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How to Draw an Artist out



Artist Lisa Troutman has a wall-to-wall resume. Her art shows up in a variety of places, but the most visible one is the story-telling mural on the walls that lead from the cozy, dimly lit upstairs dining room at Bar Brigade in St. Paul down a steep flight of stairs to a “quirky basement.” “I like that you open the door and there’s a huge pop of color,” says the restaurant owner, Matty O’Reilly. “We inherited the basement and can’t do much with it.” The mural is a way to pleasantly distract diners in search of a restroom. 

To put Troutman in the right frame of mind, O’Reilly had her read Ernest Hemingway’s "A Moveable Feast." “I listened to it so I could lose myself in the words,” she says. A quote from the book is a thought balloon for a beret-clad Hemingway in a rocker with a cat at his feet and a fish, snail and loaf of French bread overhead. (You can see a picture on page 26).

“I didn’t negotiate a price and I didn’t do trade, because artists always get bartered with,” O’Reilly says. “She got paid what she deserves.” Which is her asking rate. 

This was Troutman's first restaurant mural, and she enjoyed the collaboration. Since working on the project she’s put together a rate sheet for restaurant murals—$20 a foot. “I’m maintaining that price through 2018 because I want to do that work,” she says. 

We were so enamored with her style that we asked her to draw her answers to a Q&A we usually receive written answers to. Above is her pictorial on the Twin Cities culinary scene. 

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