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My Other Life: Knieya Peterson, Muralist

by Katherine Fleming | December 13, 2017

Temecula, Calif.-based nail tech Knieya Peterson has been an artist ever since she could hold a crayon, so it’s not surprising that her art is popular at many sizes, from the small works of art she paints on nails to the wall murals she paints for local business owners. Her first experience with wall-sized painting was in high school, when a friend asked her to paint some custom art on a wall in her bedroom. “It was challenging, but so fun,” she says. “After that, I was hooked!”

Peterson often creates murals for restaurants and other businesses. She gets clients from referrals, which often come from her husband, who works in construction and builds restaurants and bars in the area. Clients usually know exactly what type of mural they want, but if they’re unsure, Peterson listens to their ideas and sketches out concepts for them. “I don’t really have a subject that I usually paint,” she explains. “I’ve painted everything from realistic people to abstract designs. I can basically create or recreate anything with any medium.”

The size of the painting brings different problems than nail art. “The main challenge of painting a mural is that it’s really difficult to see the entire painting at once,” says Peterson. “You have to keep stepping back or down off the ladder to make sure the painting still looks like what it’s supposed to look like.” She says painting portraits is the most challenging because “there is no room for error or even interpretation. But that challenge is also the fun part.”

Seeing her art appreciated is Peterson’s favorite part of painting murals. “I love revealing the finished product to the client,” she says. “There’s usually so much anticipation about what the final product will look like, so when they finally see it and a smile grows on their face, that’s what I live for!”

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