A Mural for a Monolithic Dome
Space Artist Pat Rawlings
During the past 30 years, Pat Rawlings of Dripping Springs, Texas (www.patrawlings.com) has done much of his artwork for NASA and aerospace clients around the world. His depictions of lunar bases, Mars explorers, telepresence robots and other other-world scenes have helped the space agency visualize its future exploration plans.
About eight years ago, however, he was approached by the Public Library System of Harris County, Texas to do a mural for the children’s section of its new Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library. The opportunity to do a huge image that included pirates, dinosaurs, B17 bombers and Jules Verne spaceships was too tempting to pass up.
Fantastic Mural for Woodsboro ISD in Woodsboro, Texas
Since then, Rawlings has done numerous murals for other libraries, office building interiors and exteriors, and NASA facilities.
One of his more recent murals was done for Woodsboro ISD’s new, 20,000-square-foot, Monolithic Dome gym/auditorium/activity center that doubles as the community disaster shelter.
The 100’ wide by 30’ high expanses on either side of the gym floor provided both an opportunity and a challenge. The graceful arcs of the walls drove the design in a curvilinear direction with its large Woodsboro green swooshes. The 60’ wide eagle, Woodsboro’s mascot, appears to be swooping into center court with its gaze firmly fixed upon the players of opposing teams.
Rawlings said, “I was hoping that seeing that enormous eagle coming toward them might be worth a few extra points in a close game.”
The challenge of Woodsboro’s enormous wall was getting the cutout graphics affixed without building a scaffold, since the wall was higher than any conventional extension ladder. Mural installers of Corporate Installations finally settled on using an electric scissor lift to reach the highest levels.
Rawlings continues to do unique applications of his art that include wrapping a full-scale mockup of a NASA spacecraft with artwork and the interior and exterior of an elevator that he made appear to be an airlock.
He said, “I create the artwork based upon careful measurements and site photographs. Often unique opportunities present themselves. One children’s library mural had to have a fire alarm in the middle, so I just did a couple of small stick-on fairies that looked like they were sitting on the alarm.”
The mural, which he creates using 3D models, photographs and hand-painted art on his computer, is then printed on long, self-adhesive vinyl strips that take only a few hours to install. Once properly installed, the seams are virtually invisible.
The murals are waterproof, washable and long lasting. In fact, the material and techniques used in the printing and lamination of the art is the same as what is used for high-speed powerboat graphics that are exposed to full sun, saltwater and 70-mile-per-hour speeds.
“Any artist has to love seeing their creations larger than life spread across a wall in brilliant, saturated color,” Rawlings stated. “I hope to continue doing this new type of art for many years to come.”
Letter from Pat Rawlings after the publication of this article:
Thanks for the excellent coverage! I’m in discussions with Tidehaven ISD now and hope to work on more of these unique opportunities. The domes are really a phenomenal solution for cash strapped school districts with their students safety in mind.