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Owners of Beverly's Casa de Moda unveil large-scale mural

Posted by Terri Ogan  June 21, 2013 02:06 PM

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The owners of Casa de Moda on Cabot Street in Beverly have unveiled a large-scale mural that was constructed in order to enhance the atmosphere of downtown Beverly.

The mural, which is about 20 by 25-foot, is called "Calle Casa,” meaning home or house street, and depicts a narrow street with multiple shops and stores on each side and multiple patrons walking by. There is a beach along the horizon in the background, buildings have awnings and painted window signs or small wooden signs, and there is man walking a dog near foreground.

The project, which was spearheaded by local artist Philip Coleman, is the first of a three-part project that will be installed around the Casa de Moda building.

Production on the first mural started this past spring and was unveiled last Thursday in an official presentation with dignitaries from City Hall and Beverly Main Streets, among others.

"I'm very pleased," said Janice Preston, co-owner of Casa de Moda. "We've gotten lots of really good comments from people stopping to watch and seeing the progress over the weeks. There are little things going in now to get you wander through it and be surprised by small things like a pigeon in a doorway and a cat in the window."

Preston added that Coleman, along with his three Montserrat College of Art interns who have been helping him on the project, will be adding finishing touches on the mural for the next few days.

The type of art going up is called “trompe l’oeil” in French, which in English means, “deceives the eye.”

And the first mural does just that.

"Someone asked me what happens if someone decides to drive in because it looks so real," Preston said.

Three-foot black cement barriers with reflective paint have been installed to stop patrons and residents from attempting to drive into the mural, Preston added.

To start the mural, Coleman and his interns sketched out the design, put a grid padding on the wall after priming the wall, then transferred the sketch onto the wall by painting it.

Coleman said now that everything is coming together, he is satisfied with the outcome.

"The thing that pleased me the most was the reaction from the people that passed by," Coleman said. "Some people would come by everyday to see what new additions that were put on. There was a lot of positive community response. I'm kind of a perfectionist but I'm pleased with the way it came out."

Coleman added that along the way he endured some challenges. He said that the brick surface made painting the mural difficult, and the final product doesn't always come out like it appeared in the initial sketches.

To overcome obstacles Coleman said he had to make adjustments in terms of perspectives, and "where you put the people and the buildings, but it eventually comes together."

The mural isn't completely finished, as Coleman has been been making small additions each day. The positive feedback is the most gratifying aspect of the job.

"I was so grateful for the people coming by and giving their complements and saying what it is doing for the city," Coleman said. "It's the reason I do it, is to get a positive react on from the people and give back to the community."

The local artist said that other businesses have inquired about painting murals on their own buildings.

Coleman is hoping to start the second installation, entitled "Casa Harbor," in September, which will incorporate a New England style harbor scene with stone paths going through a garden.

The third mural, entitled "Casa Gallery," will go up in Spring 2014 and feature a series of fine art paintings on vacant windows and doors.

Terri Ogan can be reached at oganglobe@gmail.com, or follow her on Twitter.

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