making massive inflatable pigs

The original inflatable that was conceived by Waters and Hipgnosis in 1976, flew over London's Battersea Power Station to create the artwork that graced the iconic Animals album cover. The inflatables are massive, the size of a London double decker bus. The modern balloons are created out of heavy PVC vinyl and weigh over 100 pounds each. Each balloon requires 10 canisters of helium to inflate and create the lift capacity of a Macy's parade balloon.

We went to the veteran specialty fabricator in Oxfordshire, England for the fabrication of these custom inflatables. In 2011, ABC Inflatables recreated the original Battersea Power Station balloon for Roger Waters and EMI. Two balloons were created, one recreated the flight over the power station, the other flew above the Capital Records Tower in L.A. More recently, one of these balloons was floated 165 feet over the Victoria & Albert Museum to announce the Pink Floyd retrospective exhibit, Our Mortal Remains.

above Capitol Records in 2011

above Capitol Records in 2011

 

 

FPOP
telling our story in radio format

We recently had the opportunity to talk with Illinois Public Radio. Since we had the benefit of a little longer air time, it gave a a great opportunity to tell the FPOP story more comprehensively. 

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a thank you to Roger Waters and team

After our initial press release in December 2016, Sean Evans (film director and visual director for Roger Waters) contacted NWD expressing interest and support for our project. He shared the design with Roger Waters, and Roger offered support for our effort, ultimately by allowing the use of the famous Battersea Power Station balloon. The Waters team shared the digital model for the balloon, and NWD updated their renderings and imagery to include the iconic pig balloon (originally known as Algie). NWD is working with a fabricator in Oxfordshire that replicated the balloon for a 2011 Waters/EMI float above the Battersea. If you are not familiar with this inflatable artwork, look it up. It has an interesting legacy. More to follow on the balloon makers.

Kevin Winter - Getty Images

Kevin Winter - Getty Images

FPOP
what would Don do?

Since Mr. trump’s campaign promise to build a “huge, beautiful” wall along the Mexican border of the United States, our studio has pondered what kind of satire we could apply to the topic. We’ve had many starts and stops and ridiculed it in numerous ways. Eventually, we decided to simplify the task and take it to a potentially darker place by thinking about the project in the manner that our ardent leader might. These images and the below description derive from a thought basis through THAT lens.

In the theme of “Make America Great Again”, the Wall looks just like a friendly American picket fence, just like when times were good. The fence is just like a picket fence but 25 feet tall. Both sides can see through, one side can see through to the American dream, the other can see the bad guys being kept out.

The Wall is gold, showing wealth and luxury. This is a great symbol for America. It will create envy in those wanting to enter.

The Wall must protect Americans, so it will have a lethal electric charge. We’ll do this with high voltage, high amp, continuous current. The charged wires are on the Mexican side of the Wall. You can’t see the wires from our side.

Providing that kind of electric charge for a 2000 mile Wall will be challenging. In order to further benefit Americans, six new coal electric plants will be built to power the fence, one for every 400 miles. Jobs will be created by building the new power plants, jobs will created for operating them, and jobs will be created in the coal industry. America wins and Mexico will pay for our Wall.

Executive office estimated cost, $500 million.

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a new graphic

Our graphic designer has created a new "flag" for the project. Taking cues from the four floating pigs (in gold) and manifesting them in a minimalist fashion seemed to articulate the idea in a concise manner. As with the T-shirt design, we use the font from the first edition printing of Animal Farm.

 

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slow but steady progress!

Gaining municipal approval in a major city to deploy an art event of this scale is no small feet. Needless to say, it is a unique project that leaves committee members scratching their heads. We have been patiently working our way through the sequence of the necessary meetings. In general, all is positive, but there are still a variety of issues to resolve before approval can be gained. As soon as we can cross a certain threshold, we will share the story of the process. Until then, we don't feel it is prudent to step on the toes of those that are assisting us through the challenges. No worries on small delays because, as our leadership has shown, the folly's theme will continue to be relevant.

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objectivity

"You can go on and on telling lies, and the most palpable lies at that, and even if they are not actually believed, there is no strong revulsion either. We are all drowning in filth. When I talk to anyone or read the writings of anyone who has an axe to grind, I feel that intellectual honesty and balanced judgment have simply disappeared from the face of the earth. Everyone's thought is forensic, everyone is simply putting a 'case' with deliberate suppression of his opponent's point of view, and, what is more, with complete insensitiveness to any sufferings except those of himself and his friends…. But is there no one who has both firm opinions and a balanced outlook? Actually there are plenty, but they are powerless. All power is in the hands of paranoiacs.” 

George Orwell, Diaries

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politics and art

"Animal Farm was the first book in which I tried, with full consciousness of what I was doing, to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole." George Orwell, Why I Write, summer 1946.

 

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Crazy days...

We never set out to be balloon launch experts. New World Design began this effort as a piece of post election therapy for their office. A disillusioned creative office did what designers do best, they designed. In this case they responded to the nagging issue of an ostentatious sign that was installed in 2014, the Trump Tower Chicago sign.

Since the 20' tall T R U M P letters were affixed to the building, they have been chided by the design community for their bad taste. Any name at this scale, be it SMITH or JONES or whatever, would have been unacceptable. It "brands" a highly visible area of Chicago's urban fabric in manner completely unsuited to our city. Then Mr. Trump ran for, and is elected, president via the most tasteless and erratic political display in American history.  Now here we are on Inauguration Day. This is not a "brand" that speaks for the vast majority of Chicagoans.

Over the next few months our intent is to tell the story of this process and experience through this website. We are a small operation that is driven by our passion for fairness in humanity. This is our method for fighting back and giving our community of rational minds a bigger voice.

 

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T-Shirt proofs...

We recently received a "proof" batch of t-shirts. We're intending to offer the shirts for sale with proceeds going to the project implementation effort. The front graphic is distilled from the original project renderings. The back of the shirt offers a simple and clear message. We used the same font as on the cover of the first edition of George Orwell's Animal Farm (Franklin Gothic). The shirts are also American made and printed (contrary to Mr. Trumps products). They will be shipped in environmentally friendly packaging. 

 

FPOP
Website Goes Live!

We're excited to announce that our website for the Flying Pigs on Parade project has now gone live! But since you're here and reading this, you already knew that.

NWD has already spent two months assessing practical and technical hurdles. We have proposals from balloon fabricators in the UK (sourced thanks to Roger Waters) as well as launch specialists. Discussions have been held with potential river platform sources. We are in the early stages of the municipal discussions/approvals. 

We have not included a phone number or address on the website. While a great deal of positive feedback was received from initial press releases, there were annoying belligerent calls that were senseless rants. For the time being, please communicate with us through the email address at the bottom of the page, FlyingPigsOnParade@gmail.com.

FPOP