Britten Banners works with artist Revere La Noue to create a massive mascot building wrap for Western Michigan University.
The Job: Artist Revere La Noue has dedicated the last three years to producing fine-art prints depicting the rich history and tradition of some of the nation’s most prominent collegiate mascots. In conjunction with the Grand Rapids, Michigan ArtPrize competition – which invites artists worldwide to submit their work to be displayed throughout the downtown area – Western Michigan University (WMU) invited La Noue to use its Graduate Development building as his canvas. La Noue chose to portray WMU’s mascot, the Bronco in large-scale.
First, La Noue met with more than 200 WMU faculty, alum, and students to ask what it means to be a Bronco. Coupled with these notes, La Noue researched the evolution of horses to develop an image that would serve the WMU fan base: a herd of wild horses thundering across the mural. Using acrylics, watercolors, charcoals, and pencils on paper, he created several original works of art, then digitized these with an Epson 1000XL scanner. In Photoshop he pulled these images together to create one cohesive artwork.
With the art finalized, WMU contacted its long-time print provider Britten Banners of Traverse City Michigan for output.
The Production: The combined after-effects of Hurricane Irene and an earthquake in late August prohibited anyone from scaling the WMU facility for measurement, so initial files were created based on estimated building dimensions. La Noue supplied Britten Banners with a 32-dpi art file and the shop used Photoshop to enlarge the high-resolution image. Britten then printed and shipped a 7 x 12-foot proof on mesh to La Noue for approval. “I hung it on my house to see what details were visible and what details were not,” says La Noue. “It was then that I realized I was going to need to make my artwork much smaller to ensure that the brushstrokes could be seen.”
The trouble didn’t end there: Three days before deadline, La Noue discovered that the estimated building dimensions were actually off by 1600 square feet. But, La Noue was able to drastically manipulate his artwork to solve the issue.
With the stressful prepress process complete, Britten took to its HP Scitex XL1500 with Onyx RIP, outputting La Noue’s artwork onto Ultraflex UltraMesh. To finish, the shop sewed 3-inch webbing on the top and bottom of the banner with grommets every 16 inches.
To install the 41 x 160-foot mural, which would wrap two sides of the building, Britten utilized its BannerBar as the infrastructure to hold the banner from the top and bottom. “We also had to build out the corner of the building to create a 90-degree angle,” says Britten’s Kaitlyn Burns. And to hide the wall mural until its unveiling date, a nylon cover, hand painted with the words “Epic Unveil,” was installed. Bronco Epic debuted in front of an audience of more than 200 during an ArtPrize gala. La Noue also makes 16 x 20-inch gicleé prints of the artwork available on his website.
The Client: Western Michigan University
The Player: Revere La Noue (mascotgallery.com), Britten Banners (brittenbanners.com)
Tools & Supplies: HP Scitex XL1500 5M, Onyx RIP, Ultraflex UltraMesh, Epson 1000XL scanner