Friday, April 22, 2011

Plaster as Art: New Uses for Old Products

These are my walls.  This is who I am.”

At Vero, we are in the business of making old products, used since antiquity, serve new purposes.  Just as these plasters add beauty to European landmarks, they can add beauty to a new custom home overlooking the Pacific Ocean or a sushi restaurant in Hollywood.  Increasingly, creative artisans are finding their most creative expressions on their interior jobs.

Interiors have to serve two purposes – they have to be the comfortable living spaces that people relax in and recharge their batteries.  And they have to provide that glimpse of the inner personality of the owner that tells friends and family, “These are my walls.  This is who I am.”  So it is no wonder that the most creative applications we have ever seen are happening on interiors.  Some of these creations are best described as works of art.  Others are textural wall treatments like nothing we’ve ever seen before.  And some artisans are using the unique capabilities of Vero products to restore old and discolored walls.

Works of Art

One of our first customers was Terri Riesenmann, of Faux You Designs of Riverside, CA (  She has taught us more over the years about creative applications for our plaster than anyone.  She did this stenciled lime plaster (Antiqua) treatment on a job when we were probably still selling out of our first container from Italy.  It made us see the plaster as part of the art on a wall.

                                          Palm Springs, CA

And as featured on the Vero website over the past few months, Hugo Rivera ( has literally taken up residence in the Vero studio, while he develops his feel for using authentic plasters for his art pieces.  Hugo counts himself a “post-modern frescoist”, and has chosen to use plasters over oils and acrylics because they feel and smell more natural, and can achieve more complex and rich textural effects.  Pictured below are a few examples of his work, currently on display at Townley Gallery in Laguna Beach, CA (

Longtime customer Chris Miller ( has recently completed this masterpiece on the walls of a home.  Making use of Antiqua lime plaster, he was able to interplay texture and color to create perspective and depth in this canopied roadway scene.

Textural Treatments

When Solution was first introduced, we envisioned it as a weather-resistant plaster that could take the look of Evolution (interior only) to the outside of a building.  What happened after we showed it to our customers was an explosion of interest, some of it for exteriors, but most of it for its high-gloss and ease of use.  As the product’s popularity almost ran us out of product several times in the first year, most customers were troweling it smooth.

Then came Dodger Stadium.  Ted Xentaras of Luxe Plaster (, added texture to their wall finish using Solution.  Paired with our silver metallic topcoat, Stucco Argento, the resulting finish is a stunning pewter-like treatment with a texture reminiscent of bamboo that you can see on the field-level VIP bars at Dodger Stadium.

To another extreme, Luxe was given a very peculiar request. An electrical contractor wanted a wall of his office emblazoned with his favorite formula. Luxe, once again, delivered an impressive wall with a mathematical equation out of Evolution using custom stencils.

Our very own in-house artisan, Lisa Milligan, worked on art panels for the reception area of the Mercedes Dealership showroom in Laguna Niguel, CA giving the entrance a sophistication and class just like their luxurious automobiles. Vero’s Antiqua and Epoca Spatolato lime finishes have been chosen as the specified materials to be used in all Mercedes Dealership’s across America.

Picking up the torch from where those guys left off, John Moss ( was asked to deliver a wall finish that jived well with the target market of the Affliction stores.  He came up with a rock-n-roll, multi-dimensional look that the customer immediately embraced as exactly what he was looking for.

Soon after, Glen Moore of Builders Plastering asked us for a plaster for a Japanese restaurant that incorporated straw for a rustic look.  We had seen several Japanese straw plasters in the market that were based on acrylic formulations and had no depth of color.  So we made a lime plaster with added marble texture and rice straw from the Sacramento area, and produced our newest product, Rustico, that adds the warmth and depth of lime to the rustic straw to produce a farmhouse finish that we’ve fallen in love with.  We since used it as the exterior finish on a yurt in Santa Fe, NM.

We had finally entered the world of restaurant design, and we love the creative challenge of designing appetizing and fun yet serviceable wall designs.  So when the Cheesecake Factory requested samples for its new store in Houston, we borrowed ideas from some of the artisans featured above and presented them with these finishes.  Alfredo and Jose of Earthtone Painting were instrumental in creating these unique plaster effects.  If you see a Cheesecake Factory going up near you, stop by and see these finishes for yourself.

Another local artisan, Cary Ezell of Walls n Effects (, layered different colored Antiqua to create this unusual finish reminiscent of tobacco leaves and leather.


Chinnaya Nwosu of Taocon ( had a challenging assignment.  He had to repair the discoloration on a cement ceiling treatment in a Manhattan loft with critical light streaming in through huge windows with views of the Hudson River.  He used our lime paint, Epoca 800, that has proven a versatile fix-it tool for these type of applications and a beautiful finish in its own right.  He diluted it to a milky consistency and sprayed it directly onto the cementitious plaster.  He was able to cover up the discoloration from years of water leaks and stop the gradual degradation of the original coating.  And Vero matched the gray color so the owner will wonder if time was moved backward when he sees those stains gone.

Inspiration for Us All

While we can’t move time backward, we can help customers achieve the creative vision in their heads using our very versatile product line and its unbeatable aesthetics and performance.  When you draw on our 10-year history of Venetian plaster creations, you benefit from all the artisans who came before you, who have created their unique expressions of their customers’ personalities.  All so that your client can show a little glimpse of himself or herself in their walls that says “These are my walls.  How do you like me now?”