Luckily, what the client wanted wasn’t what I prepared to pitch them. I showed them photos of cheesy, smiley teenagers and existing Invisalign advertising materials. I was relieved from the start to hear they wanted something completely different. I’m so happy that my clients feel open enough to be honest about exactly what they want or require from me as an artist.
After some thought, they decided they wanted a cool Bart Simpson and this particular Invisalign ad, framing the text. I proposed that we add rainbow braces into this mix as a cool frame, and drawing more attention to it. I wasn’t prepared, and I’m sure they appreciated saving this cost, to travel back and forth several times to Santa Cruz. So this portion of the project was quite detailed in its planning.
We handled it all over e-mail. I totally appreciated having the approval of art portion in writing, though electronic. It means everyone is clear about the expectations and that ensures that the client will be happy at the end.
I pitched the client several different versions of Bart Simpson in our negotiations. They picked their favorite pose and then I made it 20% different. Then, we tried Bart Simpson in different colors. The likeness is still so close that you recognize him instantly. I’ve played with his body portions, number of spikes in his hair and added braces per the customer’s requirements.
In the process, I tried the chosen graphics with various different colored, bright backgrounds. I created over 50 proofs with a wide variety of font choices and in a lot of different layouts options and placements. This made it so easy to decide for the client. This process didn’t take more than a couple days for the client to decide. Going back and forth via electronic mail, I sent them a new look every time, but only my favorites. This is just a sliver of a sampling of the proofs we went through.
The last of our face-to-face negotiations, we sat in his lobby, opened my laptop and clicked through fonts for the center text. With that having been decided, we signed of our contract.
Here’s what the client decided on. A bright, lime green background and a bright blue and red writing. The Bart is wearing a red shirt and blue shorts. These colors are eye-catching and create all kinds of contrast. The Bart Simpson add the cool factor for the teenagers at the school down the street. The Invisalign logo is clean and clear. The rainbow braces really make the sign pop. In the end, I really liked that they chose a green. It’s different and neutral.
This project was on Mission Street in Santa Cruz, California. It’s a busy, well traveled path on the way to UCSC. It’s down the street from a high school and it’s Santa Cruz, so there are pedestrians of every kind. It felt a little like being on display. Trucks honked. Buses flow by constantly. Traffic backs up. People walk by and stare. People stopped to talk. It was fun, but I was so happy I brought my caution tape and my headphones.
After prepping the area, I measured and blocked out the Invisalign advertisement portion. After rolling the wall green, I had my images reproduced at the required sizes and transferred them on to the wall. Now, it’s a giant coloring book page that needs to be painted in.
High School students who had seen me start my mural in the morning with bright green saw me that afternoon while I was taking picture and they offered to take pictures of me with my new painting.
This was a two day project. I still had braces, Invisalign ad, and outlines to get up there, which seems like the smallest area of the whole project but can take the most time to get perfect.
Before I tore off the tape, I got the approval from my clients and I sealed the painting. Nothing feels better than ripping tape off of the perimeter of a painting. We had happy campers at the closing and a check.
Over the years, the lime green background and colors of the mural have held up really well. It’s had two instances of vandalism, but I think that’s to be expected as there’s a high school a block away and plenty of vagrants roaming Santa Cruz. I’ve had to touch it up once, but my clients were so pleased with this project, they’re now considering an update with yours truly.