Sign Invitational 2017 – Part One

With Christmas fast approaching and some quiet days scheduled between Christmas and New Years it was time to work up my ideas for the next Sign Invitational challenge. It us my usual habit to work on personal creative projects in this period.

The design parameters for the competition are similar to last year although there are a few changes. The build envelope is still 24″ x 24″ x 72″ tall. Movement and special effects are allowed but must be triggered by the viewers. The theme is ‘Sign Magic’.

That left a lot of opportunity to be creative. As I thought about my piece this year many inspirations came to mind.
I love trains and have wanted to build a dimensional piece for some time. I decided to have a sign painter working on a bill board with the train (and trestle) bursting off the canvas beside him, showing the magic of a good illustration. The base of the display will be chiseled out as defined by the shape of the landscape. We will also cut some mineshaft into the rock work to add some interest on the plain cut step bottom portion.
As always I have a few surprises in store and they will be revealed as I get into the build.  Here’s the concept art which will serve as a basis for the construct…

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Dan Sawatzky

Dan Sawatzky is best described as a creative force in the sign industry. He and his wife Janis are owners of Sawatzky’s Imagination Corporation – a small family company that specializes in the design and creation of dimensional theme signs and environments. They tackle projects of any size from small signs to entire theme parks. Their work has garnered numerous international awards and Dan’s articles appear frequently in the sign trade publications. Dan and his crew also host Sign Magic and Sculpting Workshops in their studio a number of times each year with attendees coming from around the world. For more information please visit

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