Inspiration Spotlight: “Crabulance” Wrap Brings Comfort to Kids in Virginia Beach
While a trip to the hospital via an ambulance can be unsettling for anyone, they can be especially so for a young child. Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD), a pediatric and neonatal hospital in Virgina Beach, Va., is committed to providing a comforting atmosphere for children. With the welcoming and vibrant artwork from a local artist, the hospital has wrapped four ambulances in various under the sea pictures with the latest being a crab, the “Crabulance”.
The project featured original artwork by artist Troy Summerell known professionally as OnieTonie. The ambulance was printed and wrapped by The Graphics Shop (TGS). This is the fourth special transport ambulance TGS has wrapped for CHKD. The crab design was one of five original artworks submitted by the artist. Three previous ambulances, finished in August 2017, featured fish, turtle and seahorse art by OnieTonie.
The vehicle wrap project has been a collaborative effort from its inception. CHKD brought on Davis Ad Agency to spearhead the project, who reached out to OnieTonie to paint the artwork that was used for the wraps. TGS, a Hackworth Company, was contracted to print and install the graphics. The King’s Daughters, Farm Fresh and We Promise Foundation contributed funds to make the project possible.
“It's pretty amazing honestly,” says Summerell. “I had a goal when I started OnieTonie Designs five years ago that I was going to get my art into CHKD somehow. And to have my art on these special vehicles is just something that's hard to put into words. My family and I are very proud of this project.”
An employee at the Davis Ad Agency was familiar with Summerell’s work and murals found locally and the agency reached out. Around the same time, the artist was doing a mural at one of the new facilities for CHKD, called CHKD Health Center at Landstown in Virginia Beach. “The timing was perfect,” he notes. The OnieTonie fish that is featured in the health center mural also matches the smiling fish on the KD 1, one of the previously-wrapped CHKD Transports.
“At first, the designs were very bold and Ioud,” Summerell says. “I was trying to turn these ambulances into something that masked them as ambulances, if that makes sense.
“But, when dealing with a project for a children's hospital you have to take other factors into consideration. These are highly stressful times for the patients and their families and the designs I originally came up with were too busy and might have been too loud, too amplified for the children. So, once I took that into consideration, I decided to really focus on using my main characters and making the design a little softer. There was no need to try and camouflage the trucks, the main thing is to try and help these kids and their parents. It was a great learning experience and has helped me going forward with other projects I have in the works for other pediatric facilities.”
OnieTonie designs are hand drawn; parts are painted separately and added. Then, for commercial use like this project, they are cleaned up on the computer and readied for large-scale printing and application.
The “Crabulance” wrap took four days to finalize the design and four more days to print and install the colorful and cheery graphics. After OnieTonie supplied artwork, Marc Reyes worked on the design and David Meads, Eric House and Raymond Saria installed the graphics to complete the job.
The graphics were printed on 3M IJ180 graphic film vinyl with UV lamination and 3M 1080 reflective material on a HP Latex 360 printer and the semi-permanent material is good for five to seven years.
The Graphics Shop is a Hampton Roads-based, veteran-owned small business specializing in vehicle wraps, signage and industrial UV screen printing. As a 3M Certified Graphics Installation Company, TGS not only serves local customers in Virginia but also works alongside companies and agencies throughout the United States.
OnieTonie’s colorful and positive art can be found throughout Hampton Roads. He has large scale public art in the NEON, Norfolk's Art District and several large pieces at the Oceanfront; Java Surf Cafe & Espresso Bar, Star of the Sea Catholic Church & School, as well as painted basketball backboards at WT Cooke Elementary.