We were stoked to finally have a Sign Painters art show
in Orange County CA. Curated by Colt Bowden at
the Marcas Gallery in downtown Santa Ana.
The turnout was great and the gallery has been open to
the public since December 6th. Signs were submitted
from all over showcasing different styles and colors.
Over the last month Brady Martinson has been the
resident sign painter in the gallery and has kept the doors
open to the public and the response has been really positive.
Colt was kind enough to answer a few questions about the show
and we thank him for all of his hard work.
I have not received any inquiries to personally accept anyone as an apprentice, and I am hardly qualified to be a master teacher to someone in the trade. Though I have had a few groups of artists and typography enthusiasts ask for instruction within the skill of brush lettering.
What are your thoughts on doing sign painting workshops? Is it something that you support or is it potentially training your competition?
I think sign painting workshops can be a good thing. Though I do not think that taking a single workshop would qualify someone to venture out into the trade.. That being said, there is far to much condemnation concerning teaching people and giving them a hands on experience in sign painting. The trade is only dying in the aspects of the manufactures of sign painting materials giving up on the general publics need for such things. If there were to be a high demand for better products and learning experiences and training in sign painting, we would see the demand for high quality hand painted signage increase dramatically within the commercial art and graphics world that is currently run by vinyl wrapping idiots who left their souls at the door when they cashed in for the latest graphtec plotter 30 years ago. Sorry to rant.. but I feel that the corn field whispers speaking to Kevin Costner said it perfectly “If you build it, they will come.”
I remember you mentioning talking with Ed Templeton about painting and how its ok if lines are wavy or don’t appear to be perfect. Is that something that you keep in mind when painting a sign? If so, how does your client feel about the slight imperfections?
I feel that in art, that is a good momento to live by. But in commercial art, and professional sign painting, it is better to strive for perfection and work hard to build a skill level that can paint a straight line. Slight imperfections will always exist within hand painted signs, we have blood pulsing through our veins, not electric diodes! You can always paint a little better if you strive to.
Other than painting signs, you also do letterpress zines and art shows such as “Icy Caps” and soon “Spicy Caps” that bring people together and help share the beauty of hand painted signs to the community. Your not strictly doing one or the other but have your hand in many creative avenues. Do you have an ultimate goal in mind as far as your career is concerned?
Ultimately, my goal is to help build the community around me in whatever I do, whether it’s sign painting, skate boarding, illustrating or raising a family. Sharing the love and passion for whatever interests me and seeing it set off the spark within another is gratifying enough. Being able to make a living and provide for my family is an added bonus, because of all the other jobs I’ve tried along the way, I always come back to being creative with my hands and my mind. It’s fulfillment to my soul, and that makes for a happy life.
Thanks for this interview James!