Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Big Dub Festival - Behind the Build

This is the summer I started working for BADASS RAVES, which is one of the largest and most awesomest promoters in the Dc/Balt Entertainment Industry. They have been keeping me busy lately building custom pieces for themed events, but their most recent outdoor summer series - The Big Dub Festival has been my favorite so far. Held on Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary in Artemas, Pennsylvania, this 3,000+ person event took place over the span of 4 days in a magical forest full of amazing people and multitudes of talented artists.

It was humbling to say the least.

I got to work alongside a handful of other visual installation artists like Dancing Zombies, Nephilnine Deco, Slow Kidz and other kick ass individuals from the Badass collective. Everthing worked cohesively, everyone got along and we created a magical wonderland for festival goers to experience memories to last a lifetime.

I provided a custom sign & entry arch to the main stage area of the festival which served as a great photo op for festival goers.

Making signs like this are some of my favorite work. I start out with a vector image of the logo inside Illustrator. I scale that to the overall final size of the sign, then print each 8.5x11 section to create a stencil. This is time consuming, but without laser cutting or a good projector, this is the best way to be exact.


Once the stencil is cut, I lay it out along the board (which was 2" blue foam) and trace using pencil or marker.
I cut each piece using a jigsaw and a long blade for clean cuts. Then placed them on 2 back boards to scale out the circle.
I cut 2 pieces of luan wood into half circles and created a frame using 2x4s in the back.
Each piece was painted in 2 colors to create the true 3d look of the logo.
Once sign was painted with final coat, I laid out and glued the letters. Then using spanish moss, added detail true to the actual logo.
Up next was the arch. This thing has been around for quite some time, traveling from event to event. I decided to give it a makeover to stay in theme with the Big Dub Candy Mountain, which was swirls of pink, white, red and yellow.
I chose white as the base coat. Once dry, I created the first set of swirls using painter's tape. 
I painted yellow for the 2nd  color.
Taped the next set of swirls.
And so on and so on.
It served as a great photo op for people and gave a general sense of arrival to the event itself. I believe one couple got engaged underneath.

My other installation was the outskirts/chillout area surrounding the Pavilion stage. This was an awesome place between main stage and the lower camps where people came to hang out, chill out and rave out. I built 3 giant mushrooms for this event with the added 2 from The Haunted Garden for a total of 5 Giant Shrooms! All situated under the famous BADASS moon and accented with the beautiful stretch fabric installs of Nephilnine - it was enchanting to say the least. 
This was done the same as my first 2 mushrooms - using plywood for the tops and bottoms of the stems with 2x4s in between, then wrapped in chicken wire. The tops are a 4x4 center piece, drilled through for electrical conduit that is then bent and edged with pvc tubing, all covered with chicken wire.
They are then wrapped in cheesecloth / scrim using spray adhesive to attach. This serves as the skin for the next layer, which is a 2-part spray foam from RHH Foam Systems http://www.rhhfoamsystems.com/
I got my husband suited up for this one. He was excited to get the safety gear on. Always wear your safety gear which includes a full body suit rated for spray foam, a respirator, gloves and goggles.
You just spray away and the magic happens.
This cures fairly quickly so you can get moving with paint.
I use a paint sprayer for most of the painting and then spray paint for accenting. I didn't take pictures during the paint process. I used one base color for the stems and spray painted 2 different shades of beige in different areas. Then added stone accent spray paint to create more texture. 
2 Mushrooms were given red/orange/yellow tops with a faded technique. 
One of my older ones was given a new paint color and fade in the natural tones as well as some shroomie texture to the top using Great Stuff spray foam. I don't have pictures during the day of my purple mushrooms, but i gave them a bright alien green accent highlight along with spanish moss. In fact all the shrooms got spanish moss added to end for one last finishing touch. 
The gills of the mushrooms is the most tedious and painful part of the process. I use 120" white spandex and a ton of Velcro. I use large triangular pieces, pleat at the center, pull out, pleat, pin and glue at the edge. 
I make sure to take lots of breaks to give my arms rest. This time for strawberry daiquiries.
I added some l.e.d. string lights inside and used standing par 38 uplights for the stems.
Jessica Baab of Slow Kidz created these adorable little toadstools for people to sit on. They were the perfect addition to Mushroomland.
The other awesome area of deco was The Hammock Haven - installed by Jessica Baab and Bryce Newell of Slow Kidz who hand made uv mushrooms, fiber optic flowers and Venus Flytraps, as well as Sue Helfrich of Nelphinine Deco who created the spandex environment and Danny Reamer of Badass who installed the beautiful l.e.d. dripping tree of life. 
This is another famous install from Badass and I must add here how much work was involved to get these huge pieces working and in the trees. Getting line that high up in the trees, getting electricity and fan motors and all the other details to work together to make this happen almost seems miraculous. Michael Hogan and Shilo Heimann are event installation ninjas. To get an inside look into these installs from their eyes, check out Michael's hilarious day by day recap of how this all went down. http://www.thealternatefrequency.com/big-dub-set-up-coverage/
Stage deco by Sue of Nephilnine.
I don't know who is responsible for this beautiful piece, but it is multiple programmed l.e.d. hoops for the Big Dub Fire Area.
Spandex Install by Dancing Zombies
L.e.d. wall panel install @ Camp Vader
A little behind the scenes action with Sentient Lighting
The 4am laser vortex presentation
Big Dub Festival 2014

For more info and a full tutorial on my Giant Mushrooms, visit The Build of Giant Mushrooms with detailed info and a fun music video to boot.
Till next time
Love
Rania