How to Start a Mural and Painting Business

How to Start a Mural and Painting Business thumbnail
Painting large-scale murals can help launch your business.

Making money from art is one of timeless struggles of working as an artist. The artistic impulse is not always in line with commercial demands. If you are a painter looking to start a business, there are good strategies to getting work doing murals and paintings for both private companies and government agencies.


    • 1

      Understand difference between commerce and art. Paintings sold as art are typically purchased for different reasons than paintings sold to decorate a business. Most businesses do not want anything on their walls that is going to be controversial or offensive to customers. Create a portfolio of your art work that fits the kind of businesses to which you want to sell. Selling to a large corporation will be very different from selling to a small business.

    • 2

      Start with pro bono and "for sale" paintings. Many businesses will want to not only see your work, they want to know that you are in demand in some way. Solicit local coffee houses and restaurants to display your art work for free. Place price tags when appropriate or post a note that reads "Inquire about price list." Offer to paint a mural for free on the side of a business or inside a bar. A business owner will find it hard to turn down free labor and you will get a new crowd of potential customers every day.

    • 3

      Use online selling venues. Large web-based marketplaces such as eBay and Etsy have become their own industries. You can put as much of your artwork as you want for sale without the costs of traditional gallery space. Offer to paint artwork on commission. Sell a variety of sizes and types of paintings at a wide range of prices.

    • 4

      Approach government agencies. Publicly financed artwork goes back to the beginning of civilization. Mural work is particularly popular in cities with a large Latino population due to the popularity of famous muralists such as Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco. To be commissioned by the government to paint a mural, you typically will need to be a well-known artist. You can also approach local elected officials with a proposal for a mural. Find the location where you would like to paint a mural and then determine the agency that operates the facility.

    • 5

      Take care of business. Don't forget to take care of the proper legal and financial side of things. Register your business name, keep a copy of all your expenses for tax deductions and obtain any necessary permits.

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