We are thrilled to partner with Graphcom and Celebrate Gettysburg magazine as media sponsors for the March 20 event, An Evening with NY Times Best-Selling Author Kelly Corrigan! Today we spotlight an extremely creative and colorful division of Graphcom, Field and Floor FX:
Have you ever created a 7-foot tall cotton candy treat? Doug Gardner, director of Field and Floor FX, has. No, this particular cotton candy won’t give you a monster-sized cavity, because it’s a prop.
Doug and the team at Field and Floor FX, a Graphcom company here in Adams County, work with some of the biggest names in performing arts. They print digital flags, floors, and costume fabrics, as well as create larger-than-life props for illustrious programs like the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps, of Santa Clara, California and Onyx Color Guard, of Dayton, Ohio.
Working hand in hand with the creative minds behind these performing groups, Field and Floor FX translates their vision in 3D, which often involves being elbow deep in paint, or whittling out impossibly cool props like the Michelangelo of high-density foam.
In a feat of visual interest, Field and Floor FX worked with Cypress Independent Color Guard, of Houston, Texas to create luggage props for their show, which, through reflection and stylistic approach, is an ode to the personal life of Marlene Dietrich.
“There is a high degree of competition with and between the ensembles we work with,” Doug says. “We work with talented show designers to bring their visions to life. The inclusion of creative props can catapult the overall look of a show making it unique and setting it apart from the competition.”
The impact created by the oversized and scaled luggage pieces did just that for Cypress. The pieces were created using high-density foam blocks and were enhanced by vinyl graphics on all sides giving a 3D look from a distance, though the luggage pieces were actually flat on all sides.
The Field and Floor FX team also created a number of show-stopping props for Santa Clara Vanguard Drum Corps 2014 production of Scheherazade. “It is incredibly rewarding to take someone’s vision and create something unique that surpasses their expectation,” Doug says. “The challenge with these creative endeavors is that not only must they be visually pleasing and help the ensembles tell their story, but they must also be extremely durable and logistically functional.”
The first of the projects for Scheherazade were 24 lightweight stacks of pillows that were utilized by performers during the production. Performers danced on top of them and created various staging opportunities that lent to the overall dramatic effect of the show. The pillows were hand carved from high-density foam for durability and strength. They were then hand painted. The last step to give the impression of real, sumptuous velvet pillows was to apply added detail through vinyl graphics. The finishing touch on this project was to attach tassels to each pillow, a design element that also connected the props to the drum corps’ costumes. (Click here for a brief YouTube clip of the performance, including the “pillows!”)
This performance included unique feather fans created by Field and Floor FX to add to the overall effect and theme of the show. The bases of the fans were created using vacuumed form molded medallions. Doug added ostrich and peacock feathers in a variety of colors to compliment the style and color pallet of the show design and costumes. Reflective mylar tape was added as a detail and special effect to catch and reflect the light giving the fans a majestic appearance.
Field and Floor FX also created large-scale props using design elements that reflect and compliment the overall style and period of the show. The backdrops were created using vinyl graphics that were applied to contour shaped high-density PVC board. The colorful design element was carried over and used throughout the entire production. The large-scale props, fans, and pillows work together as a whole to paint a picture for the audience.
Van Gogh said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” If this is indeed true, it is no wonder that all of the detail put in to each Field and Floor FX creation does its part to create a great show for the performing groups lucky enough to work with them.