How did ArtisanHD contribute to an art piece featuring one of the greatest race cars of all time? To help the artist and documentarian Heidi Mraz bring her artistic vision to life, ArtisanHD used custom photo backdrop printing to craft stunning images directly to a white infinity board.
Inspired by an important historical moment in the past of the Porsche 917, Heidi set out to tell the story using her artwork. The result is a brilliant, multi-layer art piece she calls “Aerodynamics by Entomology.”
The Story Behind the Porsche 917
In 1969, following a fatal crash at Les Mans raceway, Porsche’s drivers and engineers took the Porsche 917 out to a racetrack to see if they could figure out why the car was lifting off the track at high speeds. When they were finished and returned the car to the pit, Porsche’s JWAE team manager and engineer John Horsman found that there were dead gnats all over the car.
The tiny insects were everywhere on the vehicle, except for the rear spoilers. This told Horsman that there was not sufficient airflow to the tail of the car, which meant that there was not enough downforce to keep it from lifting off.
Horsman quickly used aluminum sheets and duct tape to modify the car. During the subsequent test drive, the driver was able to take the Porsche 917 around the track at record speed, all while keeping it from rising off of the asphalt. The Porsche 917 would go on to win at Le Mans in 1970 and 1971 and is now considered one of the greatest racing cars of all time.
How Porsche’s History Inspired “Aerodynamics by Entomology?”
After learning about this fascinating part of racing history, artist Heidi Mraz was inspired to create a multi-layered art piece. Instead of using gnats, the bugs that had helped the engineers discover aerodynamic issues in the story, she chose to focus on another insect – butterflies. According to the artist, using butterflies as her medium was a “natural choice,” as they drew many parallels to the Porsche 917’s origin story.
For her art piece, Heidi chose to recreate images of one of the most famous Porsche 917K’s (the Chassis 917-022) on giant canvas prints. Heidi then hand-cut, placed and pinned over 1000 blue and orange paper butterflies onto the piece. The added color and dimension of the butterflies added the illusion of movement to the print and paid homage to the 917’s classic racing colors.
Heidi knew that to fully execute her vision, she would need to use the perfect materials that would complement her stunning, colorful images. For this, she turned to the fine art printing experts at ArtisanHD.
Heidi Mraz Collaborated with ArtisanHD
To create her project, Heidi decided to use four by six-foot images featuring the Porsche 917. In order for these giant canvases to come to life, she also needed a stunning backdrop. This is when Mraz decided to call on ArtisanHD’s custom photo backdrop printing services. In order to provide more options to valued clients, Artisan has its own custom order department for fulfilling unique printing needs just like this.
Working with the artist to fully understand every part of her vision, ArtisanHD provided Heidi with direct digital prints on Infinity Board. This polystyrene foam board is sandwiched between two layers of styrene-faced veneer. Being rigid and lightweight, this type of print is ideal for lightweight photo displays and indoor signage.
The printing experts at Artisan knew that Infinity Board was the right choice because it is softer than other Direct to Board options, making it easier to pin objects (1000 butterflies, for example) to its surface. The prints were carefully crafted and brought to the artist so that she could start assembling her work.
The “Aerodynamics by Entomology” Story
- Porsche’s engineers used gnats to discover issues with the aerodynamics of their Porsche 917 racing car.
- Artist Heidi Mraz used this story as inspiration for a multi-layered art piece featuring over 1000 paper butterflies, to celebrate the car-maker’s history.
- ArtisanHD helped Heidi create her vision with a custom photo backdrop printed on Infinity Board.
- Lightweight and rigid, Infinity Board was the perfect material to use for Heidi’s custom art piece.
Good Art Inspires and Captivates the Imagination
Free from real-life rules and constraints, artwork allows artists to tell a unique story and encourages the audience to discover their own personal interpretations. Heidi Mraz’s “Aerodynamics by Entomology” is a fantastic example of how good art can inspire and captivate the imagination.
Through her use of vivid colors and layering of different mediums, she captures the essence of one of the world’s greatest racing icons. If you’re curious about seeing it in person, the art piece is available to view at the artist’s studio in Great Falls, VA (by appointment only).
To help Heidi bring her art piece to life, ArtisanHD’s experts used custom photo backdrop printing with the perfect materials to highlight all of her artistic choices. When you choose Artisan to create your own custom art prints, you can rest assured that our team has the expertise to help you pick the perfect design.