Full Spectrum Ice Sculptures designs, produces, and displays the highest quality custom ice sculptures for the Austin and San Antonio areas. Full Spectrum has created hundreds of sculptures for clients who appreciate their consistently superior services. With innovative designs and techniques, Full Spectrum is consistently pushing the envelope and adding impact to local events. We asked Full Spectrum owner, Sean Leahy about his unique local business:
What does Full Spectrum Ice do and when was it founded? How did you first connect with LocalizeAustin?
Full Spectrum Ice Sculptures serving Austin and San Antonio, TX, designs, produces, and displays the highest quality, custom ice sculptures for the client who appreciates consistently superior services. We officially opened for business locally in November 2010 with the support of my wife and family. I first connected with LocalizeAustin’s Rebecca Otis at a small business class in Austin in the Fall of 2010 when our companies were still in the idea phase.
How many people are on your team?
For the most part, I am a one man operation at this point. I do get help and support from my wife, parents and a mix of other delivery people when needed. I am currently looking for permanent delivery/warehouse personnel with a reliable vehicle.
How did you learn how to sculpt ice?
I have always had a passion for art from a very young age. I continued my pursuit in college as I earned my BA in Studio Art from Webster University. After returning home from a semester in Vienna, Austria I had a conversation with my brother who is a chef. Historically ice sculpting is a culinary art. He brought up the idea of learning how to sculpt ice and pointed me in the direction of a company, Ice Visions in St. Louis (where I grew up and was living at the time). I called and spoke with the owner, David Van Camp, and told him I was an art student interested in learning a new medium. I was told to come in on Monday morning. It started out as a paid apprenticeship and grew into a full time job after I finished my last semester. I worked there for 6 years learning everything I could about sculpting and the business.
What kinds of equipment do you use to create your ice sculptures?
There are a lot of different tools and equipment that are used to create ice sculptures. I have machines that make the large 300 pound blocks of ice, equipment to harvest and trim the raw blocks, a walk in freezer that I work in and store the ice, and of course the tools to create the sculptures. The main tool I use to make the sculptures is an electric chainsaw. This allows me to remove the large chunks of ice and roughly shape the silhouette. I then use chisels and die-grinders with different shaped bits that spin at high rates to add details and give the sculptures a clean finish. There are other items that are used for various techniques, but my primary asset is my aesthetic and ability to design pieces that look good and work logistically.
What occasions do you think are fitting for an ice sculpture?
There are many occasions that are fitting for ice sculptures. I find myself doing a lot of work for weddings, corporate parties and other major events/ celebrations. Ice sculptures create a memorable impact on guests that they might not get from other decorations or branding products. It is unique and can be a good photo opportunity or conversation piece. I try to encourage functional pieces (drink luges, food displays, interactive photo ops, etc) so that the sculpture becomes more of a part of the event rather than just something to look at.
We’ve seen some incredible ice sculptures in your portfolio. What were some of your favorites and why?
Thank you for your kind words about my work, I truly appreciate it. There are a few projects that I have done recently that I really enjoyed and was challenged by. Often times, sculptures that are larger than life have a huge impact and really stop people in their tracks. The two projects that I have in mind are, a multi block Abbey Road recreation that I did for the 2012 ISES Austin Culinart, All We Need Is Love (photos courtesy of Cory Ryan). This was an iconic image, and who doesn’t like the Beatles? The second project was for a Star Wars themed party. I created a 14′ long, Planet Hoth themed curved bar with Ion Cannon drink luges and a life size rendition of a Taun Taun from the Star Wars movies (photos courtesy of Farmout Productions). The Star Wars party was especially fulfilling and fun because I got to show off a variety of products and skills including color logo work, a fully functional bar and the 3D creature that was over 8′ tall.
I am not exactly sure how you define “high profile”, but I have done sculptures for every home game of the San Antonio Spurs 2012 playoff run. I have also been involved in quite a few really nice weddings, and several corporate parties at SXSW.
What social media channels does Full Spectrum Ice use and why?
Full Spectrum Ice Sculptures uses Facebook, Twitter (@fullspectrumice) and Instagram (fullspectrumice) primarily. These channels work great for me because ice translates pretty well in photos that people like to look at. I also like the ability to interact with my clients and vise versa. Some times people don’t know what they don’t know and having the ability to show people what can be done with ice is a great way to inspire others to consider how they can use it at their parties.
How has Austin had an impact on your business?
I have received a ton of support from Austin! When I first started thinking about where I wanted to start my company I looked at two factors, fastest growing cities and cites with out NICA certified sculptors. NICA is the National Ice Carving Association which I have been a member of since 2005. I am a certified Professional Sculptor and a certified Educator and have recently been elected to the board. Austin was at the top of the list in both categories. When I talked to people about my idea of moving here, I did not even get one so so response, everyone loved it and highly recommended Austin. It is very inspiring to see a lot of young people starting their own businesses and to feel the energy of a growing city, I couldn’t be more excited to be here.
What other local Austin products or services do you use in your business?
Most of my business comes from other Austin based companies, mainly event planners, hotels and caterers. Having these relationships is very valuable and much appreciated. They are mutually beneficial relationships and it is fun to contribute to creating successful events. I don’t use a lot of local products in my creations, but love to support local businesses in my personal life.
To see more of Sean’s ice sculptures visit the Full Spectrum Gallery