There and Back Again: A Welder's Tale

Lord of the Rings fans anyone? No? Either way, this week we are back up at Hoosier Park for a second installation piece you may recognize if you've used the casino entrance in the last week!  A while back we were commissioned to create a custom octagonal display case for seasonal giveaways.  Let's see how it turned out.

Expo_Blog_November_Octagon_Before.jpg

One thing that's really interesting about this piece is it's very user-friendly.  It splits into eight separate pieces for easy transportation and assembly.  Our welders also fabricated a custom carts that hold all the pieces for even easier installation. 

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The graphics, as seen above, are removable so our casino friends can change them in accordance to seasonal promotions. 

HoosierPark_Octagon_SeasonalGiveaway

Great job everyone. Remember to look for it on your next visit to Hoosier Park!

Posted on November 10, 2017 .

Clemente

This week we are proud to reveal our latest project, "Clemente" at Hoosier Park! Located in the High Limits room, this piece was created using acrylic and steel. 

If you want a recap of the preparation, check out our late blog post here:

Installation was a huge part of the process! Luckily our fabricators Tony and Grady took lots of pictures.

Expo_Design_Tony_HoosierPark

Great photo Tony!  Can we get a before and after?

Hoosier_Park_Highlimits

First, we built the bulkhead around the gap in the ceiling.  This helped hide our steel anchors on the inside, from their the decorative acrylic was attached accordingly. 

Hoosier_Park

There it is! Well done everybody. 

Posted on November 3, 2017 .

Purdue Photo Op

We are back in Lafayette visiting our friends at Purdue University!  This week we delivered four of our illustrations custom made to fit a Thanksgiving Theme: 

Purdue_PhotoOp

Each variation has a round cut-out for students to put their faces through, probably so students can take ridiculous pictures of each other and share accordingly.  For example, how about Grandma and Turkey?

Purdue_PhotoOp_Farm_to_Table

I can visualize a lot of opportunity to laugh with that one. Or perhaps Purdue Pete's future pork and turkey dinner?

Purdue_PhotoOp_PurduePete

Keep an eye out for more illustrations around campus! Enjoy!

Posted on October 20, 2017 .

Weekend Draft

Fall weather is here and it's time to enjoy it while it lasts! Ever have that feeling where you want to get out over the weekend, but you're not sure what to do? Indy Events can help you out! With a calendar of farmers markets, food trucks, museums, festivals, there is absolutely something for everyone! Indianapolis is an exciting city with diverse interests, we encourage everyone to take advantage of the local entertainment.

VisitIndy_Logo.jpg
Posted on October 13, 2017 .

ZooBoo Success

Halloween has arrived! This is exciting time to visit the Indianapolis Zoo for their ZooBoo event that we fabricated!  Join us in Indianapolis from 2-7PM for some creative family fun. 

Zoo_Pumpkin

You can find this friendly face near the aquatics dome!

Zoo_Pumpkin_sign

Does this guy look familiar? He should! Check out our past blog posts to watch him being made!

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There's lots to do in Pumpkin town, pictures with the mayor should be at the top of everyone's priority list.

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We encourage everyone to take advantage of the season and visit our friends at the Indianapolis Zoo while this event lasts! Our creations are all over the location.  Stay tuned for more pictures, photos, and videos!

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Posted on October 6, 2017 .

Cooking With Acrylic

Welcome back! This week our team has been working on an installation piece for Hoosier Park!  You might recognize it from our website banner above, but here's a picture of the whole sculpture:

Expo_Esteban_HoosierPark_Casino_Sculpture

As you can see, lots and lots of acrylic sheets are cut down into strips and placed carefully along a metal frame.  But how do we accomplish that swirled, party favor aesthetic? It all starts with a custom-made oven!

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Strips of acrylic are placed inside for about 45 minutes, then pulled out and placed around a mold to take it's shape. 

Don't they look like giant, wet noodles? Delicious. Here's a before and after shot, just for the full effect:

Acrylic_Strips_Sculpture
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Check in next week for a zoo update, watch all of our hard work (like this gumdrop featured below) come to life for this year's Indianapolis Zoo ZooBoo event!

Posted on September 29, 2017 .

Resin Tips/Tricks

Welcome back! Today I thought I'd share some knowledge I picked up from hanging out in the warehouse this week.  One benefit of working around a collaborative of artists is the wealth of information, for pretty much any medium you can think of.  Whether it's drawing, photography, design, painting, color theory, welding, carpentry, or fabrication, someone at Expo as the experience to share. 

Pouring resin can be tricky, I've tried it myself a few times and had little success. Resin is a sticky, flammable substance that dries transparent and is often used as a varnish.  But with some creativity, resin can be poured into molds and cast as all sorts of things.

In our case, resin is being used as a varnish to protect our lemur friend from the outdoor environment, but also to add fur texture to the carved foam.

Lola, our Production Manager, mentioned two things that are very important to a successful resin pour: 

1.)  Mix your ratio's carefully.  Much like baking, it's very important to measure out the exact amount that the directions calls for.

2.)  When pour your resin, don't scrape the edges.  While scraping is an integral part of mixing, it can ruin a good pour because the residue left on the sides may not be completely congealed, and could cause issues when drying.

I wish I had known this when using resin in college projects! Would've been very helpful.  Here is a video of our artist Susanna dry-brushing resin onto our lemur to create a "hairy" effect.

Posted on September 15, 2017 .

Fall Excitement

We're back, with a modge podge of updates!! We'll start off strong with our friend the DJ table.  We've been watching his progress from blueprint to finished product, so of course we had to share:

The kids are gonna love it!! Great job everyone! Fantastic photo creds - Grady

The kids are gonna love it!! Great job everyone! Fantastic photo creds - Grady

But that's not all!  The Indianapolis Zoo is in for a real "treat" (get it, Halloween, sorry not sorry).  Not only are we making progress on a matching cauldron for the upcoming holiday, but we have already begun preparations for Christmas decorations! 

Both creations have gone through the design and sculpting process.  As per usual, they began as simple blocks of styrofoam.  After sculpting and hardcoat (click to see corresponding blog post on "hardcoat" if you're curious) our pieces get all that yellow color sanded down.  Then they'll be ready to prime and paint.  Behold, our witch's cauldron and mistletoe lemur:

Expo_Zoo_Cauldron_Halloween
(Original sketch included at the top right)

(Original sketch included at the top right)

Awesome work to our artists, Emily, Tony, Grady, Lola, Josh, and Susanna.  Tune in next week to get more Halloween/Zoo updates, including this giant witch's hat!

Expo_Indianapolis_Zoo_Witch_Hat_WIP
Posted on September 8, 2017 .

Winter is Coming

I know, a tired joke, but it's that time of year again.  We don't have too many updates this week, but in the spirit of games we wanted to remind everyone of this weekend's local event, Meadful Things and Outciders!  

Mead_Fest_Indianapolis

September 2nd, join us on tenth street downtown to party like you're from House Baratheon (I'm on season 2, no spoilers people.) 

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Posted on September 1, 2017 .

Zoo Update

Today's theme is: process.

 

This week I was able to compile some photos of a prop for the Indianapolis Zoo.  Here we have the shop drawings of our DJ Table, which will be featured in the ZooBoo Halloween event.

Zoo_DJ_Booth

You'll see notations indicating a blacklight, lion face sculpture, and fog.  Lots of interacting parts, but nothing we can't handle.  Lets take a look at the next step:

Here you can see the blacklight and fog, up and running! Nice work Grady!  What about that lion head? and the feet detail?

Looking great! Can't wait to see how it turns out. Stay tuned!

Looking great! Can't wait to see how it turns out. Stay tuned!

Posted on August 25, 2017 .

Is it Autumn Yet?

We're ready for fall here at Expo!!  Especially with the upcoming events happening at the Indianapolis Zoo, including Zooboo! Join the zoo animals as they stretch their legs one last time before winter hits and enjoy the spooky atmosphere.  Because we plan on making it special!

Speaking of which, Emily has been working hard on one of our feature pumpkins which will be residing at the Zoo in the upcoming months.  Take a look!

See that foam block I circled in the corner? That's how are friend started out!  Our sculptors are fantastic.

See that foam block I circled in the corner? That's how are friend started out!  Our sculptors are fantastic.

Just like the frog from previous posts and many of our other props, this guy came to life.  Lots of careful planning and scraping, right Emily?  Apparently it requires shogun-level concentration, because I was able to sneak by and film the process:

Haha, didn't see that one coming!! GOT HER.

We have fun.

Frog_Paint

And of course, couldn't forget our friendly little kiosk that we've been following the last few weeks!! Here he is, primed and ready for paint.  

Here come those finishing touches, this is what's going to bring this big guy to life for all the little ones.  

Expo is also proud to welcome our newest member, Suzanna, to the team! That's one of the perks of being here, always new opportunities to meet talented artists.  Come and visit us during the week at 317.784.5610.

Posted on August 11, 2017 .

Happy Frogday

We're back! This time we wanted to show off another step here for our frog kiosk! 

As a reminder, here's an original sketch of our friend.  The Indianapolis Public Library has asked us to help create a "call-a-story" or a nook that kids can sit, relax, and listen.  As an effort to encourage kids to read, this kiosk will allow them to follow along in a book while listening to a recording of the book in tandem.

IMCPL_frog_library

Last week we saw Tony scrape away layers of foam to create the cylindrical face shape.  This week, the face and box got a layer of hardcoat spray, just like the Twin Towers from Purdue!

Nice and yellow.

Nice and yellow.

Just like our Purdue towers, Mr. Frog will get sanded down and slapped with a fresh coat of paint.  Stay tuned to watch our warehouse bring him to life.

Posted on August 4, 2017 .

State of Affairs

It's that time of year! State fair, aka fried food as far as the eye can see. And, as our artists know, graphics! Graphics everywhere!

Nice detail.

Nice detail.

I'd be shocked if any of you midwesterners had never heard of the state fair, seeing as local phenomenons are few and far between, but if you hadn't hit this link: State Fair

While throwing back that fried twinky or hanging on for dear life on an old amusment ride, try to keep an eye open for our calling cards:

That's us! Quality signage.

That's us! Quality signage.

Meanwhile, back on the farm, one of our favorite master craftsman Tony has been sculpting away at a fun "Frog Chair" for children.  This piece was handrawn, made into a blueprint, and now Tony is scraping away layers of foam to create the signature shapes.  Tune in later this week to watch the process!

Get it Tony!!

Get it Tony!!

Posted on August 1, 2017 .

Quick Update

It's Friday again! This week we are wrapping up the final touches on the archway commissioned by Purdue University.  This week, the challenge was to correctly size our metal arch /and/ the steel letters on the inside.

Whats going to make this arch fantastic? We want it to make this event memorable and special to all who attend.  Part of that magic is making sure the letters are spaced evenly throughout.  Sounds like a team effort!

Look at how helpful I am.  Thanks for carrying, Grady.

Look at how helpful I am.  Thanks for carrying, Grady.

Meanwhile, our hard-coated towers have made their way to our paint bay! Melissa and Lola have gotten a few coats on and just like that, CEMENT.  Our painters harness fine art techniques to bring foam texture to life.  Once they're finished, you'll never know that you're looking at a piece of carved foam.

Isn't that incredible?

Isn't that incredible?

Keep an eye open for our props at universities, state fairs, and parades near you!

Posted on July 28, 2017 .

Throwback Friday: Bison-tennial Art Project

Happy Friday everyone.  After rifiling through photos of past projects we've created at EXPO, I became excited to show off our growing portfolio.  Our talented crew has worked tirelessly to produce some really special projects, including this Bison and book statue which lives in the entrance of the Indianapolis Public Library.

IPL_Bison

We "hit the books hard" with this project (zing).  The Library already had the Bison statue but needed some sort of companion to make him look like he belonged.  

No problem! Instead of foam, this time we used bending birch wood to create the feel of an open book.  After a layer of hardcoat, the same spray used in the last blog post, informative graphics were printed on PSV and carefully displayed on the front.

IPL_book

Gorgeous.  If you're passing through the area, be sure to stop and say hi to the artwork and read a book.

Posted on July 21, 2017 .

Bringing the "Fun" to History

This week, we're revisiting an exciting project from our portfolio, The Indiana Historical Society.

When it comes to catching someone's attention, a little interaction can go a long way! As many of us right-minded individuals can verify, sometimes a block of text just won't cut it.  Sometimes in order to stay interested, you have to be included!

That's where EXPO steps in.  How about a few lights, some flashing colors? Now do we have your attention?

Thought so!

Thought so!

That's better!  Our design team has utilized basic principles of art such as shape, color, repetition, and rhythm to achieve impelling results that pique curiosity.  If our jobs are done correctly, the excitement of EXPO displays will help invite guests investigate exhibits closely.  And of course, to have fun!

If you're ever in the area, visit our interactive wall at the Marmon Wasp exhibit here at the Indiana Historical Society.  While the Marmon Wasp became the first car not only to win the Indy 500 in 1911, but the driver was the first to do so without a technician.  EXPO has provided Hoosiers with a way to look underneath the Wasp's hood and inspect under the hood, just like a mechanic.  Check it out!

Excellent work everyone. Be sure to check it out!

Posted on July 7, 2017 .

Hoosier Park - Room Transformation

Hoosier Park employees are going to be taking a break in style with this exciting room transformation. With accent stone walls, built in seating with charging stations, oversized stainless steel refrigerator, & custom rustic steel countertops. What an amazing break room to relax in.

Hoosier Park Break Room Design
Hoosier Park Break Room Design
Hoosier Park Break Room design
Posted on April 4, 2017 .

Why is that man burning that table?

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He is not setting a table on fire. Ty, the overseer of quality control, is removing air bubbles from the recently added Pour-On product that Lola is applying to the table tops. This is a nice project to be checking out because Pour-On is a fun product to work with. DIY'ers are likely to take hold of this idea and run with it. Just apply any type of material you fancy to a table top and pour on the Pour-On. Don't forget to follow the directions, we can't give away all our secrets.. ;)

Learn more about Pour-On

Posted on January 18, 2015 .