Back to the Wall is the New Zealand based design studio of Relda Frogley and Joanne Gray, who have been producing stunning mural wallpapers since 2013.
Our passion and vision is driven by a love for design and backed up by over 30 years in the printing industry. All our papers are printed by us onsite so we have complete control of the product from start to finish.
Our main mission:
When your Back to the Wall mural is hung we want you to stand back and say... WOW - I absolutely love it!!
Q: What’s your background and how does it relate to wallpaper & murals?
Jo: We both have a background in the print industry, Relda started out as a colour stripper moving on to manage the print for one of Australia's most famous photographers. My background was similar I did an apprenticeship as a photolithographer and with the rapid change in technology found myself as a Mac operator specialising in retouching.
We both have a passion for design and interiors. It’s something innate it’s the way you are, you either have an eye and a passion for design or you don’t. The skills we both have from our careers so far have led us to be designers of wallpaper that’s certainly not something that we set out or planned to do but it’s a perfect fit.
Q: When did you start Back to The Wall and how did it come about?
Jo: A few years ago an opportunity came up which was a perfect fit for us. Utilising both of our expertise in the print and our passion for interiors and design. And so here we are designing and printing mural wallpapers.
Q: How did the both of you meet?
Jo: Relda actually hired me all those years ago to do some contract retouching and we have been working together ever since.
Q: How long have you been in business?
Jo: Approx. 5 years
Q: How does your product and service differ from your competitors?
Jo: Where we differ from our competitors is in the service we provide. When ordering, most people are slightly apprehensive or worried about giving the wrong measurements or getting it wrong. We guide them through this process. Then we take this a step further by giving the option for customers to customise a design to suit their particular wall or colour scheme.
Q: What do you most love about your work?
Jo: We love the feedback we get from our clients who already excited about the product are really blown away with the final result. Our favourite part is receiving the photos of installs seeing the murals in their intended spaces.
We are constantly designing and adding to our mural collection and we’re loving the freedom to just come up with our own designs based on what’s happening with current trends . We’ve met so many amazing people through our business new clients and other designers, we love this interaction and the collaboration that naturally comes about from this.
Q: What is the most challenging aspects of your work?
Jo: Sometimes just extracting the information out from our customers because we know the product and the process of installation we are usually a step ahead and so often are asking questions of our clients that they haven’t thought of.
Q: What do customers need help with the most?
Jo: I think customers sometimes don't understand that most of our designs can be adjusted to suit different wall formats. We usually set the designs up to a standard wall size of approximately 4m x 2.5m but if a client has a narrow wall then most designs can be changed to suit. Most other mural suppliers don’t offer this option. Sometimes it’s just the confidence to say "yeah we think what you have chosen is going to look perfect." And encouraging them to go with what they love!
Q: What material do you print on?
Jo: We print on a prepasted pvc free wallpaper stock.
Customers are requiring compliance with legal regulations including documented proof that environmental standards are met so it’s important to our business and brand that we are supplying this for our customers.
The water-based Latex Inks we use offer a healthier solution from the studio to the customer’s wall and the recycling of consumables. Our Inks meet a range of stringent human health criteria represented by UL ECOLOGO® and GREENGUARD GOLD Certifications.5 ,6. In addition, our murals use Latex Inks on PVC-free Wall Paper and meet AgBB criteria for health-related evaluation of VOC emissions of indoor building products.7 These prints are rated A+ (very low-emission)
It is really easy to install and a lot of our customers feel confident to hang it themselves following the detailed instructions we supply. However some prefer to get a professional wallpaper installer to do this for them.
Q: Where do the designs come from?
Jo: Well, everywhere now. Since we started Back to the Wall it’s really opened our eyes to what is around us. The camera is always on hand adding to our own stock library of photographs that we can use in our designs.
We’re always on the lookout for textures, surfaces, flowers foliage. Anything that can be incorporated into one of our designs. We also love some of the beautiful old historical paintings and these are often included in our designs or are the inspiration for a new idea. They are often dark and moody with amazing layers of texture just so beautiful!
The design process is the fun part, the initial spark of an idea! Being inspired by something and working on the creation of that but also letting that evolve. We are constantly designing and adding to our mural collection and so we have the freedom to let designs simmer away or let them change from their infancy into something quite different.
We’ve met so many amazing people through our business new clients and other designers, we love this interaction and the collaboration that naturally comes about from this.
Q: How can customers get additional customisation on prints?
Jo: When a client confirms an order with us, we then work with them to make sure it fits and suits their wall. Often they might have a particular colour in their interior scheme they want to tie in so we will adjust the design to suit.
We also move designs around to suit windows doors or furniture that may be in front of the mural. This is what we mean by customising. The client chooses an existing design and we make it work for their particular wall. For example a client recently ordered faded garland for her hallway. We are working on the design as it runs down both sides of the hall approximately 7metres long above a panelled wall. The garland is designed to go around and above doorways along each side.
Q: How did you come across the contributing artists?
Jo: From the beginning, we had discussed the possibility of having a contributing artists area. We wanted to add some diversity of choice for our customers but we knew we definitely didn’t want to offer your standard stock images that so many sites have.
We were first approached by Diana Watson who is an incredibly talented painter from Sydney to produce a selection of her paintings as wall murals so we thought we would test out the waters and see how it went. It’s still an area of the business that we are testing out and feeling our way with.
We now have two Auckland Photographers to add to the mix. Helen Bankers who we have known for many years produces some absolutely stunning still life images and we are really lucky to be able to offer a couple of her beautiful botanical images as murals.
Georgie Malyon who we were introduced to by an interior designer friend is such a talent combining her passion as a floral artist with photography and producing the most mysteriously beautiful works of art. So our customers really are spoilt for choice!
Q: What made you choose these artists?
Jo: We wanted to offer something different to the designs we were creating. We were looking to add value to our customers by offering them an opportunity to have a piece of art on their wall by a renowned artist or photographer. The contributing artists area is about recognising these artists and photographers and supporting what they do and giving them another outlet to showcase their art.
Q: Where is Back to the Wall based?
Jo: We are both from Auckland an our studio is based in Auckland but we send and ship our murals all around the country and internationally.
Q: To what countries have you sent your murals/paper?
Jo: All around the world from all across United States of America to the Ukraine. Fiji, Bali Australia.
Q: What are some of the most memorable pieces you created and why?Jo: We recently created a mural for the ceiling of newly refurbished manor house in England. The client wanted a Diana Watson painting and because of its size we combined two of her paintings to adorn the ceiling. It was 12m long by 6m wide and with a central chandelier.
“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.” - Monet