The Art of Boat Art
by pressure-drop.us on 16 Feb
Putting exquisite art on the hulls, sails and decks of sailboats is an art form on top of an art form. Working in a three dimensional format with non standard medium. It's not easy and it's not cheap, but the results can produce eye catching moving pieces of art that will attract the sailor and landlubber alike.
Regatta Boat Graphics - The Art of Boat Art Pressure Drop . US
Some recent examples of the marriage of sailing and art come from the desk of Joan Garrett and her design graphics company Regatta Boat Graphics.
Her work with Frank Slootman's C&C 30' and Pacific 52' Invisible Hand Projects and Manouch Moshayedi's Rio 52' have resulted in head turning grand prix project that make the owners and sailors proud and the competition envious. After years in the corporate rat race, Joan moved on from the hustle and bustle of marketing VP and onto a more creative and personally rewarding lifestyle, producing stellar graphic artwork for connoisseurs of fine art combined with the grace and beauty of finely crafted vessels.
It's a multi faceted process that we will let Joan explain:
Invisible Hand Projects:
'We started working on the C&C30 Invisible Hand in late May 2016. The mission was to adapt the graphics from the former RP63 Invisible Hand and purpose them for a silver hull. There’s silver, and then there’s silver, and a million interpretations in between. Some have more blue undertones, some are bright while some are dark, and the formula of the metal flake will dictate the luminosity. We found a Mercedes Benz bright silver we liked and US Watercraft formulated the paint.'
'Initially this project was to be completely done in paint - the hull and the graphic. Paint provides more latitude than vinyl in accommodating special effects, like shading and fades, and you need to design accordingly. We wanted a silver on silver look and to message the ‘disappearance’ of the hand, going for fades around the hand edge and in the name.
But tight production schedules closed the window on painting the graphic. A truck awaited to transport the boat to San Francisco. We retooled the composition for application in vinyl, and produced and applied the vinyl when the boat arrived in the Bay Area.'
'The composition used for the vinyl version had over 100 gradient mesh points, each of which had to be correctly colored to match the hull paint. The hull paint chip I worked from was an empty plastic quart size soda bottle sprayed with the hull paint from a can provided by the factory to be used for touch ups.
We had to work fast to get the color balancing, and final sizing done then print and apply the vinyl in time for her first race at the end of August.
Then it was on to the PAC52 Invisible Hand, being built at Cookson’s in Auckland.
Everyone really liked the gradient mesh hand that had been applied to the C&C30, getting this set up for an all paint application meant retooling the composition a bit and resizing. We also put in some bigger contrast to accommodate the much larger hull form, and the finger tips would need to wrap over the deck line chamfer. To get the effects we wanted, the graphic would need to be airbrushed. Not an easy undertaking!'
Our paint check was the transom graphic after it had been sprayed. And with a series of cell phone snaps sent back and forth, the paint process then moved on to the hull sides.'
'So I got the commission to do the graphics for the RIO PAC52 with no creative brief other than, the graphics were going down on a Ferrari orange hull, everything was to be done in paint, and well... come up with something.'
'I then got photos of paint chips from Manouch - the Ferrari orange, and three shades of gray, from silver to deep graphite gray - from Lamborghini paint colors
It was a BIG breakaway from what he has done with his previous boats - all dark mono-colored hulls with the very elegant RIO logo. He definitely wanted something big and bold and so I sketched up several concepts for him.'
'The owner had said that he liked some abstract/modern art he had seen on other boats, so I included an abstract sketch in the sketch pack I sent him. I had been sketching/ and digitally painting a piece in the background capturing some transitional things going on for me at the time. And using the RIO logo exterior ‘disc’ as a base, adapted that work to a sketch for the RIO. I called it “Oscura”, Spanish for dark/obscure because that was the mood and soul of the original piece.
He chose the abstract sketch, and we set to work on the composition - initially in one color - the darkest of the 3 Lamborghini grays. For paint applications, while multiple colors in a composition are fine, each of the colors typically is flat’, i.e. one solid color throughout. While we broke that mold in a big way with the PAC 52 Invisible Hand, the decision on the RIO to stick with singular flat individual colors worked out in spades when the edits came in.
A key step in the editorial process is to mockup the graphic on the boat. A flat view of the hull sides is OK, but, depicting a more ‘real life’ view of the final product is the step in my experience that moves the editorial dial forward. I am working remotely on many of these projects and have had to pack some tools in my quiver to engage clients in the editorial process.
Sure enough, when we put the ‘tilt up’ views out, the editorials came flying in. Same experience with the Invisible Hand.'
'I grabbed a photo of the Azzura heeled over and traced it out, then recolored everything to provide a mockup of the RIO graphic. The initial placement had the center of the graphic right at the mast, but since this boat was going to be focused on buoy racing with bigger crew, we moved the graphic forward, to get out of the way of crew feet, and still accommodate regatta/sponsorship stickers.
Once all the compositional edits are in, we like to do a 3D mockup of the graphic applied to the hull, especially for graphics such as this where there will be curves, wrapping around... curves, the outcome of which can be unpredictable on a 2D plane. As anticipated there was some distortion in the lower portions of the downward facing arcs. So we recast curvature and some angles to accommodate the hull form without denigrating the composition.'
'After the graphic has been re-engineered, it is mocked up again in 3D. This time we depicted the graphic in the three colors the owner wanted and with the additional lower swirl set.
This is an important step as it also helps us understand graphic placement requirements. With a full vertical hull span in a graphic such as this, what’s below the water line is just as important as what is above.
From here we start building the production files, bringing the graphic up to full scale. Every path line and brush stroke is inspected to remove any unwanted ‘noise’, and correct and amend any tangents.
Separate vector and CAD files are created for each color from which paint masks can then be printed. In addition to the paint mask files, placement files and paint guidelines are provided so the yard knows exactly where to paint and in what order to spray the colors.'
Joan's also the designer behind the Pacific 52 logo, and is currently designing the new artwork for the former R/P45 Criminal Mischief which has a new Japanese owner and has renamed her Lady Kanon VI and will be competing in this years Trans Pac. Interested in getting her to look at your graphic needs? Look her up here
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