Two new interior murals appeared in Gainesville along with a new place. If you haven’t visited Zero Degrees yet, make sure to stop by and take a picture of the murals and beautiful ice cream rolls.
The design idea was pretty much detailed and complicated. Two Gainesville local artists were suggested by Iryna Kanishcheva, but both refused to take the challenge. Finally, Eric Wang invited the developer of the idea, an illustrator and muralist Jianrong Lin. Despite a really detailed graphics work, New Yorker painted it extremely neat without any special equipment! GNV Urban Art took an interview with both – the owner and the artist – while observing the process.
What about you, Jianrong? Where are you from, what do you do? How is life in NYC?
I’m a New York-based freelance illustrator and muralist. My illustration work is represented by Richard Solomon Art Representative. It’s mainly targeted for editorial and advertising markets. I paint murals alongside with my illustration work, using the name Daren. I was born and raised in mainland China and immigrated to the states at age 17. I was living with my family in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, for the first five years of my life in the US. I attended high school and community college there. I moved to New York to pursue illustration in 2012. Compare to all the places I’ve been to, New York is the wildest and richest. On the good side, New York provides me with everything I need for my career and personal life. On the contrary, I have to keep up with its never slowing pace of life. It can be overwhelming sometimes.
Tell about your experience working on this project, Jianrong? Did you like Gainesville?
My mural work for Zero Degrees was pretty intense. I was working overnight for a little more than a week. Because I was on a tight schedule, I didn’t have much to really experience the town; However, Eric and his wife, Jane, are good friends of mine. We went out to eat and drink for few times. Although it was short and brief, I really enjoyed my stay in Gainesville.
What is your method to get such neat lines and perfect clean work? I was really impressed! What are your tools?
I use projection to make sure my painting on the wall looks exactly like the image I created on my computer. Then I use a pastel pencil to trace the lines onto the wall. Once I have all the line work done, I start using masking tapes and exacto blade to create stencils for the shapes I need to paint. I use a mini roller to keep the colors even and flat. I use acrylic paint markers for thin lines and small areas. My attention for details along with my perfectionism help keeping the mural neat and clean.
Do you have a formal education?
I studied Fine art and Graphic Design at Indian River State College in Florida. Then I continued my education at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, where I received degrees in Fashion Illustration and General Illustration. Right before graduation, I landed my first freelance illustration job, working on a couple of medical illustrations for Merck Pharmaceutical. Following a successful first project, I was contacted by Merck again to illustrate a series of medical advertising posters. Shortly after this job I worked on a storyboard campaign for AT&T’s TV commercial with Grey Advertising – these jobs kick-started my illustration career. Within a year after graduation, I had works accepted into Society of Illustrators’ Exhibition and the 3×3 illustration magazine’s annual.
How long have you been painting murals? What do you enjoy about the work you do most of all?
I started painting murals in my Junior year at FIT (2015). My first mural job came to me through a friend. I painted a photorealistic mural for a Korean Seafood restaurant. Since then, I’ve been worked on close to thirty murals.
I love making art. I draw every day and constantly thinking about what’s the next piece I want to create. I care a lot about the messages my art conveys, especially with my illustrations. I like to put a little bit of dark humor into my images. I usually start my illustration with ink and brush on paper, then I scan it to the computer for the coloring. As of now, most of my mural works are for commercial space decoration, so I lost a lot of artistic freedom in the way. When creating a mural, my first step is to design and draw out the image. Then I combine the image with a picture of the wall to create a mock-up for the final look. This way, the client can see exactly what they are getting, no surprises. Once the design is confirmed, I projected it onto the wall and start painting.
Find out more about the artist by visiting darenart.net.