During the summer of 2015, one of my favorite neighborhood hangouts opened its doors, the Ballard Beer Company. One afternoon, I was sitting at the bar enjoying a cold glass of suds from one of the ten local breweries on tap when I met the owner. Greg Anderson is one of the chillest dudes I've ever met. During conversation, I asked him nonchalantly what he planned to do with the massive expanse of beautiful white wall behind us and he said, "I was thinking about having a mural painted." I kindly introduced my services. Long story short, that summer, he didn't yet have the resources to hire me and went with another local artist. 

Fast forward a year, I received a text message from Greg asking if I'd be interested in painting a small 4'x4' mural near the front of the store that would be visible from the street and sidewalk. I jumped at the chance and met him to look at the space he wanted to fill with artwork. The operating idea was to paint something that would draw in customers. After about twenty seconds of internal idea-generating, I asked if he'd be willing to consider my thoughts on how to utilize the space more efficiently. The theme was left completely in my hands and I knew exactly what I wanted to do before I walked out the door.

Two weeks later, I presented my concept to him. It incorporated local neighborhood and regional themes into one large single-color image. The Pacific Northwest blends a plethora of natural beauty and spectacular wildlife with legends of hairy man-monsters roaming the Cascades with local cultures, and customs. Not the least of which is a large community of Norwegians who settled Ballard at a time when people were hardy. Funny, now that I think of it, I forgot to incorporate PNW tribal motifs into the painting (even though I'd planned to). Perhaps, I'll save that for the next mural.

Greg loved the concept but it was well over twice as large as he'd been thinking. That's my job: to show a client what can be done. While he loved the concept, I could sense trepidation almost immediately. He explained that "it's a lot more than I was expecting". He was on the edge, I could see it, and then asked me, "what would you charge to do something like this?" I responded with, "I realize it's a lot more than what you're expecting ... [redacted]" He instantly relaxed. And within five minutes, we struck a deal. He got his showpiece. I got my opportunity. 

Painting would begin the following week. 

 

Next: Painting the Ballard Beer Co. Mural