Tightrope for Toyota

Most of the paintings I design via We Talk Chalk turn into hand painted 3D street paintings which are amazing and beautiful and super fun, and sometimes exhausting, to create!  But over the last few years, I’ve created several digital 3D paintings that I paint in photoshop and then have printed on vinyl via our own vinyl printer or the client’s local vendor. Though they are much less ‘hands on’, they still provide the same impact and effect to viewers.

2017 has brought forth several opportunities for digital projects and I’m having a blast!!  The first of the year was the expansion of the Shark painting at the Monte Carlo which I talked about in my last blog post.  The second…An incredible display for Toyota and Bass Pro Shops (via MC2exhibits) and the Daytona International Speedway in Florida.  This project was a dream come true.  To design and paint something for such an incredible client at such an amazing venue was exhilarating to see brought to life!  A 16 x 60 foot billboard and 35 x 40 foot floor painting coming together to create the backdrop for two Toyota Vehicles.  Awesome!!

I started out by building a layout of the space and where the cars would be parked, and once canyon sketch was approved, I started painting via Wacom Cintiq and Photoshop.  I think it took me about 7 days total to complete the image once I started painting.  That includes test prints and adjustments. I created the files full size at 100dpi.

I sent the files off to the client for printing and was on pins and needles.  The anticipation was unbelievable.  When you create something in such a small space (your computer screen) you just hope and pray that all your calculations and tests were accurate when it is finally full size and ENORMOUS!!!!  I was so nervous traveling to Daytona…what if I measured wrong?  What if the viewpoint is blocked by something I didn’t know about (which is almost was…There was a pole about 4 feet away that could have been a huge problem, but thank goodness it wasn’t.  phew), what if my math is off? (by the way…I’m terrible at math.  Anything with numbers scares the crap out of me, but hey…you get passed the fear, check everything triple, quadruple times, and then say a lot of prayers that you nailed it.  :).  In the end, everything turned out perfectly!  HALLELUJAH!!!  I was sooooo happy.  So, you can see the results below.  The hot air balloon was a digital I added a few days before the Daytona 500.  Toyota wanted more branding in the shot so I created that in a few hours and sent it over.  They printed and stuck it up on the billbaord just in time.

Painting should be up for several months fairing good weather.

unnamed-3unspecified 3D sketch for Toyota @Daytona International Speedway
30 inch test print of painting.
Addition of Toyota Branded Balloon!
The morning after install it rained. The vinyl was steadfast…it held on tight!
Panarama shot of the painting with the vehicles parked.


Trick-Eye Experience

New projects are always exciting and in all the time that I worked as a free lance artist my favorite projects were always the ones that required international travel.  Painting in a Country you’ve never visited before or one that you really love and experiencing the culture and peoples reaction to your work is an unforgettable experience.  But in the 5 years since our company We Talk Chalk has been in business, I’ve accumulated quite a few favorites because of the projects themselves…either because of the imagery, the scope, or the client themselves.

Our current collaboration with the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas has been a dream project for me for several reasons.  I have the opportunity to design several anamorphic / 3D paintings for the property as semi permanent installations during their 2 year revitalization and rebranding…and, I essentially had an open theme for all the designs…AWESOME.

So, we (Myself, WTC Studio Artist Lyndsey Anne Morel, and my assistant Jarred Mendoza) just completed 3 paintings, live on site, to kick off the Monte Carlo’s  ‘Trick-Eye Experience’.  (Actually, Trick Eye was kicked off in December with two Holiday paintings of Polar Bears I created digitally.  It was a last minute decision since we were already scheduled to create the live paintings in January.  So the Polar Bears were a quick turn around and lots of fun to create.)  The first two were titled “Desert or Dessert’ and sit prominently framing the Plaza Blvd Entrance of the Monte Carlo Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.  The whole Idea is for people to pose as if they are inside the bell jars…The Desert Jar has succulents inside like a giant terrarium and scorpions scaling the outer glass walls.  The second is our favorite… ‘Dessert’ features a tower of Macaroons that you have to keep from falling over.  It’s bright and colorful and fun.

The third live painting we did was a hungry ‘Shark’.  Because who doesn’t love sharks these days? – from a distance, of course.  Now that the live paintings are complete I will be creating a few large scale digitals to be sprinkled throughout the interior of the Casino for a total of 6 Trick-Eye Paintings at the Monte Carlo – for now 🙂

Here’s how things got started…


Concept sketch and mock-up for Desert or Dessert painting.  Simple pencil sketches within a photo of the location.  Once Ideas were given the green light by the Monte Carlo team I moved forward with full color renderings.

Tools – Strathmore drawing paper, Strathmore Grid paper, tracing paper, mechanical pencils, Mac, Wacom Cintiq, Photoshop, Illustrator.

MacaronJarFinal ScorpionJarFinal BackCasinoFinal

Paper to Canvas

Since starting We Talk Chalk in 2012, I’ve designed almost every painting that we’ve produced.  On average we’ve been creating about 100 paintings per year with our incredible team.  So, I usually design 2-3 paintings a week. And considering I sketch 2-3 designs for the client to choose from, that’s over 300 sketches a year. lol…I didn’t actually realize that until now.  Most sketches start out with a simple pencil or digital sketch and turn into full color renderings.  This is nice because it lets the client know exactly what they will get.  No surprises.  It also allows our studio artists and assistants to see what I’m thinking for each and every inch of the painting.  I can’t always spend a full day painting so I rely on my amazing artists and assistants to get things going while I’m creating sketches for the next painting.

My favorite designs are usually the ones where the clients allow us free reign (or close to it) on concepts. Of course, it’s always important to make sure our clients are happy and we convey their message in an intriguing way but it doesn’t mean we always ‘love’ the designs 🙂   And more often then not, the client won’t choose our favorite sketch…which means I have a ton of sketches that are just waiting to be used for another cool project.  Here are a few sketches from 2016 that weren’t chosen!

All my sketches end up in Photoshop, even if started in pencil, for finishing touches and sending off to client.  I’m using a Mac Pro, Wacom Cintiq 27 HD (which I LOVE), and an Epson 1400 Printer.  When I’m traveling I use the Wacom Cintiq Companion.  They make my work so much easier. Can’t live without them 🙂

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