By Britni Rachal
Portrait by Weston Carls
Artwork by Darvin Jones
Artist Eye View:
Specializing in murals and artistic wall finishes, Darvin Jones has more than 20 years of experience in producing custom work. Working in-depth with each client, Jones takes a personable approach with each client, focusing on everything from inception to actualization, while combining new techniques with traditional craftsmanship.
In your opinion, why are murals important, particularly in a city like Austin?
“They are important due to a host of benefits including, they increase the overall attractiveness of the spaces where they are painted. They benefit Austin through increasing art in public places, community representation and celebration, which carries a lengthy history as an artistic tradition. In Austin, murals can be very beneficial economically for the local community for businesses, government institutions and tourism. They also give Austin another level to its identity in its growth culturally and socioeconomically. For example, it’s great to see Austin grow in its local public art with murals to build its reputation as a visual arts city as well as its reputation for having a strong music scene. As well, murals increase appreciation for the arts, which leads to more support for the local arts.”
What is one of your favorite pieces you’ve worked on?
“Difficult question because there have been so many murals produced over the years. However, a large-scale mural project including multiple locations on the property for the Mosaic at Mueller. This is due in part to the scale of the main walls (four stories), but mainly because the building was one of the first to be built in Mueller. It required a lot of moving parts, including getting the board of directors to agree to having such a new contemporary artwork on the building, yet it symbolizes a sign of the times with keeping up with the progressive trends happening all around Austin.”
What should businesses looking to make a statement or advertise via a mural consider as they enter a creative process?
“That it’s crucial to be clear on what their intent is in the statement and/or marketing they are wanting to make. With clarity, the process is more focused, relaxed, seamless and enjoyable. However, from my experience, more than half of the work involved is in being able to be a keen listener, play designer and help clients arrive at their desired product.”
You are known for combining new techniques with traditional craftsmanship. We’d love to hear more about that process.
“The idea of combining traditional or age-old techniques into new processes isn’t anything new; for example, there has been a major resurgence of this topic over the past years, although mainly in craft especially with multicultural transgenerational artists. Although, as far as traditional craftsmanship and new techniques, it basically comes down to the natural progression of evolving as an artist — pushing boundaries of not only artwork but also ways in which certain materials are applied and used and to what (design/historical/cultural) aesthetic they are meant to achieve. It’s also a natural evolution as a direct response to the wide variety of work that I do, which spans commercial art, restoration, finishes, decorative painting and contemporary abstract painting, which all have their own subsets of materials and processes used.
“The experience working with multifaceted projects with different environments, wall surfaces, lighting, shadows and materials began to inform and shape my studio canvas work, and in a circular fashion my contemporary paintings started to inform ways in which to integrate new techniques into architectural features (i.e. wall finishes/murals that encompass more design elements).”
What sparked your passion for murals specifically?
“The passion initially was that it was lucrative, which then meant I could focus on my studio art without worrying about starving vs. success. Although, as both my studio artwork and mural work began to grow, it only made sense to marry them, which really struck the passion.”
Where do you get your own inspiration from and how does that contribute to client pieces?
“I draw inspiration from every facet of life. Inspiration comes from a variety of places such as architecture and design, the play of light and shadows, cloud formations, exploration through travel, hiking and spending time in nature. Besides the quasi-generic response, most of my inspiration comes from meditation and music and also from finding an inner quiet while working in the studio — which is where the magic happens.”