You probably haven't yet seen it due to the pandemic, but we now have a beautiful and intricately-colored mural in our front entryway. Mila Sketch spent 210 hours and three and a half weeks completing this lovely addition to our Chamber walls.

So how does this come to be, where does she find her inspiration, and how can your business find and hire a muralist? After spending some time on Zoom with Mila, she walked us through her process.

She said most people usually find her work on social media or through other organizations like Downtown Austin Alliance, who have worked with her. Once an introduction has been made, she listens to the client's vision and color selections. Mila then makes sure it aligns with her style and design to see that it's a good fit for both parties.

If it's a match, then the budget is discussed and determined. Mila breaks down all prices and fees for the final product. Then, a digital sketch is given to the client to review. Together, concepts are discussed and edits are given. Once the digital sketch is finalized, it's time to paint. Mila loves this part, saying:

“This is where I'm able to create the digitalized sketch, but better.”

Next is the installation itself. Here, she spends time sketching out and painting the mural. To see the plain wall transition to a beautifully-colored work of art is one of Mila‘s favorite steps in the process. Depending on the size of project and complexity of design, a project usually takes about 2-3 weeks. She will work 10 hours a day, and some murals will take hundreds of hours. Mila uses very durable, high-quality paints and brushes instead of spray cans, as it lasts longer and is more eco-friendly. Optionally, she applies a protective UV and graffiti protective layer on the finished mural. Post-project, photos and a time-lapse video are also given out.

A little Q & A sesh with Mila:

  • Where are you from?

    “I was born in Russia on the Scandanavian/Finland border but was raised in Moscow. But I've been in Austin for 6 years now.”

  • Where do you find your inspiration?

    “I find my inspiration in urban nature - the way city, skylines, and nature interact together.”

  • Why is muralism important to you?

    “If you work with a gallery, only a few people will get to see it. But with a mural, you create a message to many different people who may not be exposed to art on a daily basis. It's an opportunity for artists to bring up a thought, emotion, or idea, to many different people that can enjoy it just walking by. It's about creating positive emotional growth. I put a lot of small details in my murals that have symbols and messages within if you take a closer look. I try to make it fun for people while connecting it to history when we look at it in the future.”

  • Tell us about your favorite piece you've worked on.

    “There's a non-profit in Austin, Upbring, it's an orphanage. They recently opened a new campus, and as part of their annual gala to raise money, I auctioned out one of my mural packages. The man who won it donated it back to go to the new campus‘s gym. I was able to create some powerful messages in the piece. It's called ‘Lighthouse.’”

Mila Sketch has worked on murals all over including Austin, Dallas, New Orleans, Houston, Pennsylvania, and many more. As of January 2021, her work is now recognized and carried at an all women-owned gallery, the West Chelsea Contemporary.

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