Raheem Nelson

Painting Murals in New Orleans

I just flew back from New Orleans today. The reason for my stay there was to paint two wall murals. I was commissioned by Royal Sushi to create some Japanese inspired art for their “soon to be open” restaurant. The last mural I made was in Minnesota but it was a garage panel door. The scale of these two walls was night and day compared to that project. The client wanted the two murals to connect and have a traditional yet contemporary look and feel. I looked to Tokidoki and Samurai Jack for inspiration.

The first wall I titled the Tidal Wall. It’s inspired by The Great Wave of Kanagawa. The waves are bold and feature visible brushstrokes and vibrant colors. I finished off the wall with a rising red sun and cherry blossoms floating overhead. The second wall is called the Geisha Wall. I got the idea from a conversation with the client on one of the final days of working on the project. He remarked that the Geisha that I had painted looked like the centerpiece.

He wanted the two walls to connect so I started to think like a storyteller. The cherry blossoms from the Tidal Wall connect to the flower in the Geisha’s hair. Also the second tidal wave connects to the one on the first wall. I even made it so it wraps around the corner and flows into the next wall. Finally, the samurai, dragon and geisha all have complementary color schemes.

Spending a week in New Orleans working on such an ambitious project was an amazing experience. Going back to traditional media was like riding a bike. I was able to take what I learned from iPad Painting and channel that into these murals. Look out for a follow up post when Royal Sushi officially opens.

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