By Michelle Lloyd
Whitney Preslar Bayer, 33, of Southeast Charlotte has always been artistic and early on had a sneaking suspicion she would make a living from her passion and her talent. True to form, Whitney began Preslar Studios in 2002. A chance to paint a murual turned out to be calling for Whitney who makes her clients home come to life with stunning murals, ceilings, home decor, walls, and more.
Q. How did Preslar Studios begin?
A. I've always been artistic, and always known I would make a living of it. I attained a BFA in illustration from Washington University in St. Louis with the plans to illustrate children's books. Along the way I had the opportunity to paint a mural. More were requested and I decided to follow the path laid out for me.
I learned and gained an appreciation for decorative finishing to compliment the murals at Faux Works Studio in High Point, and have really enjoyed bouncing back and forth between the two. In my early days, I did a mural for the WCNC Dove house, and I can trace every successful lead and business partner back to that room.
Q. When did you begin painting?
A. I've always painted. I was encouraged at a young age and cannot remember a time when I didn't take art classes.
Q. What do you paint for Preslar Studios?
A. Anything and everything! In homes, I've painted walls, ceilings, floors, cabinets, trim, doors, sinks, ceiling fans, light fixtures all kinds of things! I've also been getting back to my fine art roots and have had several opportunities for canvas work and have really enjoyed making oil paintings. As far as subject matter, I've done fun silly murals, and soft sweet murals, finishes that are meant to imitate wood or stone and glittery, over the top finishes as well. One of my favorites was a metallic leopard print with clear glass beads over the top. I pride myself in being versatile.
Q. What did you paint for your son's nursery?
A. My son's room is my favorite room in the house. I wanted to paint a mural, but the room is small and after we ordered the furniture I realized the space I had to work with was better suited for a pattern. I used a stencil to create a focal wall of dots and circles and love how it turned out. When he was an infant he could see the pattern and loved to look at the walls. Part of being and artist is knowing when to restrain yourself, and this is a case where less is more.
Q. What has been your favorite project?
A. That's really tough! I painted a mural for twins that was silly cows playing together. I laughed the whole time I was working, so that one sticks out. I also love a staircase I did for Homearama a few years ago. I did freehand scrollwork on the underside of a curved staircase. That was breathtaking and very zen-like to paint, even though I was perched on top of a ladder
Q. How long does it usually take to finish a room?
A. It depends. I work on all scales and try to accommodate different budgets. Some rooms I spend a day or two, and some take weeks. Some rooms I've just painted a niche and some rooms I've painted the wall, ceiling, floor, and trim.
Q. What is your favorite thing to paint?
A. I've done several pet portraits recently, which have been really fun. I've done my son's footprints every month, so I'd have to say his little feet are my favorite thing to paint!
Q. How much does a project cost?
A. It depends. Again, I offer a wide range of finishes and murals. I can do a simple one layer finish, and I also have finishes in my portfolio that are six to eight layers. The same applies to murals. I've done some very fresh simple graphic murals that I can get up in a few days, and I've done some that are more detailed. I try to work with most budgets. I have priced projects from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
Q. Where can our readers see your work?
A. In homes all around Charlotte. I also did the rust finished walls at Whisky River at the Epicenter. My portfolio is available online.
Q. Has your work been published in a book or magazines?
A. Yes, I've been featured in Little Ones, Urban Homes, and Luxury Living.
Q. Any tips for parents who are painting?
A. Yes, use a good quality low VOC paint. I love Benjamin Moore's Aura. It's pricey, but covers in one coat and is a green product. You may spend $20 more per gallon, but you will need less paint and spend less time painting, which gives you more time for the kids! You can also create some great designs with painters tape. Again, don't skimp. I've tried every brand, and 3M delicate surfaces with the orange core leaves the cleanest line. Lastly, don't be afraid to jump in with something bold. It's just paint!
You can find out more online at www.preslarstudios.com, or by calling 704.906.1171 email: firstname.lastname@example.org