Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP), founded in 1972, is a local animal shelter that is respected nationally for its high standards. Until recently it was located in a very limited leased space in a strip mall but in January 2011 they moved to a new permanent home designed by PBK Architects.
When I visited the shelter I was impressed by the detailed, imaginative murals that cover many of the walls. I just had to find out more about them. The following interview is with Kristin and Maks, who are designers at PBK, and Diane Mattly, who is a board member for CAP and a very large donor.
Q: Who are the people that worked on the murals? What are their backgrounds in illustration and in general?
Kristin: I was born in Minnesota, lived in Dallas growing up and went to Texas Tech University to study Architecture. Maks and I are both designers at PBK.
Maks: Got my drawings genes from my grandfather and got my Beaux-Arts training from the Moscow Architecture Institute.
Diane: Most of the artists were selected from word of mouth. I personally called all of the artists to see if they would paint a mural in one of our Real Life rooms. The only artist I found on my own was Kermit Eisenhut. I made a “cold call” to him and explained what we were doing and he donated his work in the Kit ‘N Kaboodle room and Dixie’s Memorial real life room. Dan Boggio, PBK Architectural firm, paid for Kermit to paint the 28′ X 7′ mural in the Welcome Center. Diane Mattly paid for the locomotive to be painted by Kermit. It only took me 2 hours to call all of the artists and they committed immediately to the project.
Kermit Eisenhut is a professional muralist. He has painted many of the Painted Cows that were on display throughout Houston. I found Kermit by googling Painted Cows. Once I saw his portfolio I knew he was the artist I needed.
Roy Staley and Teresa Staley’s speciality is faux work, ceilings and murals. They have done a number of jobs in the Katy, Fulshear, River Oaks, Tanglewood and Woodlands areas as well as out of state projects. They have personally done all of the murals in my home.
Kristin Rinker and Maksim are employees of PBK Architectural firm. They wanted to paint the mural for us since they helped design the decor of the inside of the shelter.
Jackie Halliburton is a freelance artist of fine art.
Pam Huebner is Department Chair for the Veterinary Paramedic Program at HCC Katy location. She jumped at the chance to do this project. She also was the first to start and the first to finish painting her mural.
Lakin Collier works for Rover Oaks Katy. I called Joy Lee, part owner of Katy location, and she recommended Lakin Collier. Lakin did a great job. She is going to school full time and works full time. This was her first chance to do a mural.
Q: I have never seen an animal shelter with a similar scope of bespoke artwork. How did the idea come about to cover so many walls with these murals?
Diane:We wanted the Real Life Rooms to look like the animals were sitting in a living room. This gave the future adopters a chance to see what their animal would look like in their home.
Q: How did you find out about this project and get to participate in it?
Kristin:Diane asked me at a progress meeting if I would be interested in painting one of the real life rooms. I said absolutelyifMaks would jump on board as well! And of course he was more than willing to get involved!
Diane:Kappy Muenzer and I came up with the idea to have artists paint the real life rooms. We had seen this done at other animal shelters and felt it really makes the shelter have a warm and cozy appearance. The mural in the Welcome Center promotes what we are all about. Animals, animals, animals.
Q: Can you point out sources of inspiration for the style and content of the illustrations?
Diane:My instructions to the artists were: Be creative, theme must be animal related, have fun.
Kristin:Illustrations from childrens books and cartoons.
Maks:Animals themselves are good inspiration and I always liked good animation, childrens books illustrations and cartoons, especially good old soviet ones.
Q: How did you plan the illustrations as a team and as individual artists?
Diane:In planning the illustrations I worked with each individual artist. I just requested they tell me what they were thinking about doing for the murals and to provide me with a sketch of their drawing. I also gave each artist the dimensions of the rooms they would be painting. My opinion was they were the artists and I trusted they would come up with something wonderful, which they did.
Q: What did you aim to achieve with the artwork? Did it turn out the way you had envisioned it?
Diane:The aim was to make people feel like they were entering a home instead of just an animal shelter. The murals exceeded our expectations.
Kristin:We wanted to do something bright and fun! Something free spirited, not realistic, that would put a smile on your face! I think we achieved it!
Maks:With our work we wanted to make people smile and I think we achieved that.
Q: How long did it take to finish this project?
Kristin:We did not work on it consistently, probably 2 months.
Most of the artists took 1 to 2 months to finish their mural. Only one artist took 4 months.
Q: What kind of reactions have you been getting to the murals?
Diane:The reaction to the murals in the real life rooms, Welcome Center and Kit N’ Kaboodle room have been extremely positive. I have stood back and watched as people come in to the shelter. The first thing they see are the 3 real life rooms on the left of the front doors. They then look up and see the mural in the Welcome Center and the Kit N’ Kaboodle room on their right. When they start walking around they see the 4 Real Life rooms in the hallway leading to the dog area. In the dog area they see 2 wonderful Real Life rooms in the corners of the area.
Since the artists were given a chance to use their creativity all of the murals are very different. I have not heard a negative comment. Most of the comments are related to the many different themes we have shown.
Artist: Kermit Eisenhut
Artist: Roy Staley
Artists: Kristin Rinker and Maksim Koloskov
Artist: Roy Staley
Artist: Jackie Hallibuton
Artist: Pam Huebner
Artist: Lakin Collier
Artist: Teresa Staley
Artist: Roy Staley