The Creative Process of a Public Mural

October 4, 2017

Clarity culture

I had the opportunity to assist artist Ryan Bubnis on a mural that was part of the Forest for the Trees public art festival this past August. There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears to create and execute it. As I reflect on the completion of the mural, I can’t help but find parallels to my process for creating various projects here at Clarity Innovations.

Research Stage: No Paint on the Wall


The first thing we did was research. We visited the location, researched the history of the building and surrounding area—the community of people most affected by what is painted on the wall. We also researched existing public murals in Portland and in the world. For Clarity, I research to gain a complete understanding of the problem we are trying to solve and for the group of people who will be using it and to learn the competition.

Ideation Stage: Prototyped Drawings Digitally

Brainstorming & Ideation

The wall is behind the historic Aladdin Theater and faces several homes and retail shops including Classic Piano. With this in mind, Ryan created rendition after rendition of sketches for concepts that fulfill his artistic vision but also meets the needs of the community. For Clarity, I create concepts to flesh out ideas around the parameters developed during research to come up with the best possible solution that meet the project needs.

Planning Stage: Sketching the Mural


Once the sketch was complete and colors picked, we went to the wall to plan the layout. We got the paint and supplies. We developed a timeline to meet the deadline. For Clarity, I develop a layout and an efficient production strategy.

Execution: Painting

Execution & Completion

Working on a 100’ x 27’ stucco wall with a non-removable awning proved challenging. With limited resources, time restraints and a heat wave, we enlisted help from expert friends and volunteers. Everyone believed in the Ryan’s vision and with the help and support of the community it was successfully completed. At Clarity, we have a team of experts that all contribute to the success of each project.

About the mural festival

Forest for the Trees  is a nonprofit group that brings local and international artists together to transparently create contemporary public art for a week in Portland, Oregon. Over the last 5 years, more than 80 murals have been created throughout the city.