Last week when Master Muralist Eric Okdeh was in town for his lecture with Noni Clemens (see 2/1/2012 post for more info) he actually came to our class on Thursday and did a demo with the polytab material that we will be using to help execute our murals. This is a relatively new technology in mural painting, that the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program helped to discover, which muralists can use to their advantage. The polytab itself comes in cloth-like rolls and can be adhered to just about any wall surface using Nova Gel—and guess what it’s originally used for…the interfacing of men’s suits! One advantage to using this material is that muralists can paint directly on it inside their studio, allowing them to keep working, when bad weather would normally prohibit them from painting outside. One of the things I found particularly interesting about this material, was that it allows the community to engage with the mural—people can come in, help paint, and contribute without having to work outside on the wall, avoiding safety hazards. When the panels of painted polytab are ready to go up on the wall, they are adhered with Nova Gel and after drying, the cloth is essentially woven in to the wall, keeping the texture of the wood, brick, concrete, etc. –visually, it is extremely difficult to tell the difference of a polytab surface and the actual wall. When Eric demoed the material, there wasn’t an existing painting on the polytab, so he just used blank panels to show us how to apply them with the Nova Gel. A post about our mural bus tour around Memphis is soon to come, where you will be able to see examples of how this process is used!