James Conran Design

Posted on 06 June 2010

Interview with muralist, painter and designer James Conran, founder of James Conran design:

1. When did you start creating murals?
I painted my first mural at about 15 for a girl I knew. It was a few
life size dolphins on her bedroom wall. My dad liked it and took a
picture of it and then included it in his portfolio that he would show
to clients (Dad was a decorative painter/ faux finisher). Over the
next year gradually more and more people started requesting murals. So
much so that by the time I was 17 and done with high school I had a
full time mural business going. For about 7 years all I did was paint
mural after mural.

2. How would you describe your personal style, including your
preferred color themes?

My personal style tends to revolve around the curio-antiques I
collect. I love finding the odd treasure, anything with the patina of
time. I like my furniture pieces to have a story and a life behind it.
With colors I think I tend to gravitate towards colors like duck egg
blue, very weathered french tones.

3. Who are your favorite artists?
I love Gustav Klimt for his use of metallic and decorative motifs.
Tamara De Lempika is another favorite, her iconic paintings of women
are so bold and heroic.

4. What is the most enjoyable part of the process of creating a mural
or designing a space for you?

I feel like challenges best fuel my creativity, so I like working with
or around something. If you give me a blank canvas or a wide open
space I’m at a loss. Most of my work is commissioned so I like to get
to know my client, see what they like, what they are drawn to and then
find something in myself that I think they will appreciate. Because of
this approach I feel like Ive broadened the scope of people I can
relate to and also the body of work which inspires me.

5. Where do you like to shop (in NYC and beyond) to find special
things for your clients?

There is this great shop in Queens. I’ve been trying to keep it my
little secret but I’m doing a horrible job at that – its called Film
Biz Recycling. Its a little hidden and out of the way but when you go
there you find all these great old props and pieces from movie and TV
sets. Some of the pieces are custom made and some are antiques but
almost everything is completely unique and can’t be found anywhere
else. You can often find that one piece you want to build an entire
room around there.

6. Do you prefer keeping up with trends or staying with classics?
Trends, especially color trends are not my thing. I don’t know if
orange is in or not but if I want to paint my bathroom orange, I will.
The main thing is feeling comfortable. If something is new and you
like it, incorporate it into what you already have, you don’t have to
start from scratch.

7. In your opinion what era in history had the best interior design?
That’s so hard to say. I feel like art deco was getting close to
something and then they gave up. I have this image in my head of a
style that continues on from where that left on, but I haven’t seen it
in real life… neither have I been able to draw it out properly. One
day maybe..


What advice would you give to someone who wants decorate their home
but don’t have a very big budget?
Paint & Thrift stores are your best friends. Go to your local thrift
store or antique barn and find a piece you can re-paint. When you
putting a little work and TLC into something it means so much more to
you than a big budget purchase. In the end its all about surrounding
yourself with things that make you feel good. A $5,000 table doesn’t
actually make you feel any better than a $100 table lovingly revamped.

Categorized | Design