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Artful endeavor

BY KIM DAME Hernando Today correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: April 3, 2013 at 11:15 AM

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Joe Murrell is an artist with passion. His earliest memories are tied to some creative piece he whipped out, either as a sketch or a painting or a rendition of something he had seen — actual or in his mind.

He knew he had a talent most didn’t share. And he’d received enough encouragement through the years to believe he could pursue his art at a higher level, beyond personal fulfillment. But he was reluctant, as are many who walk a creative path, to bridle his passion with the superficial need to make money.

As part of a team with his brother, Bob, M&M Media Creations is now a viable custom art business that focuses on a well-rounded business projection. “We do custom artwork, advertising media and website development,” Joe said.

Creative talent runs in the Murrell family. Yet it was spread out a bit, focusing fine art on Joe and computer art on Bob. The result is the perfect combination.

“I am left-handed, and he’s right-handed,” Bob said with a bit of a silly smirk. And they genuinely like each other, speak in similar soft tones and share the same passion for creating works of art that get noticed.

“Our mom said we were synergetic,” Joe said. He pointed to a poster on the wall that displayed their company logo. “I had this idea,” he explained. “I love the city so I wanted to create a poster that had to do with the city. And that’s what Bob came up with.”

Though they’ve known each other their entire lives, both seem equally surprised that they complement one other’s talent so well.

Joe was the initiator behind the business, that began inside his garage as a part-time hobby. “M&M Garage Productions,” he reminisced. They got busy tinkering with ideas that centered on custom creative art, from pencil sketching and watercolor paintings to graphic logos, photography and videography.

And Joe took it a step further, prompted his brother to think broader and opened the art studio in the office complex on Sunshine Grove Road.

“I finally decided to take a chance,” said Joe, who dove into the creative design business in August. They opened the impressive office/studio and decided they would build the business to meet customers’ demands.

The turning point came when they realized custom art might be the best way to engage in their shared passions without risking the salability of their work.

“I’d rather someone come to me with an idea of something they cannot find to put on their wall,” Joe said, rather than create first and hope he can find a buyer. As a result, everything is custom and one of a kind.

His goal, Joe explained, is to work toward reaching the kind of reward that stays with you. “Money you’re going to spend,” he said. “What stays with you is the expression on someone’s face.”

Joe has been creating and selling his art since he was 18. But it was only recently that he decided to market his ability as an established business. By merging his unique talents with that of his brother’s, a perfect idea grew into a business plan.

From custom business cards, brochures, and complete website construction and hosting, the computer graphics side of M&M Media Creations is all inclusive. Bob’s background is in computers with a degree in computer networking and technology. “I do anything having to do with computers, whether it is hardware or software,” he said.

But creating art is his passion, he said. Manipulating simple images into breathtaking scenes that blend well into posters, business cards or any other marketing piece designed to get a business noticed is what fuels his fervor.

And Joe works on the fine art side, drafting portraits, canvases, and wall art with detail that impacts and impresses. The studio is decorated with his work, from graphite sketches to artistic portraits of images from their past.

The Murrell brothers combine their talents by creating quality, state-of-the-art marketing tools like full production television commercials. They recently created one for a local car dealership, Vans Cars & Trucks, which incorporated the videographer talent from Joe and the computer editing skills from Bob.

Each completed product becomes the property of the client. “We don’t hold anything hostage when we work with art,” Bob said.

For example, a photography job performed by M&M Media Creations will produce every image taken on a storage device, without watermarks. Consequently, all work that is created for a customer, from graphic logos to pencil and graphite sketches, becomes the property of the client.

M&M also offers financing and creative payment plans for jobs they render. Having been at the bottom working their way up, the two brothers understand the economy is still rebounding. “We just want to make it as easy as possible on our clients,” Joe said. The spectrum from which M&M Media Creations works is broad and best determined from a face to face consultation with each client. The Murrells have substantial samples of their work and testimonials from very happy customers.

Like Randi Rom, owner of Magickal Soul Jewelry, who had her website and subsequent marketing materials saved from a botched job done by another company. Bob Murrell took over what should have involved a few quick-fix remedies but turned into a reconstruction from nearly the ground up.

Rom, a Spiritual Alchemist whose website is the core of her business, was dead in the water until Bob Murrell came in.

“Bob took on this project like a tenacious little bulldog,” Rom said. “He was only supposed to fix it but had to almost rebuild the entire thing from scratch. And he did not stop until it was done.”

Hernando Today correspondent Kim Dame can be reached at

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