REVEALED: How A 10-Story-High Ad Gets Painted On The Side Of A Skyscraper

Journey 2 Ad ComparisonThe final ad with the official movie poster.

Every six to eight weeks, Business Insider witnesses an amazing sight: A painted ad for a movie more than 10 stories tall on a nearby building is replaced in a few short days with another completely new ad.  Recently, the J. Edgar movie ad we’d been looking at for the last several weeks was replaced with a new one for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. This one was created by Art FX Murals, based out of Portland, Oregon.

A team of four can typically paint a new mural this size within a week, but the rainy days we’ve had spread this one out over two weeks. We’ve long wondered how they’re able to create such detailed paintings on such a large scale. And now we’ve figured out their secrets.

Click here to see how these giant ads are made >>

How it’s done:

1. The painters first receive a detailed image of the ad.  Using a grid, they’ll enlarge the image to the size of their canvas, which can be as large as an entire face of a building.

2. The enlarged image is printed on rolls of paper about five feet wide.  Using a “pen” that draws an electric current they trace the lines of the image, burning holes through the paper and creating a giant stencil.

3. Up on the face of the building, they roll out the stencils, and rub over them with charcoal to transfer the lines to the building.

4. Finally, the painters draw on their talent and paint in the ad, using the original scaled-down image as a guide.

They start by painting over the previous ad. This used to be a poster for the move J. Edgar.

Stencils are made in advance, which they roll out and transfer to the building with charcoal.

Painting begins, while another crew stencils the left side of the building.

Only two hours later, the two painters create intricate detail quickly. The left crew is rubbing charcoal over their stencil.

They can't carry every colour they need, so they paint what they can and go back for the rest.

Filling out the rest of the sky, and the tag-line lettering.

A painter consults his guide as he paints in Vanessa Hudgens' lips.

The finished product, over 10 stories tall.

Here's a side-by-side comparison of the painted ad and the official movie poster.

This short documentary shows the whole process and profiles the painters of one New York company.

UP THERE from Jon on Vimeo.

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