ORIGIN OF PROJECT
Pacific Coast Producers is a farmer owned cooperative and one of the largest private label canning companies in the world. I have been fortunate enough to have them as a client for many years. Traditionally I do branding and packaging work for them but when they decided they wanted to have a mural created for an exterior wall of their immense canning facility in Woodland, CA they reached out to me. The Woodland facility is one of the largest retail tomato canning operations on the planet and just touring it can take hours, but is a truly awesome experience.
Created in conjunction with the city of Woodland and their Food Front initiative the creative brief was to create a piece of art that reflected the region's current role and history as a top producer of tomatoes in the United States.
As an organization, Pacific Coast Producers values heritage and appreciates vintage style graphics. I looked to the typographic designs of historic fruit crate art from the turn of the century, most of which originated in the western US. I dug deep and found some really stunning examples of work from that period like the art below that informed and influenced my designs.
CREATION OF ILUSTRATION
Working directly in Adobe Illustrator, using a variety of techniques, I created two illustrations for the initial presentation that employed the style and feel of those historic crate labels.
They liked the second one, but the tomatoes needed to be Roma tomatoes and they really wanted to add a field or a landscape of some sort. I put my illustration hat back on and got to work creating the final art seen below.
I worked hard to ensure that the disparate elements would not overwhelm one another and that there would still be a clear hierarchy in the design. I enclosed the landscape painting in a circle on the right to balance the "world's finest" arch on the left giving those elements and the tomatoes equal weight, leaving the dimensional. illustrative typography of the word tomatoes to be the hero. The house in the landscape faces in at the tomatoes pulling you eye back to the center of the composition.
PAINTING THE MURAL
Pacific Coast Producers and the City of Woodland signed off on the art with the addition of some logos and it was put into the hands of the amazing muralist and painter, Jeremy Stanger of Sacramento based Stanger Projects. It seems like a magic trick to me that he was able to paint this complex design on a corrugated surface.
Using Montana Colors MTN 94 rattle cans as his primary paint source, and an 45' SKYJACK articulating lift boom to move himself up and down the giant wall, he executed this design flawlessly. Some of his process can be seen in this video below. Take note of the moment when the train is bearing down on him. Jeremy is apparently willing to put himself in danger for the sake of good art!
Click the grid below to view closeups and a variety of angles on the art. Did I mention that this was painted on a corrugated surface? Good luck figuring out how he did that.
At approximately 35 feet long by 20 feet high this art is hard to miss. Located along busy Main Street in Woodland, CA, in the heart of America’s tomato growing region, this artwork gets seen by 1000's of people every day and because it was painted as opposed to being a printed vinyl billboard, it is permanent, and will weather and fade and develop a beautiful patina like the hand painted advertising of days gone by. I look forward to visiting this sign a decade from now.