If you have ever attended the annual Dominion Energy Christmas Parade in downtown Richmond, you have probably seen the handiwork of Craig Hott. He’s been making floats for the event for the past 19 years. “It’s enjoyable stuff, but very challenging and a lot of work,” he says. “It’s not rocket science by any means, but there are certain things you need to do to make sure a float stays together when it’s going down the road.”

Every year, starting as early as October, Craig gets to work constructing the parade’s eight to ten floats—largely by himself. Often he works right up until the day before the parade. “One year I literally worked in here all night the day before the parade. I worked until 5:30 or 5:45 in the morning. Went home, took a shower and came right back.”

This year, Craig was tasked with creating the float for the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) at VCU. Collaborating with ICA Graphic Designer Meredith Carrington, Craig constructed a design that was both eye-catching and practical. “It’s a beautiful float, and ICA’s artistic background helps. The biggest challenge was figuring out how to put the pieces together to make the shape of the building.”

During the off-season, the float beds are completely stripped down and stored at a field in Hanover. “What most people don’t realize is that, for all this preparation, most of these floats don’t make it 24 hours. They go out in the morning and are back here by 2 or 3, and we immediately start tearing them down.”

When asked if he considers his work art Hott said, “I would say I’m artistic. I like to draw and work with my hands, but I don’t know if I’m an artist. I don’t think a true artist would label himself. It’s really up to other people to judge.” He added that he does plan to visit the ICA when it opens on April 21, 2018