Ardon wraps vehicles for Cambridge Arts Council
By Steve Aust
3M™ (St. Paul, MN) collaborated with multimedia artists and a vinyl-wrap provider to help develop Project Move Me, a unique, vehicle-wrap campaign that participants hope will engage viewers in several societal themes. Project Move Me was originally the brainchild of artist Roberta Paul, who traveled the Serengeti Plain in Tanzania. Her experience of watching animals’ movement without concerns of boundaries or borders inspired her to develop Project Move Me as an interactive, public-art piece that appears at the Cambridge (MA) Arts Council from April 2 to June 15.
According to project curator Beth Kantrowitz, who worked with the Cambridge Arts Council to com-
mission the exhibit, Project Move Me addresses “immigration, national identity and life transitions through the metaphor of animal migration. Animals run free without any concern of borders and barriers, but, we, as people, are very aware of boundaries, whether real or imagined.” Paul developed the artwork as hand-drawn ink sketches before scanning and digitizing her work. She collaborated with Ardon Vinyl’s (Boston) designers to conform her original sketches within Pro Vehicle Outlines’ vehicle-template software.
Kantrowitz said, “As we discussed the details of the show, [Paul] had the idea that the gallery ‘walls’ could extend to the streets of Cambridge, and, with wraps, bring the exhibit to more of the public.”
The Council referred Paul and Kantrowitz to Ardon Vinyl to wrap a diverse, 12-vehicle fleet: four vans, three box trucks, and one Ford Escape, MINI Cooper, Toyota Prius, Subaru Outback and Ford Transit Connect work truck. The different vehicle sizes correspond with the sizes of different animal species.
Kantrowitz provided JPEGs of Paul’s work, which Ardon’s design team converted to vector art using Adobe® Illustrator®, and then to .EPS files. To prep the vehicles’ surfaces for graphic application, installers applied 3M’s Prep Solvent 70.
Ardon Vinyl produced the wraps using 3M’s 1080-10M air-release, cast, vehicle-wrap media (3M donated the media). The shop decorated it on a Roland SolJet Pro III XC-540 printer with Eco-Sol MAXX inks. To convey Paul’s website and contact info, the shop plotter-cut black 3M vinyl graphics decorated on a Graphtec FC7000MK-2 cutting plotter.
After having prepped the vehicles’ surfaces with 3M’s Primer 94 body filler, Ardon’s installers applied the wraps using 3M Gold nylon and MACtac felt squeegees, variable-temperature heat guns, 3M Roller L and S vinyl-application rollers, and 3M’s V-CAT 2 vehicle-channel applicator. Ardon also produced an 8 x 12-ft., wall graphic to promote Project Move Me, which was installed near the Council entrance.
“To use anything besides air-release vinyl, especially for a large fleet campaign like this, is simply archaic,” Ardon Vinyl’s Taylor Campbell said. “The Transit Connect work truck was taller than many vehicles we work on, and has a lot of corrugations, so it required a little more time and skill to install, but the rest were pretty standard applications.”
Kantrowitz mobilized the wraps on Cambridge streets on April 27. That night, the assembled vehicles traversed Cambridge’s diverse neighborhoods, she said, “to create a community dialogue about borders and barriers. There are several ‘dividing lines’ in Cambridge, such as between ethnic groups and affluent and working-class neighborhoods. We routed the vans so they would be seen by all of Cambridge’s diverse community.”
The vehicle-wrap campaign continued for three weeks thereafter. Kantrowitz said, “The amount of attention we received on the street has been remarkable. We’d park, and people on the street would immediately come up to us. We had several of the vehicles parked together in a parking lot – a watering hole, I call it – and we drew quite a crowd.”
“Vehicle wraps offer a compelling, cost-effective branding solution that’s accessible for almost any customer,” Campbell said. “Their use for such a unique art project is a prime example of the wrap market’s vitality.”
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