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Willis Enviro-Graphics come home!

I make no secret about my love for Willis artwork in all of its cheesy 80’s goodness. It’s not just the artwork, but the history of Willis Industries and what the company did for the arcade game industry that intrigues me, and I’m constantly on the lookout for new information and artwork. I’m not sure if there is a proverbial “grail” piece of Willis artwork, but if anything would come close, it would have to be the Willis Enviro-Graphics package (or WEG’s for short). To learn more about this amazing arcade artwork, check out my original post Willis Enviro-Graphics, or bye bye Wico!.

Willis Enviro-Graphics

If you were an operator back in the day, these large wall hanging graphics were meant to give your arcade a little ambiance, to spruce things up a bit, or just to act as some quality signage for contests. Now when I say large, I mean 30″ x 50″ kinda large, we’re talking 1500 square inches of Willis graphical delight! These were some darn big posters! I have been looking for WEG pieces, any of them, on and off for a couple of years, without much luck. I did find the little Battle Damage sign, but what were the chances that any of the massive, foam core mounted artwork actually survived? Apparently chances were pretty good. Enter Pete in MA. Pete contacted me through one of the arcade game collector social forums to ask if I’d be interested in some Willis artwork. I get these messages a lot because not many people are actually looking to buy Willis artwork, most just want to get rid of it. Typically the seller has one of the more common overlay’s that I’ve already got a stack of, always a let down. Not this time! While Pete certainly had a snoozer cpo for sale, he also had the mother load of Enviro-Graphics! Here are a few pics of Pete’s game room.

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I was pretty amazed to see all that WEG artwork in the wild as it had eluded me for so long. Pete told me he found the artwork during a warehouse raid on the East Coast, apparently the operator had stored the whole set in a series of architectural flat files. Some of the set had been given away to local collectors but he still had a fair amount and with new games coming into the game room he wanted the wall space. While not willing to sell it all, we did agree on two pieces. Including the amazing die cut piece shown below which is wider than two Midway cabinets! Now how to get them from MA to IL without paying $150 to ship? Pete got the pieces packed up at his buddies sign shop and gave me the details. 48″ x 48″ x 2″ and about 18lbs, yeesh, this would be fun to ship. I tried a couple of the, “Anyone heading from MA to IL want to bring something back?” posts in the forums and almost got lucky, but ended up pricing out the shipping via ground service. I opted for FedEx which cost $64, very fair compared to the other pricing I got. $64 is a lot to spend on shipping for a cheap a** arcade collector like myself, but I figured what the heck, why not splurge and get something for myself? Before long I had the tracking info and the package was on its way.

Willis Enviro-Graphics

Besides a slight snafu, and FedEx toying with my emotions, the package arrived safe and sound. I can’t really call it a package, it was more like a flat tank. Pete really went out of his way to make sure the artwork was packed safely, thanks Pete. It took me a few minutes to carefully undo the box as I didn’t want to slice the artwork. But here it is, two pieces of Willis Enviro-Graphics artwork to add to the collection. Now I just have to figure out where to hang it 🙂

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