Tin Whisker's Famous Robot Mural

One of the trademark traits of Tin Whiskers is the robot logo. Since we opened we have heard a lot of buzz about the awesome mural reflecting our logo, and we want to take an opportunity to share the painting process with you (and plug the artist). In this blog entry, we will be sharing how we arrived at the final product - from the first inspirations to the completed image you see above.

The robot was painted by a very talented artist, Ben Courneya. We worked with Ben for about 6 months, from original conceptual discussions to the final product of the giant mural.

The Beginning
So let’s start from the beginning. We wanted a robot mascot from early on. It dates as far back as 2011 when the brewery concept was in its infancy.

We toyed with the idea of the robot as the symbol for Tin Whiskers; a relatable image for all types of beer lovers. Eventually, we got serious about the idea and started looking for inspiration. When George found this guy, we knew we were on the right path (minus the communist Russian propaganda part).

Initial Concepts
So we started working with Ben, and he drew up a few conceptual designs to get our creative juices flowing. Noting the tones and general presence of the propaganda poster above, Ben chose to frame the robot chest high from a low angle, looking up at an important object held above all else; as Ben says, “The raison d'être.” Which in this case is an enormous beer. Here are a couple of Ben's designs from early on:

Ben worked with some concepts relating to the silhouette of a robot. We were all in agreement that the robot with the red background above was the route we wanted to go. So we worked with Ben on the next phase. With this round we wanted to incorporate a more technical element to the design. Rather than the red background, we wanted to go with a circuit board look from the engineering world. Ben also adds, “I got rid of the dopey smile from the original sketch.”

At this point, we started to get really technical with the background. As three electrical enginerds, we wanted to be technically correct. The scale and layout of the traces, vias, and footprints needed to be accurate. We worked with Ben on a more realistic image, and it went really smoothly. So the next iteration looked like this:

Final Design
Ben worked quite a bit with the colors. He matched the warm gray tone to what we used in painting the brewery walls. He also gave the image a lot of depth by playing with glossy versus flat paints. The high gloss paint lent a metallic quality to the traces, which is perfect for the robot theme. Ben provided several options for logo placement, border designs, size components, and the stamped robot emblem. The final steps were mostly tweaks to the size and placement of the logos.

The Real Thing
Now it was one thing to create this design. But Ben wasn’t done yet. After spending about 5 months working through the design process, Ben still had to paint the actual mural. There were a couple of essential pieces. First of all, he needed to use a projector to display the image against the bare wall. He used a 6500 lumen projector with a .5:1 lens, which was able to display the 20’ x 14’ image. Ben says that this piece of equipment was invaluable, because the equipment could expand the image to full size from a short distance. He was able to trace the image on the wall, rather than piece it together or draw it freehand. Since the mural uses such simple shapes and has a limited palette, the precision of each line is very important. Using the special projector allowed for that precision.

Then there was painters tape. Lots and lots and lots of tape, plus circular stencils and a level to establish the tracers. For other aspects, he painted portions of the mural by hand. This process of taping and painting took about 80 hours. Ben says it was a piece of cake, but for some reason we sensed some sarcasm in that statement….

As stated earlier, Ben chose paints that were semi-gloss and high gloss. According the Ben, the glossier paints are more durable and easier to clean, which is a practical decision for a brewery. Tin Whiskers rented a scissor lift (for several uses), which came in handy while painting the top of the mural. After 80 hours, several weekends, one paparazzo, and a lot of time up and down in the scissor lift, Ben completed the robot mural for Tin Whiskers. It turned out better that we ever could have imagined.

Drumroll please…..Presenting the final product.

A huge thanks to Ben for working with us and making our robot come to life.