We are excited to feature Ignition Arts Production Manager Michael Hoefle in this issue of IA Review. Michael has been with Ignition Arts since the very beginning, working with Brian to get the company up and running in 2016. As the primary link between the shop and office, he is integral to the whole of our company's operations. Read on below to hear more about Michael and his work here at Ignition Arts.
What's your work role at Ignition like? What does a workday look like for you?
I wear many different hats at Ignition. My main role is functioning as the link between the office and the shop. I’m responsible for ensuring that our fabricators have everything they need to successfully complete projects - this includes materials, drawings, equipment, and anything else they need to get the job done. I also work a lot on fabrication development and prototyping, ensuring that our computer aided designs become successful builds in the real world. Additionally I plan and lead the more challenging installs for IA. I have the most experience operating heavy equipment, working at heights, and I am a certified rigger. In addition to all of that, I carry out the role of Safety Coordinator, help out with estimating, and on occasion I get to do little design work.
Could you describe a favorite project? Why did you enjoy working on it?
I really enjoyed the two projects we completed for Cummins at their headquarters in Columbus, IN. The exploded engine that we relocated was a fantastically complex project. It was a great experience to be able to see the ingenuity that went into the original creation of the piece, and to play a role in refreshing the project to ensure it’s around for years to come. The other project we did at that site was the wall mounted Dodge Ram truck, which was an enormous challenge. It was exciting to lead that install and to accomplish a difficult task that other fabricators/installers had shied away from. That’s something I enjoy about IA, we’re not afraid to take on difficult projects that other companies aren’t willing to.
Could you describe an especially challenging project?
One project that comes to mind is Emily White’s Wavelength for the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport. Originally the project was supposed to be installed by a local Florida contractor who had a last-minute conflict. This was the first large project Ignition Arts had been contracted for at that time, and we had to scramble to put together a plan to complete the install by the deadline. I ended up overseeing the install with a small, inexperienced crew, but we worked through all the challenges of hanging the sculpture and were rewarded with a safe and successful install.
Do you have a background in the arts? How have your past experiences impacted your work at Ignition Arts?
I began my career in the arts working in commercial photography in Dallas, Texas. During this time I developed an interest in set-building and prop design which became an integral part of my personal art practice. After leaving the photo industry I earned a BFA in Photography from the University of Texas Arlington, and an MFA in Intermedia from IU’s Herron School of Art and Design (Brian was actually my Professor for a Public Art course). All of that experience is something I carry and use everyday.
Could you summarize what you enjoy most about working at Ignition Arts?
Prototyping is probably one of my favorite types of work at Ignition. I enjoy getting to work with new materials and processes, and prototyping for upcoming projects gives me the chance to experiment and play around while still accomplishing important work. I also enjoy completing projects. Everything we do involves a huge amount of difficult work and often a lot of anxiety - nothing beats finishing an install on a difficult project and being able to step back and appreciate the finished work.
Thanks for taking a moment to learn more about our fantastic staff! Michael is an invaluable member to the IA team, quite literally holding everything and everyone together through some very complicated jobs. Be sure to head over to Michael's Instagram to check out his projects at home and work, and of course, for updates on his fur friends.
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