Murals come in all shapes, sizes and above all, styles. First off, art comes in an infinite number of styles. There are all the classic styles - classical, baroque, impressionism, modernism, fauvism, abstraction, pop art, realism, and whatever we want to call this contemporary timeframe of art. Murals are a contemporary form of art that draws on various backgrounds, looks, impressions and designs to create their impact. When it comes to the style of a mural, the sky's the limit.
Wikipedia defines a mural as “any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other permanent surfaces. A distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.” Humans have been painting murals for a long time. The earliest artwork that humans left behind could be considered a mural. These are the cave paintings that are some 40,000 to 50,000 years old. Art on walls has been found in Egyptian tombs, Minoan palaces, in Aztec pyramids, just to name a few locations. Every one of them has a unique style.
Style is a byproduct of everything that goes into the artwork. It’s affected by the type of paint used, the type of wall or surface, the environmental conditions, the intention of the artwork, the culture that produces it, the commissioner of the artwork and the artist themselves. If any one of these variables changes, the style changes. This is one of the most beautiful concepts about style as I see it. The concept of “unique” is built into the process. Even trying to copy one concept exactly, but in a different location will create a unique situation. It’s unavoidable. As I said earlier, in terms of style in this contemporary age, the sky’s the limit. It just depends on which way you want to fly. The question of which style to use should come back to the intention. What style will best portray and deliver the intended message? Each stylistic background (egyptian, classical, impressionism, pop art, etc.) is loaded and charged with conceptual baggage. One can evoke certain things just by using a certain color palette, or a font, or a way of painting a portrait. Style can be a vehicle for message delivery.
So when viewing a mural or when designing a mural, style should absolutely be a consideration. The main question is, what is the style saying? What style will be most effective for delivering the message of the artwork? Style is the byproduct of the vision of the artwork. The vision and concept are the heart, soul and skeleton of the piece. Style is the skin, hair and outfit. You wouldn’t walk around in public without considering what you are wearing, and neither should your mural.