Their motto – it’s your story; we’ll help you tell it. They can build the tree house of your dreams, a pirate ship, or even an “Indiana Jones” themed “man cave.” They build wild things that are meant to catch the eye, and they’re grabbing the attention of businesses all over the country. CBS47’s Joey Horta went inside Monster City Studios where the magic begins.


By JOEY HORTA | May 9, 2017

If you can imagine it – they can make it.


That’s pretty much what happens inside a little-known shop on the outskirts of Fresno.

Their clients range from baseball parks to theme parks. They build wild things that are meant to catch the eye, and they’re grabbing the attention of businesses all over the country.

CBS47’s Joey Horta went inside Monster City Studios where the magic begins.

Right off Highway 180 just west of Highway 99, you may have noticed a totally out-of-place pirate ship that seems to have run aground.

And just a hop skip and a jump away, lies a whimsical tree house straight out of a cartoon.

“People wonder all the time where this type of stuff comes from. Well it comes from here,” said James Powell, vice president of Monster City Studios.

“People wonder all the time where this type of stuff comes from. Well it comes from here.”

Powell specializes in “taking something that’s just a dream or imagination or idea – and put it to paper and build it and make it something amazing,” he said.



Their portfolio since opening five years ago includes an “Indiana Jones” themed “man cave” for an eccentric customer.

They can even do the treehouse of your childhood dreams. Their motto – it’s your story; we’ll help you tell it.

They bring Styrofoam to life.

It can end up as a life-sized elephant with a couple of safari guides along for an adventure.

While the guard dog may be intimidating with those long legs, there are no real monsters in here – just some gentle giants.

“It has two arms on the side of it that can move up and down so kids can climb into kind of the belly region,” said Laura Nigon-Holmgren, president of Monster City Studios.

Underneath everything here is a piece of foam. It’s so brittle you can scratch away at it just like that, but then they spray this coating and its so tough you can hit it.

 

Their creations that start out as a sketch can end up anywhere from theme parks to Chukchansi Park. Like the Fresno Grizzlies’ Farm Grown Zone.

Most of it they can’t even talk about.

Powell said, “We just finished a really large project for a major amusement park that’s here in California that many people will see, but unfortunately I can’t say where it’s at.”

So where do these 13 creative minds come from? And why Fresno?

Much of their team moved here from all over the country, and while most of their customers are in Los Angeles.

“We did that here in Fresno. Nobody knows, but we did it.”

They say it’s more affordable to operate in Fresno.

Projects to look out for: a rhino is heading to the Fresno Yosemite International Airport to promote the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. Look for it on your next flight.

It’s all brought to life by Monster City Studios – a name they just thought would stick in your head.

So the next time you’re out and about and see something that catches your eye, it may just come from here.

Powell said, “We did that here in Fresno. Nobody knows, but we did it.”


 

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