The Independent
Jan. 15, 2004

By: Ron McNicoll

As a child, Victoria Miraglio was so consumed with painting that her father knew he had no chance of getting her to the dinner table unless he first agreed to paint with her.

So it was with a great deal of bliss that Miraglio made a career change in 1998 that took her from being a director of business development in Silicon Valley to being a mural painter who decorates homes and public institutions.

Although the Silicon Valley job, which involved selling, wasn’t what she really wanted to do it paid the bills in raising her children. And it was creative, especially when she could do video and film as part of the job. “At Sun Microsystems, I illustrated a book, because it needed to be done. It was faster and cheaper for me to do it myself than find someone else,” said Miraglio.

Miraglio, a Pleasanton resident, got practice for murals when she was raising her children in Livermore. They were in high school. She helped out by designing the floats for elaborate homecoming parades. They were big, much more ambitious than the typical canvas for painting.

There has been no lack of work since she started her business. She is so busy, she has an assistant, Rose Smith, help her on some jobs. Projects have ranged from kids’ bedrooms to a mural for a library in Fairfield. One room was floor to ceiling with an Asian jungle. Miraglio went on-line to find pictures of authentic Asian jungle animals as models for her work.

Another Client wanted orchids painted around the room. Miraglio bought a book of orchid illustrations to be as realistic as possible. A boy’s room she painted in Pleasanton has 10-foot grizzlies, squirrels and a pine tree. “With kids’ rooms, I get to go wild, and paint creative things,” she said. “And I like animals.”

Miraglio painted her own dog, Vinny the Tail, a Corgie-Jack Russell mix, into the Fairfield library mural. He is with squirrels, ducks, Canadian geese and a tree house, on three sections of canvas that total eight feet in height and 16 feet in width.

Most murals are painted directly on walls. However, some clients want them on canvas so they can be moved to new locations.

When Miraglio paints on walls for clients, especially homeowners, she obliges their request to put them into the mural. She keeps the faces and figures small enough so that a subsequent homeowner wouldn’t even notice the previous occupants stayed on in the painting.

One of the more interesting commissions for Miraglio is one she is doing now for an Oakland couple who love old films and collect Charlie Chaplain memorabilia. They are having Miraglio, paint a mural on a five-foot safe in a living room. They want an old theatre resembling the Paramount complete with a ticket booth in the center of the entryway. There is Chaplain, billboards on the theatre front. Chaplain’s, movie”The Kid” is advertised. The kid himself is looking out a window as Chaplain is looking into it.
Murals in homes are a big trend now, because people want a different kind of decoration that their neighbors don’t have, said Miraglio. They also like the fact they can personalize their décor by having themselves painted into the scene.

In the Valley, the most popular sort of mural is a view of a vineyard. People like to get the” living in Tuscany” effect. For her own home, Miraglio opted for a 17 foot wide view of Venice on her patio. “I though, ‘What would I like to look at instead of a stupid, cement wall?”
Venice, which is what I would like more than being here,” said Miraglio.