Say you’re an artist, and you have a vision for a multihued shade canopy made up of tinted circles webbed together. Or maybe you’d like to create a giant flamingo head dipping down into an airport concourse, its neck seeming to disappear into the speckled ceiling. Maybe your vision is a little more straightforward: you just want to suspend a couple of 20-foot rings above a grassy clearing.
You’d better know a guy in Indianapolis. His name is Brian McCutcheon, and he’s the creative director of Ignition Arts. Founded by McCutcheon and Tasker Day, the company offers “high-quality fabrication, craft, and management to clients with unique and creative projects.”
The company’s projects can be seen across the country, with a special concentration in its home state of Indiana. Ignition Arts can create museum displays and bronze sculptures, but the company is best known for grand pieces that make you think, “How did they do that?”
“Ignition Arts understands that there are many stages in the creation of a work of art,” McCutcheon told CODAworx. “The concept starts in an artist’s mind but then has to travel a long path to the public sphere. This is something that happens in stages. We understand all of those stages, including the very practical aspects of budgeting, construction and transport.”
McCutcheon is an artist himself, “using all media to create highly crafted sculptural work, much of which is large scale and public.” That gives him a special appreciation for the collaborative nature of such pieces, and Ignition Arts can begin working with artists before a commission is even accepted, collaborating on design development then ultimately handling the complex logistics of fabrication, installation, and project management.
It’s no coincidence that Ignition Arts is located in Indianapolis. The city offers “ample amounts of physical space, a robust network of industry experts, and a rich history of auto manufacturing and custom car culture,” notes the company on its website.
McCutcheon grew up in Michigan, and he told Towne Post that early experiences helping his uncle fix cars were formative. “In retrospect, I realize my uncle lives like an artist,” McCutcheon said.
Ignition Arts occupies an 18,000-square-foot building in the Central State neighborhood, where it’s part of a mixed-use development incorporating historic structures from a decommissioned psychiatric hospital. The company collaborates with businesses like Indy Urban Hardwood, which sourced recycled lumber to fabricate a Chicago sculpture by MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Walter Hood.
The company is also responsible for the “ndy” script sculptures that have become iconic landmarks of Indiana’s capital city. Designed by McCutcheon, each sculpture creates an interactive photo op where you become the I. The artist eagerly accepted the invitation to create another community art project for a city where he’s done several.
“We take great pride,” McCutcheon told the Indianapolis Star, “in working with the community.”