'Props' for the Printers
Snoop Dogg’s imagination runs wild with 17 wall murals from Gamut Media.
When Phillip Yu started Gamut Media (Brea, California) in his parents’ garage in 2009 with a Roland inkjet printer, a couple of PCs, and a friend, he never imagined he’d be producing 10,000 square feet of graphics for Snoop Dogg’s private recording studio just six years later.
The job of a lifetime began when the contractor working on a local tattoo parlor saw Gamut’s custom print work on the shop’s walls. He also happened to be working on the renovation for the rap icon’s 30,000-square-foot domain and thought Gamut could be a perfect fit.
Soon the shop was designing and installing a custom UCLA mural for Snoop’s son, who had been offered a spot on UCLA’s football team and has his own personal room in the complex.
“We put that up and they loved it, and they just kept wanting more and more wall murals,” says Yu. “More and more” eventually translated into 17 murals, earning Gamut an SGIA Golden Image award, countless celebrity sightings, and the approval of one of rap’s most legendary figures.
“For [Snoop] to say he loved our work, to say, ‘You guys are amazing,’ giving us props – it was the best thing in the world,” Yu says.
The project was a chance for the team to flex their creativity because Snoop’s ideas were wild and abstract, and “he gave us the freedom,” according to Yu. “He totally liked my style.”
After the UCLA mural, the second venture was to turn the hallway leading up to the recording studio – designed to look like the bridge of a starship – into an epic setting from outer space. “He wanted a scene where all of these spaceships were gathering to do battle, like something crazy was about to happen. He wanted it busy and all over the place,” Yu says.
Later created were graphics for the complex’s basketball court, finished with Oraguard 210 matte laminate for added protection; an arcade room, including a vinyl-wrapped skeeball game; a “homie” wall featuring recording artist Wiz Khalifa; and the Golden Image award-winning casino room. Each of the four walls in the “casino” features a unique design – tributes to classic Las Vegas gangsters, the “Goodfellas” and “Godfather” movies, and a balcony view of Sin City – all tied together with stylized tints of Snoop’s favorite color, blue.
Each mural was printed on Orajet 3169RA vinyl with the shop’s Roland VS-640 printer/cutter. In total, the team spent nine months in and out of the compound. With a team of three installers, they could usually knock out one wall per day. Yu says Snoop Dogg’s wife’s dance studio was perhaps the trickiest installation, with a 30-foot-wide wall reaching roughly 20 feet in height, as well as a number of railings and wood paneling to work around. The graphics, which were redesigned for better resolution, feature his wife’s favorite dancers: Michael and Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, and Jennifer Lopez.
While the project was a nice contrast from the typical clean and simple work they do for restaurants and other corporate clients, Gamut markets itself as a young and trendy company no matter the venue.
“We know what’s in and what people are looking for,” says Tony Nguyen, COO. And both Nguyen and Yu agree that wall murals are currently topping the trend list. “Everyone is trying to step away from getting simple pictures or canvas or just hanging up a poster,” Nguyen says.
“Wall murals have an impact: When you walk in, it totally changes the mood of the room,” Yu adds.
The team also stresses the importance of having both an online portfolio and a crafted presence on social media. “[Wall murals] can be hard to explain,” says Yu, “but when [clients] see the pictures, they want to do it for themselves.”
And while being on trend and online may not guarantee a superstar job like this one, it’s an excellent example to follow.
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