Brian Druckenmiller, a Montoursville native, has always been interested in art. "It's something I've dedicated my life to since I was a child, always exploring new ideas and methods," Druckenmiller said. "I began painting houses and other side projects before moving overseas for quite some time, but my art and drawing were always present and I continued growing as an artist."
Druckenmiller took his experience of living in abroad in the Middle East and Africa and used it to fuel his art and start a business. "I started painting murals when I moved back home," Druckenmiller said. "A dear friend of mine asked me to paint a jungle theme for his son's nursery. I realized then, since many of my friends were having children, that perhaps nurseries was a good place to start a business."
After getting positive feedback about his nursery paintings, Druckenmiller decided to start his own mural company, Good For Something Murals.
Artist Brian Druckenmiller is seen with a mural that he painted for a friend’s nursery. Druckenmiller recently was commissioned to paint a mural at the Holiday Inn at 100 Pine St.
"Good For Something Murals is a name I decided to use based on the idea of providing aid for the orphans at the Royal Seed Home in Ghana," Druckenmiller said. "Last year, I had the privilege of traveling to various regions of Africa. Ghana was one I developed close ties with. I heard about an orphanage there and after several weeks caring for the children, I felt a strong relationship with the children and the remarkable, dedicated staff. The projects I have completed so far have helped fund a little bit of their needs, such as food and clothing."
According to Druckenmiller, 5 percent of the proceeds from every one of his commissioned murals or purchased artworks will go directly to the Royal Seed Home and School in Odupong Ofakour, Ghana. The home, which has 126 children in its care, provides housing, meals, medical treatment and education for orphans.
"Hopefully my artwork is good for something -helping care for children - if never inspiring, recognized or admired," Druckenmiller said.
Druckenmiller's latest mural project - which he called "slightly over halfway finished" - will grace the interior of the Holiday Inn, 100 Pine St. The mural will cover the walls of the employee hallway, a space which hotel staff pass through every day.
Druckenmiller was commissioned by Holiday Inn managers Jennifer Locey and Heidi Engel to paint the mural.
"They wanted to do something unique for the hotel, something to stand out among the other Holiday Inn hotels that are currently using semi-basic and standard ideas," Druckenmiller said. " I'm thrilled they are doing it, and I'm even more thrilled that they approached me. I think it's great they wanted to do something unique."
Druckenmiller said it's usually a collaborative effort to pick the subject of the mural. "It's basically picking people's brains for a while, gathering ideas and thoughts and then getting it on paper for them to see," he said. "I'm constantly sketching and drawing, so for me to make a quick sketch here and there, based on their ideas, is no problem. Ideas are the foundation ... everything else builds from that. Once a common theme is reached and agreed, I dive in and try my best to get it right - to get what they imagined."
The subject of Druckenmiller's Holiday Inn mural, which was chosen by hotel management, is a combination of past and present. "It's more or less a history piece that signifies the old and the new of the Holiday Inn with some up-to-date concepts and themes dedicated to the staff," Druckenmiller explained. It's rare enough for an international hotel franchise (or any corporation, really) to invest in visual art. It's even rarer, though, for a corporation to invest in art not for its customers, but for its employees.
"I've seen the way the management is towards their employees and it's very refreshing to see such great respect and enthusiasm throughout the working atmosphere," Druckenmiller said. "Jennifer and Heidi are very sweet and have been extremely patient and cooperative during the mural process. I am pleased to work with them."
Druckenmiller said he hopes his mural will have an impact on the daily lives of the Holiday Inn staff. "Art is what you want it to be: beautiful, painful, emotional in all kinds of ways," Druckenmiller said. "Some send messages, some tell stories. For me, they are also challenges and I love a good challenge. I love capturing a concept and showing it big and bright, for all to see. There's a power in that; to create something."
Aside from mural-making, Druckenmiller is involved in a number of other artistic projects. "I'm currently working on some canvas pieces and other freelance projects," he said. "I like to tackle just about anything I can.
"I take my artistic ability very seriously," Druckenmiller said. "I often think that if I didn't have it, I'd be lost for good. Painting murals is more than a business to me, it's something very personal."
For more information about Druckenmiller's work, visit goodforsome thingmurals.com.