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Artists' Materials & Framing in St. Paul, MN


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Wet Paint Interview with Mural Artist Jeffrey Nelson

As many of our local customers and neighbors know, we recently added a vibrant mural to the back of our building, and we asked our mural artist, Jeffrey Nelson of Jephemera Illustration to tell us a little bit about his experience painting with Montana Spray Paint, artistic process, and the happy accidents along the way.

Q. What is your process when starting a mural project like this? Did you do anything different for this mural vs. previous projects? What is your process for getting the drawing from the sketch to the wall?

Jeff Nelson: First of all, thank you for inviting me to Wet Paint World Headquarters. The fireplace is a nice, unexpected touch. The first thing I do when I begin a mural is panic. It’s a healthy panic, but panic nonetheless. A mural is often a person’s introduction to a business, organization, or neighborhood and, contrary to the cliche, one can tell a lot about a book by its cover. That’s why my favorite part of the whole mural process (and this is where the panic melts away) is where I get to sit down with the client or clients and work from whatever seed of an idea they may have. It may be as limited as a color combination they like or a feeling they want to convey all the way to a mock-up that was born in the marketing department and has already made it through countless rounds of revisions. Including those two extremes and everything in between is where I have my most fun: helping people turn their ideas into extremely large paintings. As far as how I transfer an approved final sketch to a wall depends on the level of exactitude desired by the client. Sometimes I’ll use transparencies and an overhead projector. With odd shapes and logos, I’ll use an old-school sign-painting pounce pattern. Less accurate is a grid system. And then, in the case of the Wet Paint mural, I use the time-tested and approved method of ”winging it.”

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Jeff making plans for the wall

Q. What was your inspiration for the design and colors?

JN: The back of the store used to have naked limestone-colored brick with windows and doors trimmed in Wet Paint Blue.  Due to the wall’s location at the back of the store, but still in an area that receives a huge amount of both foot and car traffic (thanks to its proximity to a busy retail corridor of Grand Avenue) I thought it would be the perfect candidate for a riot of color. I had a difficult time coming up with a design because I wasn’t sure whether I should accentuate the many windows, doors, chimneys, and other random enforcers of right angles, or go in the complete opposite direction and ignore all of those things and go with a more organic design. We opted for the latter. That became an increasingly wise choice as the mural progressed. 

That’s all nuts and bolts, though. The idea of filling the space with a wide range of Minnesota perennials (not annuals!) and over-sized bumblebees was meant to be symbolic of the symbiotic relationship between local artists (hearty perennials — dare I say “weed-like”?) and the staff of Wet Paint (bees, pollinating and cross-pollinating with ideas, materials, and connections to other artists). Not shown, but implied, is the art (honey) that results from this relationship.

Last, but certainly not least, is that our city, though vibrant and wonderful, looks the same in color photographs as it does in black-and-white photographs for six months of the year and I thought it would be nice to park back here in February, listen to Margaritaville for a few minutes, and then go about my shopping.

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Mural brings in lots of color to the Wet Paint parking lot… painted with Montana Spray Paint.

Q. Most artists do their work inside. Any challenges to working outdoors? Do you like working this large?

JN: Rain. Bees. Wind. Heat. Cold. Sun. Sweat.  I Love It.

Q. Have you ever worked on a project like this with community involvement? Any challenges or happy accidents that came from that?

JN: I’ve gone from loathing the idea of working with others to actively seeking out opportunities to working with others. It’s like going from checkers to 3-D chess. It’s fun to get people who are enthusiastic about making something to the point where they’re confidently wielding a brush or a can of spray paint regardless of what their age, skill level, or degree of confidence may be. Bob Ross was partly right: there are happy little accidents, but there are happy big accidents as well.

 

Q. How was it working with the Montana Spray Paint? Have you worked with it previously? Was this a challenge?

JN: Going from garden variety spray paint that you can get at a hardware store to Montana Spray Paint is like learning to drive your family’s station wagon and then getting to drive a Tesla. I’ve used it many times before as a tool on large pieces, but I had never done an entire mural with spray paint. It took some getting used to, but the miracle of spray paint is that if you screw up, you go over it again until you’re happy. It’s a joy to work with. My only tip would be that if you’re using a lot of red and it’s windy out, and you have a propensity towards hypochondria, to remember when you’re getting into the shower and look at your arm and irrationally think, “Have I contracted a rare, tropical, flesh-eating rash?” that the answer is no. It’s just paint.

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Many cans of Montana Black Spray Paint

Q. How many hours to finish a piece like this? How many cans of spray paint did you go through?   

JN: This wall took about 50 hours, not including design time. I used a lot of spray paint, but I stopped counting how many cans I used. Which reminds me: There is no such thing as too much ventilation or lung protection.

Q. And the classic question: If you had it to do again, any changes or additions you would make?

JN: And the classic answer: no changes. No additions. Everything went perfectly and according to plan.

Ha!

Right.

We had to be nimble with the palette on the first day of the mural, which was the demonstration day. That was simply due to the huge number of people who showed up. That made things a little difficult on the tail end when I had to match colors. Other than that, the only thing I would have done differently was to wear better shoes. 

I would add one thing: there is a chimney in back that is begging for a huge, puffy dandelion on it, so if anybody knows somebody who knows somebody with a scissor lift, let me know. And one last free-floating thing: painting a mural on an art store full of art supplies and accomplished artists is an opportunity everybody should have, just for the sake of knowing what it’s like to have everything you would ever need for a project.

 

Check out our fantastic mural the next time you visit the store (or are in the neighborhood)! 

You can find more info about Jeff and his other amazing work at http://jephemera.com/#

Thanks to Montana Spray Paint, Tucker Russell, Cassie Brehmer, and everyone who helped paint this mural with Jeff!

Interested in working with Montana Spray Paint? Wet Paint stocks the full lines of Montana Black and Montana Gold, and offers quantity discounts when buying 24+ cans! 


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Fashion Week MN at Wet Paint

Welcome to Fashion Week MN at Wet Paint! We thought it would be fun to contribute our own couture featuring wearable and fashionable applications of art supplies! 

On a budget, but looking to liven up your spring wardrobe? Spring is the perfect time to re-vamp older or thrifted clothes, shoes, and accessories using dyes or paints.  Plus, it always feels good to give new life to something that otherwise will languish in your closet. Read on to see how the Wet Paint staff unleashes their inner fashionistas.

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Channeling her modern witchy side, Anna is wearing a hand crocheted shawl dyed with Jacquard Procion MX. She’s also got on a pair of Gelli Arts gel plate monoprinted earrings made with Amsterdam acrylic paint, and a laser-cut wood pendant painted with Montana Gold spray paint.

[shawl: Kate Katzer, earrings: Liz Carlson, pendant: Christopher Nolt]

Paige is presenting as a literal spring day in her sweater and head scarf both dyed with Jacquard Procion MX. She’s also donning a hand-made necklace made of Arches 300lb Watercolor paper and embellished with POSCA Paint Markers and Golden Artist Colors Heavy Body Acrylic Paint.

[sweater dye: Kristina Fjellman, head scarf: Kate Katzer, necklace: Verra Blough]

With a call back to 1970’s fashion assassin, Chris is styling a jumpsuit dyed using Jacquard iDye and a scarf accessory colored with Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow Fabric Paint. He’s also sporting cotton earrings decorated with Golden Artist Colors Heavy Body Acrylic Paint, and a laser-cut wood pin painted with Montana Gold spray paint.

[jumpsuit dye: Kristina Fjellman, scarf: Jorden Priebe Cole, earrings: Kate Katzer, pin: Christopher Nolt]

Into the pink: Jorden and Baby E are family fresh in a parent/child matching set of hand dyed scarves and tops painted with Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow Fabric Paint.

[top and scarf: Jorden Priebe Cole]

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Who says paper is just for 2 dimensions? Kristina is in full feather in a dress made from Japanese Kinwashi paper, hand-painted leather shoes adorned with Angelus Brand Leather Paint, Gelli Arts gel plate monoprinted earrings, and a scarf painted with Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow Fabric Paint. She’s also holding crepe paper sunflowers made by paper florist, Anna Gaseitsiwe

[paper dress: Kristina Fjellman, shoes: Kristina Fjellman, earrings: Liz Carlson, scarf: Jorden Priebe Cole]

Stripe suit meets scarf in this colorful combo! Justin’s array features a suit that’s been dressed up with Montana Gold spray paint, a scarf painted with Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow Fabric Paint, and a t-shirt created with Jacquard’s Procion MX Dye and Color Magnet Dye Attractant.  Attractive!

[suit: Kristina Fjellman, scarf: Jorden Priebe Cole, t-shirt: Justin Terlecki]

Just because it’s spring, doesn’t mean you need to dress like an Easter egg. Anna and Chris are showing off laser-cut wood pendants painted with Montana Gold spray paint. Chris also has a t-shirt dyed using Jacquard Color Remover, and a laser-cut wooden earring painted with Montana Gold spray paint. Anna is wearing Sculpey Polymer Clay earrings and a dress (as a duster) dyed with Jacquard iDye.

[t-shirt: Kate Katzer, polymer clay earrings: Kate Katzer, pendants: Christopher Nolt, dress: Kristina Fjellman]

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Amanda is rocking some custom painted boots and leather jacket made using Angelus Brand Leather Paint. She also used Jacquard Pinata Alcohol Ink to touch up areas of her well-loved black leather jacket.

[jacket and boots: Amanda Zon Maas]

Darin (if you can recognize him) is stepping out in his classic grey-on-grey-on-grey custom painted leather sneakers gussied up with Angelus Brand Leather Paints.

The other shoes pictured are also painted with Angelus Brand Leather Paint.

[left shoe painting: Darin Rinne, other shoes: Kristina Fjellman]

If Paige was a literal spring day in her last outfit, this is her summer look. Fun and floral, she’s wearing a poncho top painted with Jacquard Neopaque Fabric Paint, a scarf made with Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow Fabric Paint, and a necklace made with Grafix Shrink-Art Film, Golden Artist Colors Heavy Body Acrylic Paint, and Mod Podge Dimensional Magic (a water-based clear epoxy alternative).

[pocho: Paige Tighe, scarf: Jorden Priebe Cole, necklace: Kristina Fjellman]

For a more casual take on our outfit combinations, Kristina is wearing a top dyed with Jacquard iDye, a laser-cut wood pendant painted with Montana Gold spray paint, a block printed scarf made with Speedball Relief Ink for Fabric, boots painted with Angelus Brand Leather Paint, and Grafix Shrink-Art Film earrings painted with Testors Enamel.

[top: Kristina Fjellman, pendant: Christopher Nolt, scarf: Anna Miller, boots: Kristina Fjellman, earrings: Kristina Fjellman]

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Looking fab in a fresh avocado and chestnut combination, Virginia is wearing a tie dyed top made with Jacquard Procion MX Dye, jeans dyed with Jacquard iDye, laser-cut wood earrings and pendant painted with Montana Gold spray paint, and belt (as bracelet) painted with Angelus Brand Leather Paint.

[top and jeans: Kristina Fjellman, earrings and pendant: Christopher Nolt, belt: Kristina Fjellman]

Indigo and Yellow: Pairing classic indigo dye with sunny yellow makes these combinations really pop! Kristina and Anna are wearing a dress and a top (respectively) each dyed using Jacquard’s Indigo Dye Kit. Anna’s also styling a scarf block printed with Speedball Relief Ink for Fabric, and laser-cut wood earrings and pendant painted with Montana Gold spray paint. Kristina’s festooned scarf is painted with Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow Fabric Paint, while her laser-cut wood earrings are painted with Montana Gold spray paint, and her shoes are fancified with Angelus Brand Leather Paint.

[top and dress: Kristina Fjellman, earrings and pendant: Christopher Nolt, block printed scarf: Anna Miller, silk scarf: Jorden Priebe Cole, shoes: Kristina Fjellman]

All photography by Jorden Priebe Cole of In the Moment Studios 

The Spring 2019 edition of Fashion Week MN is April 28–May 5, 2019, with a kickoff event on April 25. Visit fashionweekmn.com/calendar for the full lineup.


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Why Wet Paint Stocks Aerosols and Paint Markers

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Montana Gold Spray Paint

Sometimes when I look around Wet Paint I am surprised at what products have emerged over the past decade as serious artists’ materials. I never expected to be selling aerosols. I never imagined professionals choosing paint markers over a tube of paint. And like earlier movements in contemporary art, artists’ influences today come from outside the traditional educational venues and with it different materials. And in our quick response culture, art materials manufacturers have been able to take commercial technology and marry with fine art material attributes. So we have spray paint and paint markers that have artist palettes of colors. They have made the colors more light fast and permanent. They have altered viscosity to move the colors faster or slower.

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Molotow Paint Markers

One thing that makes paint markers and aerosols alike is that they have built in delivery systems. You no longer need a brush. While I personally find brushes to be the most beautiful of all art supplies, they are that additional step between the artist and the art. I believe this immediacy and directness is why these “new” paint mediums are so popular with painters and sculptors and printmakers and calligraphers and artists of every persuasion.

Bonus!  This weekend only (11/15/13 to 11/17/13): Buy 3 spray paint cans, get 1 free!  This includes: Montana Gold, Black, and White.  In stock items only, no special orders.   Buy 2 paint markers, get 1 free!  This includes: Montana, Krink, Molotow, DecoColor, Zig Painty, and Sharpie Paint. In stock items only, no special orders.