A Muralist’s Guide To Creating Vivid Neon Graffiti

Amy Benson Sachse is an artist that creates painted murals & custom art projects, and also provides various art & design services for her clients. One of her recent mural projects introduced Amy to Rosco’s Vivid FX Paint. When she tagged Rosco in her time-lapse video of the mural getting created, we reached out and asked her for more of the story. Below is what she sent us.

I was initially contacted by interior designer Christie Schellenbach to discuss a mural project. Her client’s son had a bedroom wall that needed a “fun & funky mural in neons.” She was looking for something ultra-loud that could perhaps incorporate a splashed-paint look or even some sort of graffiti-style. We discussed basic things like mural size, style, general cost, etc. But most importantly, we discussed the customer! Zach is an active 8 year-old boy with lots of cool hobbies, and it was time for his bedroom to transform from juvenile into a transitional-styled “big boy room.” Christie and I met to go over the details of the project and she brought me an inspirational image that resonated with the family: a colorful collage of various funky items.

VividFX1This inspirational image was vital to the project. It helped me visually see where the client was coming from and understand the style they desired. The mural would be painted on a 12 foot wide wall and would contain the following characteristics:

  • Bold, bright “neon” like colors
  • Graphic black outlines
  • Metallic accents

The point of the mural would be to highlight Zach’s favorite things, including: sports (particularly the Ohio Buckeyes and the Pittsburgh Steelers), Pokemon, dice, notebook paper, skulls, sunglasses, and a large letter “Z” for Zach.

 

From there I provided four sketches that Christie could supply to Zach and his family for feedback. Throughout the process, I received notes that helped dial-in the color-scheme, downplay and/or eliminate some of the initial elements that Zach didn’t care for, and really focus on the parts of Zach’s life that we all wanted the mural to showcase.

Amy Benson Sachse’s original sketches for Zach’s Graffiti Mural

With the fourth and final sketch in hand, it was time to get to work on the wall. I completely primed this particular area twice. You gotta do it. When you use bright paint, if the primer coat is uneven or not uniformly the same texture – the paints will accentuate those flaws. Next, I placed my mini sketch, which was drawn to scale, on my opaque projector. I penciled the mural onto the wall and, when the lights came back on, I was ready to hit it with black paint. In this case, I used standard black wall paint to make long, smooth, sweeping lines. I also make a point to use the largest paint brush possible. I vow that a large brush will create an “effortless feel” that results in a skilled and professional look. We’ve all seen projects where a small brush was used. The result feels tense, looks fussy, and every hand jitter is visible.

This screen grab from Amy’s video shows her bold and skilled black outline work

Once the black had dried, it was was finally time to fill in with the neon-colors. During the sketching/design process for this mural, an annoying little voice kept urging me to start hunting for those “Neon” paints. I visited two standard paint retailers and got the same answer at both: neither carried any fluorescent paints, but I could special order quarts (one would only order GALLONS!) of each color – sight unseen. This was a total waste, there had to be another way. I turned to Google and – BAM! My internet search for “HIGH-PIGMENT PAINT RETAIL” led me to Norcostco, a theatrical-supply company based in the Twin Cities. Through talking with their wonderful product techs about the different paints they offered, I honed in on Rosco’s Vivid FX Fluorescent Paint Kit, which contains 13 one-ounce pots of different “NEON” colors. I bought three of these kits and began painting!

Another screen grab from Amy’s video shows her adding in the “Neon Colors” with the Vivid FX Paint

I was elated to learn that these specially formulated paints boasted ultra-concentrated pigment that could be intermixed successfully and retain full vibrancy (without the muddiness found when mixing standard wall paints). The Vivid FX Paint was the star of this mural and it wouldn’t be the same without those blazing colors. The paint, with its thick, rich consistency, was easy to use. I was able to go straight from the jar, but I mixed them on a separate surface to get my color blends. The Vivid FX saved me valuable time and effort since I only had to do one coat over most of the mural.

VividFX3Amy Benson Sachse proudly poses with Zach’s Neon Graffiti Mural and her Vivid FX Test Kit

As an added bonus, the neon-like colors were also ultraviolet light-activated! So, not only were the colors crazy bright in normal daylight, they became “electrified” when they were bathed in black light. The homeowners loved the idea and added a custom black molding box above the mural to conceal a new black light fixture. Zach would have his very own special effects light show to show off!

I’m still amazed at how well Rosco Vivid FX Paint performed! I love, love, LOVE the one-coat coverage factor, and I could not get over the eye-popping color. Even in daylight, it almost made me squint! I love this mural, Christie the interior designer loves it too and, most importantly, Zach loves it most of all!

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The best way to check out Amy Benson Sachse’s work is to visit her Pinterest page – or be one of the first to follow her brand new Facebook page. You can learn more about the paints she used in this mural by visiting the Vivid FX Paint web page.

Photo Credit: Lenny Garza

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Joel Svendsen

About Joel Svendsen

Content Marketing Manager: Joel's Rosco career began in Rosco's Hollywood office in 1999 – first in sales covering the Western US and the Los Angeles Film & Television market, and then as Product Manager for Rosco's Film & Television Products. In that time, his knowledge of Rosco's products and how they're used in each of our marketplaces makes him well suited for bringing the stories in Spectrum to life.