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Novo Painting

Seattle, WA

The Art of Painting for Art

Prepping in an art museum requires careful maneuvering.

Imagine an art museum with a really bad paint job – everyone would be a critic, and it would send the wrong message about how the museum took care of its installations. Novo Painting has had a long tenure with the Seattle Asian Art Museum at Volunteer Park, and recently completed a project as part of its $56 million renovation. “Our relationship with the museum goes back almost 10 years, and we serve their three locations,” said company owner Cole Palea. It’s this longtime relationship, and watching the museum grow and change over time, that added an extra level of excitement to helping facilitate the renovation.

“Our work took place during a transition, as the museum’s team prepared the galleries for the exhibitions,” said Palea. “Balancing a delicate environment with the rules of the museum, especially when art was present, created specific challenges to the preparation of surfaces and application of product.” The most challenging part of the job, he said, was balancing the requirements of painting in a finished new museum with sensitive systems already in place. “We worked closely with the museum team on finish expectations, given the multiple angles of light and restrictions on the multiple rounds of filling and sanding, priming and spray finish that the 100 foot show piece deserved,” he said.

Along with painting skill, the job required clear communications and flexibility, and here Palea’s longtime relationship with the museum came into play. “This project required us to collaborate with them on expected outcomes and limitations,” he said.

His relationship with his local paint dealer also helped – as you can imagine, a museum can get picky over color. “Over the years, we’ve worked closely with Mallory Paint, our local Benjamin Moore dealer, and our clients to ensure that the paints we use meet their color accuracy and true zero VOC properties for art conservation. All of our paints used go through an approval process with the art conservation department.”

Included in their project was painting the platforms, casework and built-in shelving throughout the exhibition halls. “Another painting contractor should receive credit for the larger project, along with the general contractor who renovated the museum,” Palea acknowledged.

Cole and crew enjoy the working environment because there’s always something new to see. “I’m always learning new things about art,” he said. “We hardly ever work in the same room as the art, but every time we work on an exhibition it offers us a chance to immerse ourselves into the art and artist.

The Seattle Asian Art Museum.   Getting it ready for the art installation.

Key Products

  • Benjamin Moore UltraSpec Flat