John Laidacker | Muralist

Mural by Jon LaidackerJon Laidacker MFA, ‘07 PAFA was the lead muralist on the 85,000-square-foot How Philly Moves image that encases the Philadelphia International Airport parking lot walls near Interstate-95. The mural, composed of images taken by photographer JJ Tiziou, spans a half-mile and is by far the largest community mural ever created by the city of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (MAP). The muralist’s assistants for the 2011 project included fellow PAFA MFA classmates Charles Newman, Thomas Walton and Laura Velez.

According to Laidacker, PAFA’s innovative preparation continues to inform his work, such as the 26 figures of dancers featured on the airport-based mural that are designed for viewing while traveling at highway speeds. “The main thing that i took away from the PAFA experience is using the training to make myself a better muralist and public artist.”

Laidacker’s work in painting a community’s story through murals is one of the reasons the region has earned the nickname City of Murals. During a guided MAP tour of some of the over 2700 murals in Philadelphia, you’ll hear that Laidacker’s illusion painting is, “a classical style, tromp l’oeil, very powerful photorealistic figures.”

“The technique and process are really important to me when I am working on a project because I try to think of these large-scale projects so much as a graphic design or a produced piece of art,” says the artist. Anytime I am working on the various aspects of a mural, I harken back to color theory and things that we learned in our seminar classes. So just trying to put that more intense conceptual thought into my work is probably how my PAFA experience influenced me the most.”