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Augustina Droze: Muralist and Public Artist

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Augustina Droze - Muralist and Public Artist

Founder of her own mural studio, Augustina Droze of Los Angeles, California was selected to lead a mural project at McKinley High School. The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy made this selection based on her extensive national experience in mural painting, presentation, and proposal. Her murals focus heavily on the ideas of symbolism, color, contrast, and dramatic light with an emphasis on organic subject matter. Artvoice was able to speak with her about her creative process and plans for the McKinley High School mural.

Can you describe your process of creating concepts for your murals? How much of the environment factors into that? Do you spend time in the space before your conceptual process?

I begin the creative process by first understanding the theme of the mural. I then research the history of the area and the proposed theme to establish my concept. Hours of sketching and brainstorming follow until I have formed the final design. I like to see the environment where the mural will be located during the design creation and, whenever possible, visit the site.

How long do your murals take to complete? Do you have assistants?

My murals vary in the length of time they take to complete depending on the size and complexity. I work with assistants on occasion, however often I work alone.

What are your thoughts on graffiti and street art? Have your murals ever been vandalized? Do you think that there is a place for graffiti and street art in the realm of public art?

I recognize the value of all forms of artistic expression, however I have mixed views on graffiti. When used as a standalone piece not meant to deface or vandalize an existing work of art or structure, I believe it can be very beautiful. However, I had a minor experience where one of my murals was vandalized which was very upsetting. To prevent this I commonly use anti-graffiti coating on my murals.

Once you have completed a mural, do you observe the space to see if/how inhabitants notice it?

I usually interact with the community a lot during the creation of the mural. People are very curious and enjoy watching the process.

Can you summarize your plans for the McKinley High School mural in Buffalo?

The McKinley High School mural is a history of the parks designed by Olmsted in the Buffalo area. I have highlighted various native plants and animals as which are illustrated between each major scene. I will also be working with students from Buffalo State University. Anyone who is interested in working on the mural with me as a part of this summer class should visit or for more information.

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