Ulrich Allgaier has been dedicated to the creative design of exclusive wall, floor, and ceiling surfaces for many years, with a preference for the high-quality mineral paints from KEIMFARBEN. In addition to his artistic pursuits, he also offers seminars and workshops to enthusiastic participants, unraveling the secrets of illusionary painting and decorative wall design. His impressive portfolio encompasses numerous successful projects, marked by his unique artistic signature, along with several inspiring book publications.
How did you come to your current profession?
It's quite simple: I thought about how I could make good money without working too hard – and painting seemed like the only option. (a little joke)
My love for painting dominated my early life. My father was a great teacher and motivator. I could already draw houses in perspective at the age of 4. After finishing high school and completing military service (yes, that was still a thing back then), I was approached about a painted design on my motorcycle tank. This led to a commission to paint an illustration for a record cover. Not only was it enjoyable and yielded fantastic results, but it also earned the pride of my parents, who had been somewhat skeptical of a career in painting before.
Following this, I painted illustrations for several record and magazine covers, as well as posters and festival shirts. Through the records, I got connected to nightclubs, and from there, through posters, I eventually found my way to mural painting. Unlike illustrations, mural painting requires not only wrist movement but full-body engagement. The impact of large-scale murals is consistently overwhelming, eliciting direct reactions from observers. Additionally, the effort required for a mural measuring 3 x 3 meters is almost the same as for an 80 x 80 centimeter illustration. The only differences lie in the size of brushes and amounts of paint used.
My deep passion for art and painting drove me constantly. As a teenager, I could never have dreamed of such a fulfilling career. And all this without formal training or a degree, just with a bit of hard work and a lot of luck!
One great joy is being able to share the years of accumulated experience and knowledge as an author of books on mural and illusion painting, as well as through numerous seminars with Keimfarben.
How does the preparation phase unfold in a project? On average, how long does a project typically last?
The most crucial aspect is the analysis of the object: materials (thermal insulation?), formal and architectural conditions, sightlines, orientation to the sun, and, of course, the characteristics and peculiarities of the surroundings. In my view, mural painting should always subordinate itself to the architecture, ultimately entering into a successful symbiosis, becoming part of the overall artwork.
Afterward, the phase of motif discovery and design begins, starting with numerous small, quick sketches, followed by to-scale designs, wall projections, and models.
The duration of a project varies, depending on its scale and theme, ranging from a day to several months.
What are often the biggest challenges?
Let's not talk about the whims of the weather and the adherence to schedules by preceding trades (unless you're painting in Switzerland).
What has been your biggest/most beautiful project so far?
The largest project thus far was the Anne-Sofien-Höfe in Langen. We adorned 9 residential blocks with abstracted ascending floral forms and stylized skies. As eye-catchers – and to help residents identify their homes – each gable end received a large naturalistically painted butterfly. The total facade area is nearly 10,000 square meters, and we had a fantastic team of freelance artists and interns, working on the wall for several months.
My most beautiful project is always the one I'm currently working on because that's when I'm fully immersed with love and dedication.
What has been the most significant challenge so far? Are there moments when you sometimes wish for a different profession?
Every project presents a challenge, always unique – but in the end, everything turns out well! At no point have I ever wished for a different occupation, although I could certainly do without certain taxing aspects (such as budgeting, accounting, and taxes).
How does it feel when a piece of artwork is completed?
Joy and, of course, a sense of pride ;-)
What would your dream project look like if you could wish for one?
Life constantly presents me with such exciting projects that I can't imagine anything better. However, I would also wish (as I age) to create creative and magnificent design concepts for new and old architectures, which would then be implemented by painting companies.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love embracing new challenges with each project, delving deeply into ever-changing themes and requirements, constantly learning, and thereby immersing myself in areas that would otherwise remain unknown to me. Public art can have a profound social impact. It not only enhances individual structures but can also influence the image of entire areas. It's a great joy to witness how residents identify with "their" buildings and treat them with respectful care. Additionally, skillful mural painting serves as effective graffiti protection.
Leaving a lasting impression in the public sphere is a fantastic feeling. I'm deeply grateful for the abundance of praise and recognition received during and after the completion of a project.
What excites you about our paints?
When a competitor's field representative is amazed that the facade painting on the sunny side of my studio still shines in such vibrant colors after more than 20 years!
What is your favorite KEIM product?
For exterior applications, we exclusively use KEIM products. With the appropriate primer, we even apply them to unconventional surfaces like metal. Choosing a favorite product is challenging since we usually use various ones. Of course, KEIM Soldalit stands out, as it allows us to transform facades previously coated with organic paints. KEIM Soldalit-Coolit is crucial as facades are increasingly thermally insulated. Occasionally, we also turn to KEIM Granital for certain color tones that only it can achieve. The Design Glazes are indispensable for creative play, and the environmentally cleansing KEIM Soldalit-ME is absolutely contemporary.