome bars there was no real ideas for the walls. Immediately I thought big and bold murals for this Middletown restaurant. Black and white with a touch of color, simple yet sexy. Murals in Middletown Connecticut has become somewhat of a passion for me since I grew up here. Adding these murals meant more to me than just creating a stylish club experience. Once I was able to get the son on board I created the murals and stretched them at their Middletown Main street location for hanging. Still not enough though. Titanium night club had all these light boxes buried in the basement and Gaetano Bramato wanted to use them to hang. He want random designs so I came up with a cool set of painted designs for the set of them. I also included my name upside down on one of them. Can you see it? As the project continued we added the scrolls behind the downstairs and upstairs bars using a metallic gold paint a top of a black base. The final touch was a silver leafed Titanium logo over 15 feet wide opposite the main bar. Titanium Bar and Nightclub ended up becoming a great project for this Connecticut muralist. Hope you enjoy.
How I got involved painting a mural for Rooftop 120. It was toward the end of the summer of 2010, I found myself doing work for quite a few restaurants. One in particular stands out more than others. One reason it stands out is the location: this was to be a roof top bar overlooking Glastonbury, CT with the very fitting name of Rooftop 120. Another reason was the actual project itself. I was able to nab a nice focal wall in the entry of the place, directly across from the hostess station and right in front of customers as they walk through the doors. Nothing makes me happier than good location for a mural! Finally, I love the composition of this mural. I had a concept in mind for the painting, something I had to sell to the owners a bit but they came through in the end.
The owners are a father and son team. The father is a very strong willed man who was a doctor before he got into real estate. He purchased commercial properties in Glastonbury before Glastonbury was the post town it is now. Father and son went back and forth with differing opinions on design of the painting before agreeing to use my original design.
I was thrilled to finally get the green light on a mural that I thought would be modern enough for a new generation of night-lifers to enjoy. I had an idea of a few people hanging out in a way that allowed the use of depth, light and shadows. I want to be very specific in the shapes I used and I also wanted to have layers. This concept I have had for a while and actually pitched to another bar located in Hartford. They declined and went a different direction but I held onto the idea and finally had a chance to paint it. Once the deal was sealed I immediately got the five friends I wanted as models together with the help of one of the girls I used in a few previous murals. They came by the studio and I staged a makeshift area that would fit the shape I was going to paint. Here with lighting angled from the top right I was able to get the pictures I wanted in one sitting. The painting went quite well and pictures of it were used in a magazine called Faux Effects World. The restaurant opened and I hear it is dong quite well. Now if I can only get them to like me on facebook!