For this exciting and exclusive project, we were contacted by celebrated Sydney artist Todd Fuller. Todd wanted our assistance in the manufacturing of an inflatable dugong for an art installation. After looking through much of Todd’s work we could see where the inspiration of this project was coming from.
Todd had spent hours online trying to figure out where to buy an inflatable dugong, which he would then paint with his intended design for the exhibition. After hitting brick wall after brick wall, he stumbled across us.
Todd provided us with a rough idea of what he had planned and we had a big brainstorm as to how we can make this work.
Having never made an inflatable dugong before, we were up for the challenge and the end result really speaks for itself.
Many of our projects start from replicating real products, though as you could imagine, getting a dugong into the office to measure up was simply neither possible nor ethical. After some googling, we found a fantastic 3D scanned drawing of a real Dugong, which we used as inspiration and for us to take our measurements from and to get up close, without having to even get wet!
In this instance, Todd was open to ideas and feedback. His first wish however of having no blower was not going to work, as this means the inflatable art replica would likely require constant maintenance and monitoring of the unit’s internal air pressure. This wouldn’t be at all practical for this kind of installation.
Many inflatables you see use a large air blower, similar to those that you see on jumping castles. For Todd’s unique project, having one of these blowers was simply going to be too loud to use within the space he had. With that in mind, we recommended an internal blower. This would make set up a breeze and ensure the blower did not overwhelm other patrons at the exhibition, while providing enough air pressure to stay inflated.
After working through challenges like blower placement and how to secure the inflatable in a way which would give the look to the entire project, we began discussing the design and artwork that was to be printed.
With all the construction details like blower placement, tethering points and overall shape, now it was time to work on the printed design.
Many people get caught up with “What do I print on my inflatable?”, where others have a very clear mind on what they want. Due to the print process we use, what you print doesn’t impact costs. A basic colour vs full colour; it’s all the same.
With Todd’s hand painted artwork, which he scanned in on a wide bed scanner, we were ready to start turning the inflatable dugong from a plain black and white design, into a vibrant colourful creature.
We took the 3D design and turned this into a cut sheet, or template. This breaks every little panel into its own shape, which the artwork is then laid on.
In this instance, the dugong itself still needed all its features, whilst still showcasing the artist's design.
We worked on this and did a couple of print samples to ensure the end result was to meet Todd’s expectations. It is definitely worth taking the extra time to make sure it’s done right the first time.
After Todd’s final tweaks to his design, he gave us the green light to begin the construction of his inflatable dugong.
We were under a little pressure, as this exhibition was starting right at the beginning of the year, though as always, we were incredibly confident we could not only have it produced, but also delivered 2000km away from us in time for the Art Exhibition.
After the unit was finished, we set it up and ensured that it was ready to use and that no details were missed. This was going to be viewed by thousands of people over many weeks and we wanted to ensure it was perfect for Todd. We installed the tethering ropes for Todd to hang the inflatable inside the exhibition space and we got it on it’s first flight north.
Making custom inflatable animals is so much fun, and being a team of animal lovers, everyone was in awe of this colourful beauty. Working with creative talents such as Todd gives us an exciting opportunity to make something so unique, and it also helps us to expand our knowledge on highly customised inflatables.
An inflatable art replica such as this dugong may present a lot of first-time challenges, but the end result makes it all worth it. It blows our minds, knowing the inflatable dugong would have intrigued and potentially inspired thousands of art lovers.
Let us help you make your creative idea into a reality for your next event! Whether it is custom inflatable animals or turning your creation into an inflatable art replica, there is nothing we can’t do.
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