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How an artist creates a mural
February 20, 2024

By Healthy Trailblazer Journal reporters | When Brother Mark Elder, C.M., starts thinking about creating a mural, the first thing he does is talk.

He talks to the people in the community where the mural will be displayed so he can hear their suggestions for what they want to see on their building. He takes their ideas and goes back to his studio in Chicago, where he will make a sketch. He then shows the sketch to people in the community to see if they like it.

He said painting a mural is a form of service. He tries to get as many people involved in its creation as possible.

“Murals can be expressive for the whole neighborhood,” said Brother Mark, who also likes to be called Buffalo Bro. “It can turn a room or building into something that everybody who comes into contact with it can enjoy.”

When the community gives him the go-ahead, Brother Mark has to figure out all the materials he will need to create the mural and how much it will cost. The mural is painted indoors on many pieces of polytab—a type of mural cloth. Each piece has a special spot on the side of the building where it is glued, Brother Mark said.

He is a professor at DePaul University in Chicago. He teaches art and creates murals with his students.

Brother Mark has been painting murals for 43 years. And he has helped make more than 30, including one in Rome, Italy.

If you want to create murals, Brother Mark said, don’t wait. Learn how to draw and paint. Find a mural artist who you can help.

Brother Mark will be at The DePaul Catholic School this summer, and he invites all DePaul students to come to his workshop. The workshop participants will help create the school’s newest mural.

Contributed by Healthy Trailblazer Journal 8A reporters.

Photo of the the 2012 DePaul mural by Tori Moore.

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