FAQ – Blacklight

What is a mural?

A mural is any type of artwork painted directly on or applied directly to a wall, ceiling, or any other permanent surface. A large painted canvas is not a mural until it is affixed to the wall.

What is black light?

Blacklight is the commonly used term for long wave ultraviolet light. It is a wavelength just beyond violet in our visible light spectrum. It has more energy than visible light but is not visible to humans. It is called black light because we can’t see it. Upon request, I will send more information, provided by Wildfire.

What makes the painting glow?

UV sensitive materials contain a special substance called phosphors. When UV light comes into contact with these phosphors, some of that UV light is reflected back. After
bouncing off of the phosphors, the light loses energy and falls back into the visible range. This occurs naturally from the sun, but we can’t see it based on the wavelength
visibility, or the overpowering effect of the ambient, visible light.
The chemists with Wildfire focused on the best possible wavelength in the UV spectrum,
365-368, based on safety and overall brightness. They found naturally occurring
elements that react to that specific wavelength in UV light, such as precious stones, andcame up with a way of grinding them down into a fine powder, and then infusing that
powder into a paint or clear base. They allowed people like me to bring to you, mind
blowing visible and invisible black light painting effects.

UV invisible mural, what is that?

A UV invisible mural is a mural that appears under black light but is not seen in normal
daylight. UV invisible murals are black light responsive but are undetectable without
black light. A plain white ceiling during the day becomes a roofless moonlit terrace by

What is UV dual image art?

UV dual image art is any work that has two different visual versions, appearing one way under normal daylight, and appearing completely different under black light. The artwork may be of an object that, in one version, is lit by the sun, and in the second version, is lit by the moon and another ambient lighting. Or it may be a ceiling with a bright blue cloud covered the sky in the normal light, which turns into the cosmos light years beyond the clouds in the black light.

Is it really invisible?

It is, if done correctly. Whether sprayed on or rolled on, each item has its own application, which causes the surface and thickness of the invisible paint to vary in
texture and sheen. Basically, brush strokes can show, and the thickness and texture cause different parts to be shinier than others, creating silhouettes or shapes of objects to stand out. All of this goes away with the help of a sheen leveler, created by Wildfire, which causes the surface to have one even sheen throughout, and truly makes the image invisible.

Does it have to be completely dark in the room to see it glow?

No, but the darker the room the better. White light will cloud the intensity of the glowing image that the black light creates. And because I mix and use different variations of intensities in each color’s glow, if the room is not completely dark, some of the subtle details won’t be visible. You’ll see a glowing mural; you just won’t get the full picture. Imagine an outer space scene on a white ceiling. In the dark, it looks just right because the stars and nebulae emanate light while the background black does not. But if any ambient light reflects onto the normal white paint, all the black is now some shade of grey, and that doesn’t look like space. So, although it doesn’t have to be completely dark to see either of the invisible UV murals, a lot of detail is lost, and it is highly recommended to be able to get the room as dark as possible.

Can it be done outside?

It can, but it will only last for a few months. Sunlight destroys fluorescent paint as well as the invisible black light paint. You can put it in the shadiest place on your property,
which will help with the longevity, but at some point, any UV mural will completely disappear.

Does it last?

It does, but some pigments don’t. At the time that you’re reading this, it may be different than when I wrote this because the technology is changing so rapidly. Almost all of the fluorescent colors that I use will last almost forever, but if too much sunlight enters the room, it could do damage over time. There are some types of lightbulbs that can degrade the paint as well. There are a couple of the invisible pigments that aren’t’ so stable, but there are also two types of invisible, white based and clear based. One
base has limitations in longevity while one has limitations on actual invisibility. I’ve been using this paint for years, so I’ve figured out the ups and downs of it and can guide you to the best outcome that won’t fade over time. More info about types of light and lighting that can cause paint damage can be provided upon request.

Where do I get the black lights?

If you’ve read any of this, you’ve most likely taken notice of the word Wildfire. They are the world leader in the black light game and have it down to a science. Although you can find plenty of black lights and black light fixtures from many places, I trust Wildfire and their products the most. I can put you in contact with someone that will help guide you through the process of selecting the proper fixture.

How do I install the black lights?

It all depends on how pro you want it. You may simply want a fixture hidden on a shelf just above eye level, or you may want it installed behind moldings or in a soffit. You may want to set it on a timer, or possibly an atomic clock, blending white into black light for a half-hour’s time, based on the exact time that the sun sets and or rises daily. You may want this for a bedroom or it may be for a club or restaurant. Some situations are as easy as buying a fixture and placing it somewhere, while others become complex. Some situations, like new construction, may already come with a contractor or an electrician. In these cases, contractors can easily be guided through the process, once again by Wildfire. Other situations may call for a specialist that I can help to provide, depending on your location.

FAQ – Murals

What is trompe l'oeil?

It is a French word that means “deceive the eye”, and is an art technique that uses realistic imagery, to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three
dimensions. An example of trompe l’oeil could be a set of faux windows showing a realistic scene beyond the wall, which looks as if it is really there. The perspective, vantage point, and angles all line up with the existing surroundings, tricking your brain into believing that they are real.

How long does a mural take?

Every project is different. The planning alone on one project could take longer than another full project. If I’m painting something like clouds, or if I am provided an image to work from, we can completely skip the planning stage and get right into the execution. Once we start painting, detail, size, subject matter, and location play a role in completion time. On average, we would spend about one week on the entire preparation process, and about another 3-5 days actually painting. I’ve completed plenty of murals in one day, and I’ve spent months on others. When designing your mural, I will give you the estimated completion time, base the bid on the estimated time, and stick to that price whether I go over or under the time.

Can you paint on any surface?

Yes and no. There is a product out there for almost every situation. I can paint on anything, but will it last? If you need work is done on metal, plastic, glass, or any nondrywall or canvas type of surface, it can be done. I have fixes for some situations, but not for others. When I don’t know, I research. I may find or have a product that works and lasts, but not every paint has the same characteristics. I may be able to stencil and paint on plastic, but I may not be able to use that same paint for a wood grain technique because glazes cannot be intermixed with the paint that works on plastic. I’m always trying new things, so I will research and do my best to find a way to make it work. I will share my findings with you and discuss all the options. I will always do my best to put your ideas onto your desired surface.

Can the mural be done outside?

Yes. Outdoor surfaces deal with weather, so they may need extra prepping, sanding, or priming, and sometimes cracks and holes need to be fixed. A primer would then be
necessary to make the wall paint ready. For all of these tasks, I would subcontract a professional straight painter to do the prep work. I would use a water-based non-toxic
paint made for exteriors, and will most likely also need an extra UV protective clear coat.

Are the paint fumes harmful?

For my interior projects, I use a combination of a few different types of paint, they are all water based, mostly zero VOC., and non-toxic. Although I do wear a respirator while
spraying, because it is not recommended to inhale any form of sprayed paint, it is completely harmless once dry.

Does the wall need to be prepped?

This is always a case by case subject, but normally the answer is no. Interior walls in
good shape can almost always be painted right over with no prepping or priming.

How long will the mural last?

Assuming that your wall is properly prepped, the paint should last as long as the wall. As long as the outside elements stay outside, if rain and direct sunlight are not a factor, you should not see any fading or degradation of your mural.

Can I clean the mural?

Yes. Because we use quality, durable paints, and clear coat, you can get it, wipe it down with a towel, and even scrub it with the rough side of a sponge if you need to

This mural for my business, do we have to close down while completing the work?

That depends. I have no problem working crazy late hours and can sometimes get started at your closing time, working through to the wee hours of the morning. Because a lot of what I do is sprayed, everything in the surrounding area needs to be masked and covered with plastic. The process of taping off a room can take up to and beyond 4-5 hours. If this is a job that would take a few days, we cannot tear down and set up daily. If it can be completed in one long day, sure. If it’s in an area where our plastic and tape isn’t bothersome and can be left up, sure. There is one more option that I’ve found works best for business; canvas. When I just can’t be in the way, or the setup and tear down process is not possible, I paint the mural on canvas in my studio. From there, I cut it to shape, transport it, and install it like wallpaper. I will often do a little work on site, adding drop shadows onto the wall, touching up or blending it so that it looks like a mural, not a canvas glued to the wall.

I live on the other side of the planet, do you travel?

Yes, I do. Every situation will differ, but I can do the work on site, almost anywhere in the world. I can’t ship some of my larger equipment, so compressors, co2 tanks, and
other heavy items may have to be purchased or rented in your area to make it possible.
Also, I do use an assistant for almost every job, so travel fees and lodging will most likely need to cover at least two of us. If it is a job that only requires an assistant to do
more of the basic work, I am open to finding an assistant from your town.

I live on the other side of the planet, can you paint a mural on canvas and ship it to me?

Yes, I can. All correspondence can happen via email and phone calls, and as long as you are accurate with dimensions on your end, and as long as the intended wall is flat, I
will paint it to fit perfectly, ship it, and you can have a wallpaper installer affix it to your wall.

We have a deadline, can you get it done on time?

Some people want it done right, no matter how long it takes, others need it done right now, for any host of reasons. Whether your painting is for an event or party, a TV show or film, we understand the importance of not only delivering quality but delivering quality on time. The allotted time and detail of the artwork make a difference. To make your deadline, we may have to simplify parts, we may have to cut things out, or I may have to subcontract a few more people, and I almost positively won’t be getting much sleep. All of these factors affect the rates. The planning-to-execution of any small job should take about a week. If we are not given at least seven days for the entire project, we will use a different pricing structure. Like every other job, no rush job is the same, so this price sheet is just a guideline and can be tweaked.

I'm not sure about what I want, can you help me?

Yes, yes, yes! I prefer that. It’s always good to have the basic idea or theme, so that I have a starting point, but not having solid expectations makes the process much better.
I pride myself on my creativity, so working with fewer guidelines gives room for more creativity, more options, and more ideas. I’ve broken down my planning process into two steps; the concept and the rendering. With this, we can change our minds during the concept phase, before we’ve moved to the more time-consuming process of the
rendering phase.

Do you still have a question?