Muralist Marvels

John DeVlieger transforms the plain walls of area homes and businesses into extraordinary masterpieces.

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A Bryn Mawr foyer is 
transformed by a neoclassical homage to British painter Sir Lawrence 
Alma-Tadema. (Photo by John Lewis)One wine-loving homeowner is represented as Bacchus in a wine-cellar rendering. Children are painted into trompe l’œil ceilings as cherubim and seraphim. “As far as trompe l’œil goes, the large scale makes it easier,” he says. “When it’s not a one-to-one scale, it’s actually harder.”

Jack and Judy Coats of Bryn Mawr engaged DeVlieger to create a tropical mural inside the enclosed pool house of their six-year-old home, and they’re obviously proud of what they’ve been able to achieve with his help. The artist took as inspiration Judy’s experiences growing up in Florida and the couple’s travels to a variety of sandy, sunny destinations, offering them a panoramic scene that will complement the pleasures of swimming in warm waters even when snow covers the ground outside. “I always wanted to have something fun,” Judy says. “I just didn’t know that until John showed up.”

The Coats also drew inspiration from a saltwater aquarium that serves as a divider between a media room and bar area near the pool house. “This is what motivated us—and sitting there looking at a blank wall thinking we need something tropical and fun,” Judy says.

In putting together the Coats’ mural, DeVlieger solicited specifics from the couple, presenting them with photographs and other images of tropical scenes to gauge what they preferred. With an idea firmly established, he created a small rendering that reflected the dimensions of the surface to be painted.

The famed French wallpaper by Zuber served as the inspiration for 
this staircase mural in Haverford. (Photo by John Lewis)In Villanova, DeVlieger is in the midst of transforming a child’s bedroom into a massive aquarium. “When this mural is finished, it’s going to feel like he’s underwater swimming along with the fishes,” quips DeVlieger.

That’s the depth of his talent: Whatever a client imagines, he can deliver. But it’s the collaborative process DeVlieger relishes most—something far different from what the typical fine artist might be called upon to do.

“People ask what it’s like collaborating with a client,” he says. “A lot of times, they make me look better.”

To learn more about DeVlieger’s work, call (610) 246-1372 or visit

Tips for incorporating a mural into your own home on page 3 ...
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