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Meet Jeanine Hattas Wilson of Hattas Public Murals

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeanine Hattas Wilson.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up painting alongside my identical twin sister Julie. Since were were both artistic, Iʼve always been a part of a collaborative artist team. Living in the country (just outside Chicago), we drew everyday, filling sketchbooks with portraits of each other, pictures of our dog Toto, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As we continued through our art education, we would challenge each other to paint specific subjects. This would later help me work with clients to create custom murals to meet any request. Our company’s slogan is COLLABOR[ART], which means we collaborate directly with our clients to come up with the best artwork for their needs.

I started Hattas Public Murals in 2002, after painting an underwater scene in a friend’s bathroom. I was working full-time as an advertising copywriter, but couldn’t wait for the weekends to get back to my painting project. It was such fun, and watching visitors’ reactions as they entered the room was priceless. After a year of juggling both jobs, I was able to devote my full attention to mural painting. After 15 years, my team and I have painted nearly 3,000 murals and custom artworks.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Starting a company at age 22 was no easy feat. I certainly didn’t have the experience to navigate with ease and confidence. But what I did have was fearlessness. My naivety gave me the courage to not even consider failure. I was so close to the ground, there wasn’t far to fall. Plus, I knew this was the right path for me. I’ve know it since I was a child. I’m lucky to have parents who’ve always supported my artistry, continually putting me in art classes after school, and always making sure I had plenty of sketchbooks and art materials to practice. Of
course, it has been a lot of work and sacrifice. Lori Greiner has said, “Entrepreneurs are the only people who will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.” That couldn’t ring truer. My 20s were put to the grindstone trying to make a name for myself in a field where “climbing the ladder” actually means lugging around your own ladder. It’s a physically demanding job, but it’s also one that allows for continued growth. Artists have a reputation for being insecure about their work. I think this attitude can be honed for betterment. I
continue to take painting classes every year, forcing me to stand in front of a blank canvas, forget everything I know, and try painting through the eyes of new teachers. This forces me to be uncomfortable and raw. But when you push through, you come out seeing everything differently. Workshops are a way to learn and refresh. Today, I take my team to class with me so that we grow together.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Hattas Public Murals – what should we know?
Hattas Public Murals takes pride in excellence. We work with a lot of reputable companies, beautiful homes and organizations that want to commemorate important people and events. It is our job to create artwork that does them justice and makes them proud. The murals not only have to be beautiful, but they must also be accurate. We have had the honor of creating pictorial historical murals for such organizations as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (Azusa, CA), St. Joseph Hospital (Orange, CA), The California Trail Interpretive Center (Elko, NV), Isle a la Cache Museum (Romeoville, IL), and several Native American Tribes, including the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe (Havasu Lake, CA). We start by understanding the client’s mission for the project. From there, we do a great deal of research to provide a detailed design. And then collaborate with them to make sure everything is correct. Lastly, we paint. We often paint these types of mural on synthetic canvas in our Lake Balboa Studio. We keep clients involved with progress photos or studio visits. And we often shoot time-lapse videos so they can later see the whole process. Many of these videos can be seen on our website ( under “Videos.” In addition to story-telling murals, we also work with many corporations, including LAX, Hilton, USC, Nike, BMW, Montage Resorts,
Mission Hospital, movie-production studios, churches and schools. We also have the joy of working with celebrities, such as Robert Downey Jr., Snoop Dogg, P!nk, Train and more. Whether working with homeowners, municipalities, companies or celebrities, we always take pride in our mission to listen, collaborate, and produce artwork of the highest standards. We won’t leave a project until our clients are 100% satisfied, and we feel proud adding our signature.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
A teacher shared this joke: How many artists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? The answer is ten. One to screw in the lightbulb, and nine to tell him heʼs doing a great job. Art is one of those things that doesnʼt have a clear definition, so we often look to others for feedback and support. I could not have grown as an artist without the undying support of my parents. And later in life, my husband Jason.

Jason is a Visual Effects Artist for movies, so he has a great eye for color, composition and accuracy. I attribute much of my growth to his input and encouragement.

Since workshops have been so valuable to my growth, I’ve gained great inspiration from teachers in my past. Some notable heroes are William Cochran’s realistic trompe l’oeil, Michael Siegel’s Dutch Master’s portraits/still-life, Robert Liberace realistic figures, and Randall Sexton’s plein air landscapes. I am also inspired by my team, which is made up of talented artists, who are also great people. Included is Ian Burgess, who is equally talented with a brush, as he is thinking on his feet. Ian’s ingenuity is continually revealed since we are always creating different types of works at different types of sites. Ian’s clever thinking and range of skills help keep projects moving smoothly, while also turning out beautifully. Also on our team is Jen Snoeyink. In addition to having a great eye for color, she sees everything from the big picture down to the fine detail. With her experience painting on high-pressure movie sets, she can handle anything in her path.

Since every project is different, we are a team that takes confidence facing the unknown. From working in different environments, to painting different subject matters and styles, to working with different clients and committees, we enter each project with our goal of creating excellent works that are accurate and beautiful.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jeanine Hattas Wilson

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