Getting the Public-Art Treatment

Ampco Grafix takes on graphics for garbage trucks for the City of Port Moody in British Columbia.

Port Moody, aka the “City of the Arts,” is known for its beautiful scenery, lighting, and low rent, making it the perfect destination for artists in British Columbia, Canada. In keeping with its artistic reputation, the city developed the StreetArts program, which strives to integrate public art into everyday life. From whimsical garbage cans to hand-painted street banners, Port Moody beautifies even the most common objects.

Its largest StreetArt endeavor yet: public fleet vehicle wraps. To date, five city trucks have received the public art treatment, including the playground works truck, the horticultural truck, the cultural services van, and two of the city’s four automated garbage trucks. To wrap the two garbage trucks, Port Moody called for help from local artists as well as from Canadian print provider Ampco Grafix.
“The city was our existing client. We have been handling their municipal vehicles such as fire and rescue and operation vehicles for some time,” says Ben Konkin, Ampco account executive. “When Port Moody started an annual contest for local artists where two winning designs would be mounted to the sides of city garbage trucks, we were excited to take on the challenge.”

StreetArt used a desktop scanner to capture the winning images, then delivered the files to Ampco, which turned to Adobe Photoshop for manipulating the designs and adjusting for size. A soft proof scaled to 10 percent of the final size was then sent as a PDF for Port Moody officials’ approval.

The final graphics were output with Ampco’s EFI Vutek GS2000 UV printer and 3M flexible UV inks, onto 3M Controltac 180 CV3-10 matte cast vinyl. Printing the wraps proved no challenge for the Ampco team, and it took just over 2.5 hours to complete the output. Finishing was equally stress free, using a GBC Orca III laminator with 3M 8519 laminate; total time was only 20 minutes. Ampco hand-cut the graphics, then proceeded to install.

One of the installers’ biggest challenges for this particular job, says Konkin, was the garbage stench. But an even bigger challenge was the tight time frame. “The winners of the contest were publicly unveiled by the mayor of Port Moody shortly after the judges made their selection. So, we had to install the wraps on the two trucks and have them back to the city for the ceremony on the same day,” says Konkin. In total, Ampco printed and installed 333 square feet of graphics just in time for the public unveiling.

The other two Port Moody garbage trucks were being completed as this article was being readied for press.


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