EXPOSÉ: Mike McGuinness

We were first introduced to Mike’s work while on site at Karen Marie Salon in Chicago for an Industrie Gets Real photo shoot. Mike had a painting up behind the front desk and had just completed a massive 3-D mural that took up the entire back wall of the salon. He focuses on interior murals for both residential and commercial spaces and we loved his work so much, that he popped in for a quick interview to tell us a little more about who he is and what he does.



Mike is an Illustration/Graphic Design graduate of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and got started in interior mural making when he ran into a professor, post-graduation. The professor owned a mural company and approached Mike, since he felt like his style fit the space very well. He took Mike in and trained him on all things mural related and Mike stayed with him for about two years. He hadn’t really considered working on murals up until that point, but once he got started, Mike realized that it really was the perfect blend of his two majors.


While in Milwaukee, Mike also worked with a group of fellow MIAD grads at their Interior design and furniture making company, Flux Design. During his time at Flux, the owners were approached by DIY Network to do a series called “Made in Milwaukee” which focused on Flux’s work in and around the city. When asked what he worked on for the show, Mike laughed and said, “Basically, they would just call me up if there was something that they felt like would do well in in the space that they were working on. Sometimes I was just hanging around and they were like, ‘Hey, Mike…do this.’”

Mike describes his mural style as “highly-customized,” and says that it is definitely created for the design world. While he is grateful for all of the projects that he’s had the opportunity to work on, his favorite so far has been a large wood-carved mural that he created for Chicago restaurant, The Beoufhaus.

“It was that wood-carving one that I sent you, what did you call it? ‘Swirly?’ [laughs] Yeah, that one was great because I got to come up with a lot of solutions for what they wanted to convey. I had to basically give the space an identity. They wanted to reflect the food, which is French and German inspired, and make the space feel rich, warm and inviting. They wanted it to all come together by using the color palette and design. I think I accomplished all of that.”

When he’s not busy creating 3-D murals out of wood, metal and plexiglass, Mike works on paintings that he has a very difficult time describing.


“My style? It’s more… illustrative, more of a narrative, I guess. It’s descriptive. Like something that you would see in a magazine like High Fructose. It’s kind of lowbrow. I had this one gallery owner once, try to describe my work. She said it definitely wasn’t lowbrow, which is like this underground L.A. art movement, but I just looked it up and it totally is. So yeah, I was right.”

You can see Mike’s full portfolio on his website and judge for yourself.


Salon Profile: Karen Marie Salon, Chicago, IL
Meet Karen Marie: Salon Owner + Earth Lover