The Making of a Blind Wall – part 2

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Everyone on the same page

Over the last years, we have filled Breda with meaningful murals. And that number grows every year. But before the first paint strokes are placed, we’ve put in months of work and preparation. Time to explain how the process works.

In three parts we will guide you through the process of each mural. This part is about involving the local residents and selecting the artist.  

Every mural is inspired by a story, which is carefully researched beforehand. A story can go back hundreds of years, but it can also focus on the present or the future. We match every story to suitable artists. We present this to a group of people from the neighbourhood, which we call the art committee. This composed group of local residents also includes the property owner and any other partners involved. Together, the committee selects the artist. According to Stein, this phase takes up the most time: “There are many people involved, which means many opinions. It isn’t always easy to get everyone on the same page.”

Unveiling the Blind Wall by Marije Maria | Photo by Rob Lipsius

Collecting everything
We gather information from all kinds of sources. This is summarised in a briefing: how big is the wall, how much sunlight does it get, the overall condition of the wall, and much more. Artists receive this information and have the freedom to do whatever they want, but within this given framework. The stories about the location serve as inspiration. The more information that is collected and indicated beforehand, the more efficiently an artist can work. Then we present the design again. “Sometimes the design doesn’t quite fit the wishes or expectations of the people involved, so we have to make adjustments. It goes back and forth until everyone is pretty much satisfied. Sometimes this is a very quick process, and other times it can take us over a year,” Stein says.

Wouter tries to avoid the discussion about taste: “Everyone has a different taste. So every local resident likes something different, and at Blind Walls Gallery we also all have our own preferences. That’s why everyone has to compromise in order to come to a joint proposal. What is most important is which artist best fits the story we want to tell.”

Changing the environment can often be found a bit scary. Because of this, Wouter notices that people don’t always react positively to an idea or design. “It’s great when a mural is embraced afterwards. When the mural about NAC icon Hein van Poppel was finished, residents told us that they felt we had really listened to their wishes. We appreciate that. It’s cool that murals can accomplish that.”

Mural by Case Maclaim about NAC icon Hein van Poppel | Photo by Edwin Wiekens

Next time, you will read the third and final part of the series about the making of a Blind Wall. It’s about the moment we have all been working towards for so long: the mural is made!

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