EAST LANSING, Mich. — East Lansing artist Adrienne Gelardi is making a name for herself with big, bright, bold murals on garage doors, sides of businesses, trash cans, even her van. You name it, she’ll paint it.
It started with cartoons.
“I loved cartoons as a kid…I started drawing lots of cats, really," Gelardi said.
And that love lasted.
“I actually studied traditional animation at Columbia College in Chicago,” she said.
A Michigander at heart, Gelardi came back after graduation.
“I worked with a company in Detroit for a few months to work on a pilot for a series but, as that kind of job is, it’s just like, a few months you’ll have something to work on, then you have to look for another job. So, I really decided early on that I wasn’t too stoked on the freelance thing, and I was looking for that corporate job to like, get all those bennies," Gelardi laughed.
In 2018, that changed.
“The corporate job is soul-crushing," Gelardi said, "so then I decided the opposite, and, in 2018, I started freelancing full-time.
"What happened was, I bought this house and then I had to paint the whole entire house myself, and when I finally got to the front door I was like, ‘You know what, I didn’t pick a crazy color for the house, I’m going to put a crazy color on the front door,'" Gelardi said.
Gelardi realized she hated the color. She thought it would be chartreuse. It looked "school bus yellow."
“So I was like, ‘Let’s see what I can do to jazz this up,’ and I painted this white line art of dahlias on my front door. That was the first door,” she siad.
It wasn’t the last. Gelardi posted her door on Facebook where the reaction she got made her think, "I must be onto something."
She was. Since then, she has commissioned, “I mean if we’re combining all the doors, garage doors and murals, maybe like, 100," Gelardi estimated.
Deidre Garlock is one of Gelardi's clients. Her garage door is covered in bright multicolored sunflowers.
“I found out about her through a friend in Grand Ledge who had her garage door done and I said, ‘Gotta have it!" Garlock said. “I said, ‘How about sunflowers?’ and she said, ‘I can do that.’”
Garlock gets a lot of attention from passersby, “compliments, horn honking, people rolling down their windows. 'I love your garage door!’”
Gerlardi’s latest project is a giant mural on the side of the Studio Shop in Williamston that she started last summer. Owner Will Long said he’d been wanting a mural on the side of his business for a while, and when he saw Gelardi’s artwork online, it clicked.
“Her shadowing and detail work really stands out above all of the other ones that I saw,” Long said.
Gelardi is accepting commissions for the fall and winter season right now. To see more of her work, click here.
View more of Gelardi's artwork
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