Artist keeps Tradition Alive when Hand Painting Large Gym Graphics 
Artist specializes in  Large Architectural Graphics and Lettering

    Houston, TX: Large gym and architectural graphics are a specialty of Houston based commercial artist Ray Gatica. When it comes to laying out and hand painting large gym graphics, the artist uses the old overhead projector and pouncing process which goes back to when big billboards and large architectural graphics and signs were hand painted by accomplished, talented artist who were employed by the likes of Eller Outdoor Co., and other, similar outdoor advertising companies.

    Back then, in the seventies and, as recently as the late eighties, all billboards were hand-painted. Back in the seventies, it wasn’t uncommon to look up towards a billboard 70 feet in the air and see a human painting the boards. They used oil paints. Remember seeing the old style Seagram’s 20 X 40 Ft. billboards when they showed fancy, sexy dressed models juxtaposed a Seagram or Bacardi bottle. It was excellent BIG art! OF course these large works were not done free-hand; there was a process.

    No longer hand painted, these billboards are digitally produced. Most of the outdoor billboard companies today still provide their services, except the billboards are not hand painted any longer - but are digitally designed and created. The printers that print these twenty feet by forty feet billboards are twenty feet wide. The boards are painted on vinyl/media that is virtually indestructible and highly durable. The giant 20 foot-wide printers paint the vinyl very similar to a desktop printers attached to your computer. Finally, they are transported to the site where they are hoisted to about 70 feet in the air and then stretched and tied to the billboard frame.

    Gym and Architectural & Signage Graphics: When painting gym graphics, Gatica employs a similar method as the old-timer artist painters that painted the billboards and large architectural graphics back in the seventies and as late as early 1990’s.

    Firstly, after the design was created. Then he uses a projector to size the image to the required size. Depending where the design is to be painted the design may need to be put on paper first, so that the design can be transported to the site or billboards to prepare to paint. With the overhead projector, the various pieces of the overall designs were enlarged on to large paper patterns. The pattern’s design lines were then made with a pounce wheel, which leaves a fine perforated line on the pattern. (The pounce wheel is a small-wheeled instrument that is used to transfer a design onto a surface by leaving a perforated line on intended surface. It is the same instrument used by your mother or seamstress when they used to make sewing patterns.) The pattern/s are then placed on the wall where the sign or graphic are to be painted. After placing it properly they would then use a pounce bag (a fine, graphite filled bag) that was tapped on to the front of the pattern’s perforated lines. The perforations in the lines allow the graphite powder to seep through, thus transferring the design to the intended surface- where it would then be painted.

    The designs are usually painted in colors specified by the architects or, what the design calls for. When painting the designs in the gym or high locations, Gatica rents a scissor lifts to reach twenty feet in the air in some gymnasiums and interior walls. It usually takes him around ten to fifteen days to prepare, enlarge the designs and paint the work. After the painting is done, Gatica finally cleans up and touches up the designs to sharpen edges to finalize everything.

    “It is fun but tedious works” says Gatica, of doing the large works.

    Gatica has been involved in the hand painted architectural graphics & signage, murals, and gym graphics for over 15 years. He painted about approximately, 20,000 square feet of interior design graphics at the Texan’s Stadium, 8000 square feet of architectural graphics at Houston SPCA and, 8000 square feet at various Katy ISD, schools.

    Gatica’s experience, over the years includes working and subcontracting with architects, school administrations, interior design firms, and commercial painting and construction companies.

    Gatica, can be contacted through his website:, or by calling 281-441-9714. Our other sites include

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