I had been making my living as a paper sculptor in the illustration and fine art world for many years - happily running my business, Jeanotilla Design. Dimensional art in all forms had always appealed to me. I had a gift for it. That was why I originally got into paper sculpture. But I had been wanting to do larger and larger work for a long time. Work that could be touched by people - not separated by a frame. Work that would last outdoors for years if need be.
So this was my frame of mind as I sat having lunch with a friend at a local Outback Steak restaurant about 19 years ago. I was going on and on about how I wanted to do BIG dimensional work of some sort. I looked up just then and above our table there was this fabulous carved Outback sign with a big kangaroo on it, boomerangs, exotic trees, aboriginal patterns and the like. It was bright and fun. It was covered in tactile texture I could not resist. It just begged for you to run your hands over it. "This! This is it! This is what I want to do. I want to create really cool work like this."
And so I did. That epiphany at Outback fueled my hours and weeks of searching for the ways and means to create signs like that. I pretty much jumped off the 3D cliff based on my faith in that epiphany and the clear vision it provided. I learned new techniques. I bought new equipment. I researched all manner of tools, coatings, chemicals, hardware - you name it. I changed the name of my business to Big3D Productions, Inc. and began. If I could make something like that - that brought me so much joy to look at and brought the business owner such recognition and good will - I would be thrilled and grateful for the opportunity.
It's soon going to be 20 years ago now, but I have never forgotten the feeling I had sitting there looking up at that cool sign. And I am still thrilled and grateful to make my living by creating such unforgettable things. Things that make people run their hand and eyes over it and say, "Cool."