Troy Vancil used Consolideck GemTone Stains to complete a personal tribute in Kansas.
Troy Vancil knows concrete and he knows art, and he also understands the options are virtually limitless when it comes to combining them, as long as you have the right tools.
Vancil, owner of Boulder Polishing, was commissioned in 2021 to complete a one-of-a-kind stencil in concrete for a reception hall in Assaria, Kan., on a plot of farmland owned by Jim Hanson.
Hanson descends from one of the families that homesteaded the land and established a municipality in the mid-1800s. Those immigrants included Hanson's mother, Marguerite, whose family immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1700s from England; and his father, Henry, whose father and grandfather came to Kansas from Sweden in 1869.
Hanson dedicated the reception hall to his parents by calling it H & M Saloon. The idea to commemorate Hanson’s family with a customized stencil design on the floor started with a couple oil stains, and quickly transformed into a collaborative artistic effort.
“I couldn’t get the oil stains sucked out of there, and I was ready to live with them, but Troy said maybe he could do something else with it,” said Hanson, owner of the venue. “I thought it sounded kind of fun.”
Vancil and his partner on the project, Shawn Wardall of Specialized Construction Services, got started on the newly expanded scope of the design – a 13-foot-by-7-foot installation featuring stenciled depictions of Hanson’s ancestors and their homes in Kansas.
First up was prepping the concrete surface. A scissor lift used during construction of the building had left hydraulic oil stains on the floor. Vancil cleaned that up with PROSOCO’s Oil & Grease Stain Remover, a poultice to pull oil and grease stains out of concrete. Then he cut out a few spots where stubborn stains remained, filled it up with micro-topping and applied a customized stencil from an Arkansas company called FLOORmaps Inc.
“I used half tones,” Vancil said. “If you blow those pictures up quite a bit, you can start seeing lines in them. It’s a dot matrix. You can see the width of the lines that create the image.”
For the concrete dyes, he used PROSOCO’s Consolideck GemTone Stains in Onyx, as well as Dark Brown for photos of Hanson’s family members and Amber for the wheat design.
The photos of the houses and farms hold historical and personal significance for the Hanson family.
"The picture on the lower right is where my Dad was born," said Hanson. "The one on the top is where my Mom was born, and is still standing. The house on the lower left is the house my Dad's side of the family built when they first came here in 1869."
When the final artwork was unveiled, Vancil could see how pleased the Hanson family was by watching their faces. When Hanson’s sister got a glance at the artwork, there were tears in her eyes, Vancil said.
What did it mean to Jim Hanson?
“My grandfather was 18 when he came here from Sweden,” he said. “This picture shows the house where my grandfather lived. It’s the house my dad was born in, and it’s the house I live in now. It makes me feel pretty proud.”