Inspiration: Maira Kalman's 3D Library Murals

Inspiration: Maira Kalman's 3D Library Murals

Susie Nadler
Mar 19, 2009

We're pretty much in love with everything Maira Kalman does. Her illustrated Elements of Style is and will remain our favorite coffee table book of all time. Now she's blown us away again with this mural for the Library Initiative, a Robin Hood Foundation project that built new libraries in schools. Artists contributed murals to each library; Kalman's mural depicts each letter of the alphabet with a display of artifacts. It's an amazing artwork, sure to inspire young readers. It inspires us to think about how we might create a 3-dimensional mural at home...

In a kids' room or family room, a mural like Kalman's, comprised of found objects mixed with paintings and drawings, could be an amazing wall treatment (if a bit of a nightmare to dust). We love her choice of a black background, which really makes the objects stand out. She also brilliantly mixes large objects with small, creating texture. Choosing a theme, like a single letter (your child's first initial?), and grouping the objects around that theme would help unify the overall effect.

Of course, the key would likely be to curate your objects well and plot the layout carefully. Kalman makes brilliant use of negative space in her mural, so that the wall doesn't feel too busy or cluttered.

You can read more about the Library Initiative here. And of course, see more of the marvelous Maira Kalman's work on her site.

Photos: Pentagram

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