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Natural Awakenings Chicago

Artist Paints Eco-Friendly Murals

Apr 29, 2011 11:31PM ● By Carrie Jackson

Debby Spertus, owner and lead artist of Signature Mural and Finish, can create her imaginative and ornamental masterpieces just about anywhere. She has painted basements, bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens in her clients’ homes, decorating surfaces such as Formica, wooden butcher blocks, plaster and concrete with faux finishes and ornate designs. She has completed murals and finishes in restaurants, boutiques and spas, and was even commissioned for a lunchroom mural in her children’s school, Lincolnwood Elementary School, in Evanston. Recently, she transformed a North Side wine bar into an aged Parisian bistro. Her work can be seen throughout Chicago, the North Shore and the Northwest suburbs.

Spertus has a passion for faux painting—using detailed painting to create the look of other materials and effects, such as making surfaces look like wood, granite and marble. She says this technique uses fewer natural resources, and allows homeowners to use sustainable materials to attain the look of exotic woods and stone.

Evanston-based Spertus doesn’t stick to any one style, which allows her to tailor her work to match her clients’ imaginations. She starts with an in-home consultation to show samples and define objectives. “I talk with the clients, and get to know their personalities,” she says. “Sometimes they know exactly what they want; other times they have no idea, only a mood or style.” Once a project is drafted and agreed upon, the creative work begins. Spertus says typical projects can take anywhere from a day to two weeks, with most jobs complete within a few days. For larger projects, she brings in other artists as needed.

Since Spertus is in close contact with her materials, using low- and zero-VOC products are very important. “I’m involved in it every day, and don’t want to be breathing in anything bad,” she says. She stays current on her craft by taking classes, researching new products and constantly challenging herself. “I take great pride in creating what someone else wants,” she says.

For more information on Signature Mural and Finish, call 847-477-1853, e-mail [email protected] or visit

Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based freelance writer and blogger. Visit her at