Students and professor create new look for Mustang – Herald & Tribune
By SERINA MARSHALL
Few can say that they are able to watch their art pass them at 70 mph on a highway. However, William “Bill” Bledsoe, assistant professor of art and design at Tusculum University, certainly can.
Bledsoe, along with the junior and senior design students at Tusculum, decided they wanted to leave a unique mark not only in the Mustang world, but the world as a whole.
âWe put together a design package and every student got a job,â Bledsoe said. “They were either website, photograph or layout.”
Then 2020 arrived, and COVID-19 halted the project in its tracks.
âI didn’t want to continue doing it without the kids,â Bledsoe said. “But once we got back, we got to work and did a presentation to show to Gateway Ford owner (in Greeneville), Lenny Lawson.”
The brochure showed the base car and then what it would look like after the package details were applied. The brochure was marketable and showed a Mustang that would be affordable and could be applied to any model, with only a 48 hour turnaround time.
Once Lawson got the presentation in his hands, he was impressed and wanted to help.
â(Bledsoe) needed a vehicle to start the project. When it first arrived, I was skeptical, âLawson said. âBut then I saw the packaging of the model car and looked at the brochure they had created. I was like ‘Whoa! It’s incredible.’ Bill drew it himself. It was his interpretation of the car he wanted. I said, ‘Okay, I’ll get you a Mustang.’ “
The Mustang Bledsoe and its students received was a late 2018 model. The prototype took about two months.
âWe went to Foster Signs and I was blown away by the quality,â said Bledsoe. “The balance of the tape (on the car) with the outline of the car, you don’t realize the art involved.”
Bledsoe hopes that they can get the package protected by copyright and trademark.
âIt’s an American Touring Series (ATS) and the renderings are great,â said Lawson. âIt has different price points at different levels, so it’s customizable. “
Bledsoe’s love for the Mustang is nothing new – it dates back many years, his son recalls.
âDad has always been a Mustang fan. His first car was a 1967 Mustang, âsaid Will Bledsoe. âHe has followed the evolution of the Mustang since its inception. He followed the changes and revisions Ford made, and how they would change the look and appeal to fans. I grew up with the Ford Mustang fantasy and learned to love it on my own.
Will is one of five students who worked on the project with Bledsoe. The other designers involved are Kaitlin Irvin, Riley Burns, Emilie Hansen and Daniel Gongora.
âI’m currently in the process of getting a minor in web design and for one of my computer classes I had to build a website from scratch,â Hansen said. Since I am an art major, it made perfect sense to help Mr. Bledsoe and the Tusculum art department.
with the project and be part of the team as a website developer.
Gongora was seen as an important part of the squad as Bledsoe turned to him for an international preview.
âI would ask him about the production and what he likes and dislike and explain to him,â Bledsoe said. âHe said ‘Magnificent!’ He was delighted with it. “
Bledsoe entered the project without any expectations. But when Quality Trophy and Engraving’s Mike Burleson took a photo of the seal and put it on Instagram, it blew up.
âI made the car identification tags,â Burleson said. âI put it on social media and it got a lot of attention. I do the engraving for the Mustang Club awards, so I was hooked up with them. Looks like a brand new car. It’s just a nice car.
Almost everything for the entire car was manufactured locally.
Gateway Ford salesman Blake Higgins made it his goal to gauge customer interest as he presented the car.
âI understand customers and I appeal,â Higgins said. âPrinting is as important as anything. “
According to Bledsoe, those first impressions were exactly what he hoped for.
âEveryone wanted him,â Bledsoe said. âWhen he was towed out of the line for the first time, everyone was trying to see him. People were beeping and watching.
And the designer students who contributed to the project were thrilled to see the final project they helped create.
âMy favorite part was probably getting to see the car in person for the first time. Normally, as a graphic design student, you don’t always see the end product of your work, âBurns said. âIt almost always stays on the computer in 2D format. But, when I saw the car for the first time, I was speechless. Seeing something that you spend hours achieving is a feeling that I cannot describe.
The feeling of accomplishment doesn’t end there.
âI’m very excited to see the final product and what others think and have to say about it,â Irvin said. âThat’s what interests me to know. My first impression was honestly astonishment. I was interested in the fact that (Bledsoe) included some students in the project.
The base Mustang package will include hood treatment, full spare tire, C-band, and a leather holster tucked under the car seat with all the specifics of your custom car.
âWhen you get into your car for the first time, there will be a polo shirt in your color of choice with the ATS emblem and a matching hat,â said Bledsoe. “And there will be a certification number where you can find your car
on the ATS website. Your car, date, colors, package, everything.
With the package accessible to everyone, it makes the project even more special.
âIt was a big project, and it’s nice to see it come to fruition,â said Bledsoe. “It’s an excerpt from the story.”