Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes

Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes


Agency: Communication Exhibits Inc.

Client: Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes

Event Name: SEMA show (Specialty Equipment Market Association) 2019

Agency Website:

The Brief

Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, a global leader in the paints and coatings industry dedicated their 2019 SEMA show (Specialty Equipment Market Association) exhibit to the artistic talents of those who loyally use their products in both their professional and personal work and to establish a scholarship program to address the talent shortage facing the automotive industry.

The 50’ x 60’ exhibit space prominently displayed 30+ customized artwork panels created specifically for the show ranging in sizes from 18” x 30” up to a massive 96” tall, fully airbrushed and pinstriped by some of the industry’s biggest names. Joe Vincent, Nathan Curry, Michael “Buckwild” Ramirez, Javier Soto, Juan “Munch” Gonzalez, Steve Gibson and Jenn Mayberry painted the largest panels selling at the show to benefit the first Blazing Trails Scholarship fund.

The exhibit space also needed to traditionally highlight Sherwin-Williams’ multiple products and individual brands by providing a showcase for customized vehicles, artist demonstrations, and celebrity appearances.

Communication Exhibits Inc. (CEI) accepted the challenge of refurbishing the previous year’s exhibit architecture into a full 360 art gallery, completed with a faux automotive paint booth feature below a centralized double deck structure. Several vintage vehicles and motorcycles needed also to be on display, all featuring the unique basecoat and paint finishes offered by the Sherwin-Williams Automotive brands.

The Solution and Activation

Our Design team utilized the 20’ x 20’ deck structure as a dual-purpose meeting and gallery space. Gone were the rustic wood and corrugated paneling from the previous year that incorporated the stylings of a 1940’s engine shop. In its place was a dynamic, clean aesthetic of a modern-day paint booth making full use of the underpass directly below the deck structure. White wall finishes and LED lighting panels highlighted both the artwork on display and the dramatic basecoat finishes applied to a 1950s Mercury Coup.

The outer structure of the double deck was fully encased within a fiberglass I-beam and rustic metal paneling system in the previous year, was updated to a more modern metallic clad finish, along with plexiglass and painted features. A larger scale, fully painted I-beam element featured the entirety of the Sherwin-Williams brands represented within the booth, while upper sections of the structure featured nearly a dozen mid-sized artworks (30”x48”) suspended from chain link fencing. Vintage gooseneck barn lighting, specialty equipped with LED lighting, shined down on the full-size (59” x 96”) artist panels, including a special memorial honoring the memory of 24-year-old Larsen Motorsports driver Katrina “Kat” Moller, who sadly died during a jet dragster exhibition earlier that year.

Two large corner unit vignettes that resembled a working garage the previous year have been modified to become dual sided artist demonstration areas. Equipped with working, custom made barn doors with an antiqued finish, these vignettes are equipped with a special air filtration unit for use during the live demonstrations. The ability to close the doors helped control the safety and aesthetic of the exhibit when not in use.

Other unique features of the exhibit included faux concrete and wood flooring, meeting rooms furnished with antiqued tables, chairs and sofa lounge and a one-of-a-kind custom chandelier made with client supplied paint cans suspended from an 8’ long rustic beam hung from the ceiling.

The Results

Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes Silent Art Auction at SEMA Raised More Than $25,000 With All Proceeds Going to The Blazing Trails Scholarship Fund. Not only did the first-year recipient receive a full-year of tuition with four brand new paint guns, other participating schools received much needed products from the automotive finish division of Sherwin-Williams. Those products range from refinish systems and custom paint, to collision repair products including body filler, hardener, abrasives, masking and more.

Complete media coverage included not only dedicated live streams for the event and auction, but full online and print support from Larsen Motorsports, Business Insider and the Collision Week Magazine. Dedicated coverage from within the industry also included Coatings World, Cision PR Newswire and the After Market News ensuring a full media blanket. The event created over 500k impressions through Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram sponsored content. Influencer engagement with the artists involvement alone created an upward of 3.25m cross channel views.

The highly promoted silent auction during the event solidified Sherwin-Williams brands commitment to their customers, community and support for the industry as a whole while offering its support to over 10,000 students annually through the educational outreach of the Blazing Trails Scholarship Fund.