Sunday, April 21, 2024

Wall to Wall: Mural Art Around the World by Mary Ann Fraser

Today, I'm heading into the world of art. While I first thought this book was aimed at graffiti, a second look at the blurb revealed that it covers much more than that. While I've seen quite a few different types of wall art over the years, I've never really brought this thought together under one hat. So, I'm curious to see what this book entails.

by Mary Ann Fraser
Getty Publications
Upper Middle Grade Nonfiction
80 pages
ages 10 to 14


An exciting tour of remarkable wall art around the globe, from prehistoric caves to futuristic wonders

People have been drawing on walls since ancient times. They do it to create beauty, to tell a story, to make a statement, or just to say, “I was here.” You can find wall art in a remote cave in Patagonia and a desert castle in Jordan, a kingly palace in the Republic of Benin and the National Palace of Mexico, a miles-long flood channel in Los Angeles and a sky-high rooftop in Norway.

In Wall to Wall , award-winning author, illustrator, and muralist Mary Ann Fraser takes readers on a worldwide journey through time, stopping to see amazing mural art along the way. Stunning color illustrations and fascinating photographs illuminate both famous and little-known examples, and lighthearted text tells engaging stories about the people who inspired or created them. A glossary, suggestions for further reading, and a section on the preservation of murals conclude the book. No reader will ever again pass by a mural—whether in a historic building, a museum, or out on the street—without stopping to take a closer look.


From cave man designs to modern day street art, readers learn about the every-changing world of wall murals.

Already on the opening page of contents, the wide range of wall art explored in this book is revealed. Thumb-print photos are pinned by location on a map of the world, fitting to the chapters listed below, which highlight each one. Starting with the Cave of the Hands in Argentina, works from Egypt, Italy, Afghanistan, and more are explored with actual images of the artwork and fairly detailed descriptions to their creation and possible purposes. At the end, the author opens the door with a chapter about what the future might hold as well as a section on preservation of these artworks. 

Starting from the very beginning with the mural artwork found from prehistoric times, the variety of artwork through the ages and it's importance are discussed. Some of these are well-known; others will surprise. The text stays in a somewhat casual tone, letting the facts flow with the atmosphere of a conversation, but it is still a very information based read and comes across as such. So, it is for the older age group and aimed at those, who want to learn more about this form of artwork. This can be used for an art theme in classrooms (even just a chapter or two) and does offer a nice basis for homeschool settings exploring this direction.

The information isn't focused on dates and places. Instead, it takes a rounder view. I enjoyed how the author discloses possible materials and techniques used to form each work. The surrounding culture and intentions are also looked at, staying within the realm of the art piece. Other events and interesting tidbits are added, too, which offer insights into broader art trends in the area, things which might have affected the piece over time, and surprising insights, which aren't usually mentioned. It creates a rich mix, which goes beyond the usual facts.

Each chapter not only holds a photo of the artwork but includes colorful illustrations, which reinforce the other pieces of information being revealed. These stick to a colorful and simpler style, reminding a bit of picture book illustrations. This loosens up the atmosphere, since the text does carry quite a bit of knowledge. These also help bring across the information with more clarity. 

This is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in discovering more about mural art and hits the intended audience level well.

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