Words by Richard Allen
Photography by LP Taylor Photography
VERONICA LOVATO IS AN ARTIST, AND LIKE MANY,SHE WRAPS HERSELF IN HER WORK, METAPHORICALLY.
She also wraps a number of other things in her work – literally.
Veronica, 42, is a wrap specialist for Greenfox Wraps. She takes something plain and makes it look as though someone spent a month painting it. However, while it is not painted, the result is one of which of whichLeonardo da Vinci himself would be proud.
“My brother was a mechanic and my dad was a carpenter. I just knew I was going to do something creative,” Veronica said.
A wrap is exactly what the name implies.It is a wrapping of vinyl sheets as decals on an object. Advancements in plastics have led to new types of vinyl designed specifically for wraps, including sheets that feature bubble-preventing air channels.
Microscopic glass beads are used to prevent an adhesive from functioning until the user is ready.The beads allow the material to be repeatedly lifted and reapplied during the wrapping process, without compromising the longevity of the wrap. The vinyl is heated with a heat gun or torch for the purpose of molding the material around objects.
“There’s something about a torch. The vinyl dances,” Veronica said.”A lot of classes today are teaching to use a heat gun, but I always prefer a torch.”
Wraps are often used in advertising, but not always. Veronica’s own car, her prized Camaro named Sam (“The moment I drove that car off the lot, it came to me, her name is Sam,” she said) has wraps and graphics featuring Marvel superheros.
“You can put this stuff virtually on anything,” she said. “If you want something wrapped, there’s a vinyl that can do it. It’s basically a big sticker.”
Veronica also said that wrapping an object does not deter its value. In fact, it conserves the value, she said.
“The minute you paint your car you’re losing value,” she said. “A wrap is temporary. If you change your mind, or want to make some changes, it’s a lot easier to do.
“Also, a wrap is a protectant. A rock is going to hit the wrap instead of the paint. And while they are on, your paint is fully protected.When you take those off, it does look like your car got a new paint job because it’s been preserved.”
While cars might be the most popular items to wrap, many others are also fooling folks into thinking they are paint jobs. For example, mascot logos on gymnasium floors.
“The newer gyms, I can probably guarantee it’s vinyl,” Veronica said. “Many decorations we see on floors, walls and buildings are actually wraps. Cowboys (AT&T) Stadium, American AirlinesCenter, that’s pretty much all vinyl.
“It makes a lot of sense. This takes about a day to install, but to paint it would take a month. Any detailed paint job like that is going to cost at least 10 grand, but you can get that same design on a print in five minutes, it takes a lot less time to apply, and you save so much time and money.”
Veronica also creates designs on her computer using her originality and imagination.
“I normally don’t like to get things off the internet. Then you’re most using someone stuff,” she said. “I love it when a customer gives me free range. The look on their faces when they come in to pick up their vehicle, that’s why I do this.”
Veronica’s wrapped a lot of things since she got into the business 15 years ago. These include a helicopter, a casket, and even prosthetic legs with maps on them.
“If you knew the places this girl traveled, the things she’s done, it would blow your mind,” she said.
But Veronica’s favorite items to wrap are baby helmets.Helmet therapy is a type of treatment prescribed for infants to help correct a baby’s skull shape. They work by directing growth from the flat spot and must be worn during the time when the skull is actively growing.
Veronica takes ordinary baby helmets and turns them into something special. One might have a Dallas Cowboys star on it, another looks likes a baseball with the TexasRangers logo.
She started wrapping baby helmets while still working in Lubbock for Elite Sign and Design.
“Me and my boss started doing baby helmet wraps for free. I’ve had parents just cry,” she said. “It makes it more of an accessory. It turns it into something cool.”
In fact, Veronica said that is the cause dearest to her heart. While she loves all aspects of wrapping, if the day comes when she can do nothing but wrap baby helmets, she’ll be thrilled.
“You can see the way her eyes light up when she talks about it. She wants to give back to the community,” said Toby Stephens, her supervisor at Elite Sign and Design, along with being her partner on the project when she started.
“You get older siblings who get jealous. They say,’Where’s mine?’ or ‘Why can’t I have one?’ They really are cool.”
Veronica first moved to the Metroplex five years ago to work for a nonprofit company that specializes in making baby helmets. Then, after a detour to Los Angeles for a couple of months, she came back when Greenfox called.
“Over there it’s nothing but Ferraris and Teslas, and they pay about the same, but the cost of living is so much more incredible out in L.A.,” she said.
It was in Lubbock where Veronica discovered she has a talent for wrapping. She already had a passion for art, having attended the Art Institute of Phoenix, where she studied visual art and graphics. She also had a prerequisite in photography, in which she is also talented.
“I wanted to work in the movies. That was my goal,”she said. “I took a picture of a girl with a scar. I edited the scar out and gave it to her. She said, ‘I didn’t know I could be that pretty.’ I said, ‘You are that pretty.’
“I started off as a designer at the sign shop. Vehicles started coming in, and being the kind of person I am, I said, ‘I want to go play with cars.’ So I went to Plano for a class.”
And though Veronica’s only been with Greenfox since October, she’s already made her share of fans locally.”She’s very professional. She’s flawless,” said TravisRobertson, owner of TX Plumbing in Stephenville.”I’ve had a lot of compliments on my trucks. It’s definitely a work of art.”
Veronica also prides herself on running all aspects of Greenfox Wraps. Not only does she install wraps, she designs them, runs production, sells them, and handles customer service.
“If you go to other shops, most of their designers don’t install, and most of their installers can’t design,”she said. “I like doing it all.
“I’m very blessed. I can’t imagine doing anything else. One of my favorite quotes is ‘Take the risk and learn to fly.’ I want to have memories from this life, not regrets. I also feel in some way I’m helping do that for others.”