Have you ever looked at a tasteful but boring neutral wall in your home or office and wondered how you could add some life to your decor?
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Many home and business owners are finding murals can create ambiance in a room that was previously quite unremarkable. And if you’re not artistically gifted yourself, you may want to turn to the talents of Fishers artist Cassandra Domer.
Domer recently finished a mural in the employee breakroom at the 96th Street Wal-Mart, and she’s working on another for the Fishers Freedom Festival now. The Wal-Mart mural features a diverse group of employees above a scene of old town Fishers, with the words: “Our people make the difference.”
“Everyone likes it; it’s definitely a conversation piece,” said Cynthia Jude, personnel manager for the store.She said employees like to guess who the pictured associates are. Domer took photos of employees to use as models for her drawing, but the end product was not supposed to feature specific store associates. Still, the mural has definitely livened up the formerly boring room.
“We weren’t actually looking to do a mural, but we wanted to upgrade our breakroom and make it unique,” Jude explains.
And that’s what murals do for an area. They add character to a space and often bring a bit of fantasy to life as well. That was especially the case for a little girl in West Clay whose father, Michael Rypel, commissioned Domer to transform his daughter’s room into Snow White’s cottage.
Domer painted all four walls—even covering the closet door with dwarves – and finished off the illusion by hanging a real swing from the “branch” of a large, painted tree. Now the Rypels are moving to Geist, so little Natalie will get another fantasy land painted in her new room, thanks to Domer.
When she’s starting a new project, Domer says she listens to the customer’s vision and then tries to “pluck it from their mind just the way they see it and then enhance it.” Over the years, Domer has done dozens of murals and set designs for theatrical productions both locally and in Ohio, as well as other parts of the country.
“I’m a Buckeye wrapped in Hoosier,” says Domer, who grew up in Georgetown, Ohio. Her mother had a theatre background, and her father, a doctor, was a hobby artist. She fondly recalls times when her dad would take her and her brother out to their woods, hand them oil paints and a canvas and ask them to paint what they saw.
“We’d just play games with art and design,” she said.
That exposure to art at an early age led her to study fine art in college, where a favored professor advised her to have curiosity and “learn everything.”
To that end, Domer has acquired quite a diverse background, with jobs ranging from developing flashcards for training Motorola employees to working at veterinary clinics. (The love of her life right now is a rat terrier named Max). She even helped her brother start the first EMT service in Georgetown, where he served as Lt. Sheriff.
“I’m living up to what my teacher said to do,” she jokes.
Her signature “Earthscapes,” which feature two differing perspectives of a seasonal landscape, led to an opportunity to create posters promoting Earth Day. Through her Earth Day connections, she also landed a job teaching colored pencil at the Indianapolis Art Center in Broadripple.
Domer spends much of her time now working in her studio, which takes up the majority of her Sunblest apartment. In addition to murals, Domer also does portraits and illustration. She’s currently working with atGeist.com Publisher Tom Britt on a children’s coloring book featuring “Goldsmith” the rooster, a character she developed to serve as mascot for the book, which highlights the history of Geist.
“The diversity keeps it interesting all the time,” Domer says of her work.
In the near future, she hopes to expand her mural business by launching a website selling custom murals painted onto canvas, which could be shipped to customers and hung directly on the wall like wallpaper or hung with a curtain rod and rings.
Domer especially enjoys mixing colors and creating depth through a technique called “underpainting.”
“You can actually make it look like you could walk into it and be a part of the dream,” she explains.
If you’re ready to discover the potential dream waiting for your wall, call Domer at 598-9814 or email email@example.com.