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Fake it Till You Make it

By Ricardo Ramirez

That is how my career as a mural artist started. While working as a Graphic Designer for a newspaper company in the Midwest, the City Director strolled into the office asking if anyone knew of a mural artist who could paint the side of a building. Despite having no mural experience whatsoever, I heard myself say: “I can paint a mural!” Their faces turned to me and I had the sinking realization that yes, I had just said that out-loud.

After several sleepless nights of scouring the internet for any and all resources on painting murals, I learned enough to take on my first gig. And so began my career. Now, several years later and with more mural experience under my belt, I am happy to have impulsively taken that leap of faith.

My name is Ricardo, and I am the owner of Octopus Ink Creative. Together, my wife, Emily, and I design and paint murals. To date, we’ve painted in New York, Iowa, South Carolina, and hope we get to visit more states. One of my favorite aspects of painting a mural is seeing the impact it has on passersby. People will take pictures, smile, or just stop and stare for a moment. On our latest project, a big class of elementary school children walked by the wall we were painting, and cheered us on. The symphony of “wow!” and “great job!”, and even a concerned “Can you really make money doing that?” from the children, motivated us to keep going.

Although painting large works of art is enjoyable, it’s not without challenges. You are at the mercy of the elements and must have a respectful fear of heights. Despite this, though, we love what we do. To be able to transform an otherwise overlooked wall into a destination that many can enjoy is something we do not take for granted.

Recently, we had the opportunity to paint a mural in Newberry. Alexandra La Noue-Adler, Owner of Tiny Paris, reached out and shared her vision for a mural with us: A cascade of bright poppies and forget-me-nots dedicated to the remembrance of family, and to moving forward during difficult times. Together, we collaborated on the design going back and forth through different iterations until we got it just right. The poppy mural is located at 1109 Caldwell St. in Newberry, on the side of Tiny Paris.

What has been exciting about painting this mural is seeing it spark the imagination of others. Many have started seeing their buildings as a canvas rather than a collection of walls. We believe murals enhance a community and hope to see more of them get painted.

We are always on the hunt for walls to paint. If you have a question about mural painting, please send it to, and check out our Instagram @octopusink.creative, where we post most of our work.


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