Garage Mahal Susan Granskie

Two years ago, artist Susan Granskie started a large-scale mural project with stunning proportions. As editor, one of the things I love is being able to share a work like this with others who can appreciate the enormous amount of effort, dedication, talent, and passion that goes into such an incredible project. Susan shares details of her experiences in this interview now that the project has been completed with such amazing results.

1. How did this project come about?

My husband is a builder and collects and restores old cars, mostly muscle cars & hot rods. He built an addition on the first garage to store his collection. He asked me to paint a mural and he wanted an old town with his cars. So, being a lover of the west coast, I was researching Arizona and came across John Pughs mural Standing on the Corner in Winslow, Arizona. Then realized the Eagles had a song called Take it Easy, and there it was. How cool is that? I thought. So I kinda made the town up by referencing some buildings. I decided to make it summer, early afternoon, and partly cloudy. I started referencing people online and found it almost impossible . One day one of my husbands friends was over and I asked him to pose. Thats when it clicked! Before you know it all his friends would be a part of the mural. However, it was a struggle because the pics were taken at different times & places so it was all in the wrong light & shadow. For the gas station, I wanted to ask my mentors & fellow artists to pose, which was all possible to do because of Pat & the Faux Forum. How cool was it to send my sketch and ask them to be a part of my project? I was thrilled that they participated: Pascal Amblard, Ron Francis, Pierre Finkelstein, Patrick Ganino, and Sean Crosby.

2. Did you ever feel like this project was never going to end, or was the feeling always one of continued excitement?

Well, the buildings were tough because of climbing up & down the scaffolding and all the striping I did on the straight lines. Once I got on the ground it was more controllable. Some positions you have to be in were very difficult and painful, but the more I got done the more exciting it was.

3. How long did this process take and what paints did you use?

My guess is a bit over 2 years to paint. Just the references alone took about 4 months and I have a stack to prove it. I didnt give myself a deadline. I was experimenting and practicing many different things I have learnef from art school and classes I have taken from my mentors. Plus, it was very cold in the winter and my paints were being affected. It was like painting with glue! Then the summer was so hot. I used a fan to blow the air conditioning from the main building but my paints were drying out so I constantly had to adjust them with additives. For the paints I used acrylics. I had a lot of Faux Effects Faux Creme Color so I started out with them. However, I prefer a full body paint so I switched up to Nova Color and I also used some Golden Fluid Colors , which is also a good paint .

4. Now that this project is over, whats next?

Well, first Im cleaning up the mess from the mural. Then I will be doing paintings of the American Indian for a gallery in NYC. Then, one of the guys in the mural, his wife is an interior decorator and is interested in my work . So thats the direction Im going. For fun I will paint the 3 exterior garage doors, but Im not sure when I will squeeze them in.

5. This is one of those projects that is so very special for so many reasons. Do you realize what you have done yet?

I will say I cant believe I did it!!! You know when I look at the pics I actually tear up a bit. It was the hardest thing I ever did. What thrills me the most is that it is making a lot of people happy and is a positive project for my fellow artist to be inspired to achieve their goals.