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By The Light of 'Illume'

Crush Creative is a leading light in the production of Red Bull's Illume Image Quest photography com


By Clare Baker

Leo English, director of themed environments for Sparks explains further, "They were traditional backlit graphics, but35only traditional in the method. The graphics had to be created as pieces of art so there was exceptional scrutiny applied to each one to ensure that we maintained the artists’ view, that the color matches did not shift, and that it was a true representation of the photograph." Overall, the feedback from the proofing session was very positive. Out of the 50 images, only five needed to be reprinted for the final exhibit.

Crush also produced six story towers for the exhibit. The four-sided towers stood 4-ft wide x 8-ft tall and provided background information on the competition, including the story and origins of the project and an explanation of the various categories for image submission. These graphics were printed on an Inca Eagle H with UV inks onto 3/16-in. Lexan. Velcro was placed on the back of the panels to allow for them to be mounted to the towers. The towers were then lit from the inside.

Glowing the distance
The tour locations were selected for their "dynamic settings that would best suit the context and environment of the photos as well as the uniqueness of the display cubes," says Ryan Snyder, athlete media relations manager at Red Bull. The first stop was Aspen Mountain,which certainly put the durability of the design to the test.

Over a period of 6 days, an installation crew of six to eight people from One L. Productions and Sparks used snowcats to haul the cubes a half mile up Aspen Mountain to the installation site. The crew built and then arranged the cubes on five snow tiers that had been carved out of the mountain, measuring 125-ftwide x 75-ft tall. Additionally, stairs were installed that were connected to each of the snow platforms as well as to the gondola that brought visitors up to the exhibit. To add to the difficulty of the job, the installation had to be performed at night in average temperatures of -5? (because the active ski slopes would be occupied during the day).

The finished exhibit was unveiled in January at the opening ceremony on Aspen Mountain and continued through the first week of February. Judges, action sport athletes, and exhibition photograph ers were present as the top category winners as well as the Athletes’ Choice Award and the Illume Image of the Year were announced. The People’s Choice winning photograph, which can be voted for online and at the exhibit sites, will be announced at the end of the North American tour.

In a departure from the snowcapped hills of Aspen, the exhibit (www.redbullillume.com) will next be on display in Huntington Beach, CA, in June 2007. From there, the exhibit will travel to the streets of downtown Portland, OR, in August for the final leg of the US tour. One L. Productions is currently scouting out the international locations the exhibit will visit in 2008. Red Bull plans to resume the Illume Image Quest competition in 2008 andto launch the next tour in 2009. And while figuring out how to top a half-mile-high exhibit illuminated on an active ski slope might require a few sleepless nights hopped up on the company’s signature drink, you can bet Red Bull will find a way.

Clare Baker is assistant editor of The Big Picture magazine.


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