San Diego muralist Rik Erickson painted five murals for the new Active Care facility.
San Diego muralist Rik Erickson painted five murals for the new Active Care facility.
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DAVE SCHWAB

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Murals sooth the soul at Active Care facility
by DAVE SCHWAB
Jan 30, 2015 | 707 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
San Diego muralist Rik Erickson painted five murals for the new Active Care facility.
San Diego muralist Rik Erickson painted five murals for the new Active Care facility.
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PB retirement communities are finding that visually stimulating murals are an aid to patients with limited cognitive abilities. Enter San Diego muralist Rik Erickson, who has just completed five murals for Active Care, a newly completed memory care facility building at 2440 Grand Ave. in the Mission Bay area. “I’m a full-time muralist,” said Erickson. “My dad was an artist in Stalag 17 during World War II.” Erickson’s five murals took one month to complete, and he worked second shift to avoid conflicts with construction crews who were on the job site during the day shift. Erickson’s PB murals were commissioned to help trigger pleasant memories for the residents, to distinguish and beautify the walls and to provide local visual landmarks on walls that would help direct the residents to their areas. The idea is that murals speak instantly and without words to patients with limited perceptive abilities, providing comfort and easily remembered areas within an otherwise confusing environment. Erickson was more than happy to lend his expertise to a project that will help seniors get along day to day. He met with retirement center staff to ensure they were on the same page with his recent mural project. “I met with the head guy in charge of each particular residential area of the building for each different mural, which are all beach-themed,” he said. “A lot of these old-timers grew up in and around the beaches, and these murals serve as mementos to help them find their way within the building. “More baby boomers are reaching that (retirement) age,” added Erickson. Discussing his artistry, Erickson begins by researching the agreed-upon subject before gathering real-life photos of it. From there, he projects a photographic image of the subject to be painted onto a wall. Then he gets to work using acrylic paint, the modern medium for rendering murals. How long does it take to paint a mural? “It depends on how complicated it is,” Erickson answered while adding, “I’m pretty quick.” The mural images were first designed in Photoshop, and then Erickson printed them on transparencies. An opaque projector was then used to project the images onto the walls at night. “I do some sketches from the photos and work with Photoshop,” he said of his technique, which also involves arranging the composition of the mural to match the shape of the walls. Then Erickson adds his own personal touches. “With the Belmont Park roller coaster mural, I added some classic cars that people will recognize and get a big kick out of too,” he said. Most muralists are paid by the square foot for their work, varying from about $35 to $75 a square foot depending on the quality of the work and the difficulty of the job. “I included the (work) materials in with the cost of the bid,” Erickson said. The muralist said he has — and will — paint murals on most any kind of building. For more information, call (619) 296-9898 or visit www.muralsfantastic.com. He’s presently been engaged to do a mural in a laundramat across form Twigg's Coffee Shop in University Heights. “It used to be an ostrich farm,” said Erickson of the laundramat and where it’s located. “So I’m coming up with an ostrich thing (mural), which is the history to that area. It’s going to be a very fun project.” For more information call (619) 296-9898 or visit www.muralsfantastic.com.
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