At first I called everyone trying to talk manufacturers into feeling good about giving to art, or at least pitching down some obsolete product. I called all the manufacturers of LED displays in the US I could find. Then I branched out and hit Europe and Australia. “Hello, my name is Wes Modes and I’m an artist at the University of California. I’m looking for a donation or a long-term loan of some product for an exhibition in December…”
So far no dice.
One nice guy that several people referred me to was Alan Derber from Mandex Motion Displays, a place that rents LED displays. He couldn’t give me any signs either, though he did offer to rent them to me at a really generous price. He pointed out that most of the companies I’d called were really either companies in Malaysia or imported directly from China and India. He searched Ebay and identified a bunch of really sweet deals. He told me what brands to look for and what brands to avoid. Thanks, Alan.
I know I have friends who buy stuff 0n Ebay all the time, it still feels like a sketchy proposition to me. But I broke down and placed bids on a few lots of LED displays.
Now I am the owner of five 26″programmable RS232 -controlled LED message displays.