The Spread

Eric Weatherford: The Painter Behind the Mural

By Madison Gillespie

 

Eric5
Weatherford’s latest project: the new mural spanning the exterior wall of Campus Ink in Champaign, Illinois.

 

If you’ve had the chance to walk past the new Campus Ink location on South Sixth Street in the past few weeks, you may have had the opportunity to watch a piece of artwork come to life. Featuring a sprawl of college landmarks across the horizon and a sort of “spaceman” lounging on the grass of the Main Quad, the mural captures the essence of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign while sparking creativity and intrigue.

This month, The Spread is excited to share the story of Eric Weatherford, the artist and creative vision behind this wall of art. Read on to find out more about his background, as well as his custom mural business, Oddwall Painting.

 

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Weatherford posing alongside his work, titled “Big Man on Campus.” Campus Ink wanted a design capturing the essence of campus life, and Weatherford used this idea to craft the final product.

 

1.) How long have you been creating art?

I’ve been drawing and creating for as long as I can remember. I didn’t start painting until my last year of college (2013-2014), and I started taking it more seriously upon graduating. I became a true full-time painter when I started my company, Oddwall Painting, earlier this year and this is now my sole means of income.

 

2.) Tell us a little bit more about your projects and work. Who is your typical client, and where do you most often paint your murals?

Typically, my clients consist of local business owners looking to bring new life to their building with the occasional homeowner wanting a more personalized painting. I’ve mostly been painting exterior walls on businesses, with some interior wall murals here and there but I can paint on virtually any surface!

 

3.) Do your murals have an average size? What is the largest painting that you have done so far?

There’s no average size really. Each wall is surprisingly unique in size, shape, texture, location, etc. My largest mural to date is roughly 1,000 square feet.

 

Eric4
While his murals vary in size, many of Weatherford’s pieces feature his signature “spaceman” character. He says the inspiration from this character and his computer monitor-shaped head comes from the concept of time. “When you leave work, your mental state is often still in work mode. It never quite leaves.”

 

4.) How long does a typical project take from start to finish? Walk us through what the process looks like, as well as how you go about choosing a final design for the mural.

It takes about 1-2 weeks. I first prep the wall by scraping it, filling any holes or cracks, and cleaning with a tsp cleaner. I then add a couple coats of primer. Then I literally project the image onto the wall and trace it or just freehand it, paint the wall, and then apply a clear coat over the finished product. The finalized design is kind of the balanced ground between what the client is looking to get with a design that I believe will be most successful.

 

Eric1
According to Weatherford, the exposure while painting in the field and word-of-mouth from passerby are how he gains most of his new clients and projects.  

 

5.) How many murals have you painted in your career to date?

I think I’m at around 20 murals now.

 

6.) What is your favorite mural you have painted so far, and why?

My very first large scale mural was my favorite. It was my own personal design (a guy with a computer head free falling) that I won through the Decatur Mural Project. It really paved the path for me as a professional painter and in pursuing a career as a muralist.

 

favorite painting
Weatherford’s favorite mural, located in Decatur, Illinois. His next project will also be based out of Decatur, painting a mural for The Winery Bar.  

 

7.) In addition to painting, do you have experience in other forms of art as well (such as sculpture, photography, ink, or others)?

I’ve dabbled in almost every form of art there is, especially while attending fine arts school. Sculpture was a fun one for me, but I fell in love with the process of painting.

 

8.) Tell us a little more about yourself. Did you always know that you wanted to pursue art in college? Also, in general, why do you love making art?

I’ve always known I wanted to pursue a creative career, so being an art major was a no-brainer for me. I love making art because of the raw emotion that goes into it; it’s the most beautiful way of communicating where words can’t do justice. Painting helps me understand the world better, and the positive reactions I get from people from something that I’ve created is the greatest feeling in the world.      

 

9.) What is your best advice to others looking to pursue art as a career?

Just keep doing you and never give up, the payout will come if you hustle hard enough and stick with it.

 

10.) Where would be your dream place to paint a mural?

Probably downtown NYC, that’s kind of the mecca of all things art in our country and is recognized on an international scale as well.

 

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Weatherford would also love to paint more murals around UIUC’s campus or in downtown Champaign. “Any kind of high-visibility wall with lots of foot traffic around campus or downtown, with enough wall space to help it stand out, would be perfect. In general, I love what I do because a mural can help bring more life to any building and create a positive experience for everyone.”

 

If you are interested in finding out more about Eric and his work, you can find him at the following sites!

 

ODDWALL PAINTING

Facebook: Oddwall Painting

Instagram: @oddwallpainting

 

PERSONAL

Instagram: @ericweatherfordart

Website: ericweatherford.com

 



All photographs of Weatherford and “Big Man on Campus” are originals by the author.

Photo of favorite mural in Decatur courtesy of Eric Weatherford.

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