Signs of the Times - August 2013 - (Page 24)

STRICTLY ELECTRIC Wesleann is a project manager for Ion Art (Austin, TX). By Wesleann Polkowshe The Bunny’s Tale Austin, TX’s Ion Art reenergizes an iconic brand with an illuminated pole sign. Our company hasdeveloping signbuilt a solid reputation around age as functional art. If a sign is designed well enough, it fulfills its primary function of advertising a business, while being viewed as artistic by the public. To us, no project reaffirms this belief better than our most recent undertaking, a 40-ft.-tall, steel-and-neon Playboy Bunny sculpture that we installed just outside of Marfa, TX, near the Mexican border. Playboy Enterprises’ Neville Wakefield, its creative director for special projects, approached us with a project. They wanted to re-energize their alignment with the art world, and connect with younger audiences. We welcomed the Marfa Playboy sign as an opportunity to design and fabricate a large-scale pylon that would also be regarded as a sculpture. Typically, businesses buy signs out of necessity, and rationalize the Situated in the high desert of far West Texas, Marfa is a town of approximately 2,000 that meshes traditional ranchers with a new influx of artists and hipsters. Ion Art’s (Austin, TX) illuminated Playboy bunny, which was installed for a Playboy Magazine cover shot and intended to remain for a year, provides an interesting mix of art and signage that fits such an eclectic town. 24 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / AUGUST 2013 / costs as advertising. However, art is generally perceived as a non-essential that, at least on paper, does little to add to a business’ bottom line. Thus, most businesses are reluctant to make a large-scale investment in an artistic sculpture. We appreciate that Playboy agrees with our core belief that high-quality pieces may represent signage and art. Design and permits Accepting the project brought interesting challenges. The design itself created significant construction and engineering questions. Originally, the bunny head was going to be a 20-ft.-tall cabinet sign that sat atop a 20-ft. pole. Every signmaker knows that when you build a freestanding pole sign, the pole goes vertically through the entire sign cabinet. This helps give the sign the strength to withstand catastrophic wind loads. However, after our designer, Ky Williams, had progressed through several design stages with Adobe® Illustrator®, her final creation simply comprised the bunny head as an outline. The pole would’ve stopped at the sign’s base, which would rob the bunny head of its backbone. To avoid this, we built the outline as a double-walled I-beam, which gave the structure the support it would need. Originally, we wanted to build the outline 3 in. thick and 12 in. deep, but, to approve the design, our engineer, Bill Balzen, asked that we make the structure 3 in. thick and 16 in. deep. Building the sign as an outline greatly reduced the surface area, and sidestepped the 105-mph, wind-load requirement a solid-face sign would’ve stipulated. This enabled us to reduce both the pole’s diameter, and the pier’s diameter and depth. Our next hurdle? An installation permit. Playboy had leased private

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - August 2013

Signs of the Times - August 2013
ST Update
Technology Update
Cloud-based signshop software
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Electric
LED Update
Software Update
Technology Review - Esko Kongsberg XN finishing system
Technology Review - Gerber Edge seminars
Sign Museum News
New Products
Standing Their Ground
Commercial-Sign Company 1 on 1’s
Dynamic Displays at LAX
Advertising index
Editorially speaking

Signs of the Times - August 2013