Sunday, September 5, 2010

Crocodile Rock & Nicola Vigini in San Antonio

I recently had the pleasure of working with a group of commercial contractors and decorative finishers at a Sherwin-Williams hands-on session in San Antonio. I was also excited to know that Nicola Vigini was planning to attend and was going to give me a tour of his studio later that evening!!

At this session we were all working with our new metallics and metallic plaster. We layered the smooth shimmering metallic as a base, put the samples outside to dry in the extreme dry heat provided by the afternoon sun. (Truck pallets stacked in the back of the store, facing directly into the blazing afternoon heat, combined with a warm breeze, proved to be a most effective fresh air "drying rack" system.)

I always encourage the artists and contractors who attend my hands on sessions to bring their own "torture devices" to work with to allow them to leave with sample boards that reflect their own hand and personality. I also try to bring along a few fun suggestions of my own. On this occasion I brought my newest toy; a Crocodile Rocker Tool from Atova.You can purchase this rocker tolls at Atova.

We then applied a coat of our new Quartz Stone product over the metallic and while it was still wet, we banged it with crunched up paper, or pulled through it with a wallpaper brush to create a striae effect, or rolled through it with a sea sponge roller, or Rocked it with an Crocodile Rocker tool!

How To: To recap the process was: Step 1: Apply the metallic over a painted or tinted primer surface in random roll application with a 1/2" microfiber or Colossus Roller sleeve.  Allow to dry.  Step 2: Roll or trowel on a coat of the Quartz Stone in the same color and while it is still wet, use your tool of choice to break through the thin wet film of metallic plaster to reveal the smooth metallic beneath. (Photo above shows the "Croc") 

I will have video in coming updates featuring artists from St. Louis, Nebraska, Philadelphia and NYC all showing their creativity at the easy 2 Step. (As soon as I can figure out how to view and insert the video?!)  Anyone with recommendations on a good video software for dummies, email me your suggestions!!

The simply sophisticated, subtle beauty of these finishes, make them an instant favorite with interior designers, architects and consumers.  Metallics, softly veiled underneath  layers have always been my favorite way to view and sell metallic installations. These finishes are also fast to the wall and profitable to in$tall!  (Just right for this economy and for commercial projects.)  In fact, one the the attendees at our session was a GSA contractor who is currently selling these finishes in place of commercial wallcovering in government office buildings.

You can see the metallic Quarts Stone Striae, How-To video at 

The session was a success and it was time to leave for Nicola's Studio...

Nicola is an incredible artist and I was pleased to find out that he is also a wonderful gentleman.  His facility has a truly world class showroom, which showcases some of the finest work to be found in our industry. The space also has a state-of-the-art classroom and an area large enough for some of Niciola's commissioned canvases.  At this one location, he runs a showroom, art studio, fax finishing school,  design studio, and a succesfful installation business.  If that wasn't enough, Nicola even designs a line of Stencils; BUSY Guy!

I was amazed at everything that I saw including Nicola's authentic Italian designs and ornamentation and old world finishes, but the thing that stopped me dead in my tracks was his extraordinary skills in trompe l'oeil.

The photo above, I took with my phone. (Sorry for the lack of quality, battery died on camera.)  I wanted to share with you a shot of Nicola in front of some amazing works of art.

Getting to spend time with someone this talented, who knows how to share his knowledge in a way that is meaningful,  was an inspirational learning experience for me. As soon as possible, I will take to take one of his classes. Nicola has curriculum for beginners with an introduction to faux class, as well as many mid and expert level offerings.

Learn more about Nicola and Vigini Studioes at:

I am looking forward to seeing Nicola in action in a couple of weeks at the Education Summit in Golden Colorado.  For more information go to the or

Next week, I will share some more of my travels and hopefully will include some on-location videos of artist and contractors in action!

Contact me with any comments or questions at

For more information on the Faux Impressions line by Sherwin-Williams, please stop into one of our 3000 stores nationwide or visit 

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