Practical Tips From Street Artists: MAN.De / Mandy Schöne-Salter

Part 2 of our practical street artist guide

Perfect Match (ie Christmas for Culture Scouts) is back. As if by magic, Inner West walls are bedecked with a whole new array of new street art. But the actual creation is not that easy. How do you start? Do you need permission? What is the best glue for paste ups? What do you do if you get heckled?

With the help of Australian muralists, Culture Scouts has put together a practical ‘Perfect Match’ guide. Here’s Part 2 with MAN.De.

MAN.De (Mandy Schoene-Salter)
MAN.De is an interdisciplinary artist working in street art, public art installations, photography and community art. MAN.De. has worked on multiple street art projects in Australia and Germany, winning multiple prizes and being featured in OZ Arts Magazine, Street Art Australia by Lou Chamberlin and Photo Review Magazine.

How to make glue for the paste ups - what works best?
There are lots of instructions on how to make paste up glue online and they are all good to use. Basically it is wheat flour and water cooked up to a paste.

What sort of paper works best for paste ups?
The thinner the paper the better. Just imagine to glue a piece of cardboard on the wall … that is not going to last very long.

Is it possible to graffiti proof?
I have tried that in the past and it can work and it also can't. The life of a paste up is not very long because it is an ephemeral medium. Anti graffiti coating is quite expensive and not really worth the money.

How long do paste ups last?
Now that really depends on where the paste up is placed, is it under cover or is it facing north... I have had paste ups that lasted between two weeks and two years.

Painting on paste ups versus printing on them?
I prefer printing but painting on the paper is fine too. You just have to use high quality paints otherwise it will fade very quickly.

What are common hurdles you might not expect when creating a mural - ie. cement can be very porous?
I have found that every wall is different and it is worth visiting the site before you start a mural, to see what paint you should use. That of course is not always possible when you have to travel far to paint. Once I had a wall of red brick with large grooves between the bricks and that was my most challenging commission ever. No paste up or roller will work on that wall only spray paint.

House paint, spray paint or acrylic paint - what’s the difference for murals?
Because you are using a lot of paint, either use house paint or spray paint. That is definitely the cheaper option although I am tending more and more to solar guard house paint as the colours stay fresh for longer.

How can I keep the costs down for paint?
That depends on your colour palette. Keep it simple and limit yourself to around five different colours!

How much should I be paid for a mural when I’m starting out?
This is always a difficult question to answer. I have started out working for free, which means materials were paid but not my time. Once I had the confidence to do paid projects I just took what was offered to me. But in terms of payment, this also depends on the size of the wall and if you need to hire a scissor lift.

What are the essential materials that you shouldn’t forget when creating a mural?
Drop sheet, high vis vest, ladder, masking tape, rubber gloves and loads of good vibes ... sometimes you spend more time talking to the locals than creating your work.

Rollers or brushes - what different technique do they achieve?
Both are good, rollers for larger areas and brushes for details.

The best heckle I ever got from an onlooker was?
I had a guy come once, down in Penrith, telling me that I was painting his wall and asking why I was doing this. He said that he always wanted to paint that particular wall. Then he tried to bargain with me to give him a section of the wall that he could paint  ... classic.

Why, despite all this, is it still worthwhile to be a street artist?
Yes, it is hard work physically and mentally being out in public and even being abused sometimes, but I love doing it because it is still art for the people. Not everyone goes to an art gallery or can afford art in their house. Street Art is a good way of bringing the art to the people, if they like it or not.

What I wished someone told me before creating my first mural is?
Hmm…I guess it would have been nice if someone could have told me that there will be people coming up to bring bad vibes and aggression over to you and that it is normal. I am still looking for a way to deal with it but the best way so far is either smile or ignore.

Giles ColliverComment