LIFE

An Artist Turns Humble Drywall Into Spectacular 3D Murals

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

You might not think that applying drywall is an artistic process. Sure, there’s the skill of getting everything even, smooth, and level (which alone is nothing to sneeze at), but it’s just something used to prepare a wall so decoration can go on it later.

Well, artist and drywall expert Bernie Mitchell will convince you otherwise.

He started out as a professional drywall finisher, providing services for homes and businesses in his native Ontario. But after working with the material for so long, he began to wonder if there was something more he could do with it.

And it turns out, he could. Bernie’s artistic tendencies helped him see that just because a material might be ordinary, it could still be capable of making amazing things, like these doodles that turn random, everyday objects into clever, funny scenes.

Today, he creates stunningly lifelike, three-dimensional murals using nothing but humble drywall mud.

Its plaster-like consistency makes it great for building up shapes and forms, and using palette knives, brushes, spoons, and even his fingers, he creates beautiful landscapes right on the walls.

Take a look at some of the projects he’s created below — including the stunning video — and the next time you get an artistic urge, remember not to overlook the humbler materials you may have lying around!

[H/T: My Modern Met]

On top of being a family man, Bernie Mitchell is a professional drywall contractor  and a very talented artist!

Using ordinary drywall mud, which has a plaster-like texture, Bernie creates three-dimensional murals in homes and businesses. He builds it up in layers to create these high-relief designs.

It all started over 20 years ago, when Bernie was working on traditional drywall projects.

He began experimenting with creating textures on the drywall using dried wheat and barley stalks. Eventually, this led him to create the complex sculptures he makes today.

His inspiration comes from the natural beauty of his home in Ontario, and so much of his work features forest creatures, soaring birds, and majestic trees.

But he’s been known to do historical scenes, too.

Birds are his favorite subject, though, particularly birds native to his area like blue herons, osprey, and loons.

He still does plenty of plain, traditional drywall work — but if a client wants a little something extra, he’ll create a sculpture right on their walls.

It adds a unique decoration to any room, and can be placed just about anywhere. And because it’s part of the wall, it becomes an architectural feature.

It can serve as a border, a full-wall mural, or, like here, a variation on a traditional painting or art piece.

This type of sculpture is called a relief, and has been used since ancient times to create decoration on walls. It’s more permanent than a painted mural.

And unlike a two-dimensional painting, these relief sculptures change depending on the light, casting shadows and coming to life as the light changes.

His drywall creations have made him well-known in the art and the construction worlds, as it’s not an art form that many would even think of!

But Bernie wants his method of sculpture to be more popular, and his website offers tutorials on how to create something like this yourself.

Check out the video below to see how it’s done, and see one of his sculptures come to life!

You can see more of Bernie’s completed and in-progress projects on his website and Facebook, and be sure to SHARE with anyone who might need help seeing the everyday in a new way!