We have been busy over here at TSM and we finally
get to feature Tempera Tantrum brought to you by
Jordan over at Golden Sign Co. and his colleagues were nice enough to
tell us about Tempera Tantrum and how they put it together. They also provided
us with some photos of the art show that featured only Shocards that they put on in a friends garage.
Tempera Tantrums came to be a sort of stress release thing that a
bunch of LATTC classmates did on the weekends. a way to get together
outside of the hectic environment in class and just have a few beers,
talk letters, and do up some quick silly show cards in tempera paint.
The first Tempera Tantrum happened sort of spontaneously after they
screened the “Sign Painters” movie on campus at Los Angeles Trade
Tech. After the screening, we invited a bunch of classmates back to
our apartment for some beers, and someone brought out butcher paper
and the red sable brushes, and we thought we might be on to something.
A few weekends go by, and our good friend Ben Klevay offered to host a
Tantrum at his Echo Park garage, which is tiny, but he has an 8 foot
easel in there, and another 6 feet of wall space adjacent to that, so
on any given tantrum, we could have upwards of 6 people painting all
The thing that’s unique about these Tempera Tantrums is that we only
use Tempera paint (Rich Art, if you can find it!), so there are no
stinky paint fumes or mineral spirits to deal with. On top of that,
the paint dries in about 10 minutes and you can paint a sign from
start to finish with outlines and shades in under an hour, which you
can’t always do with 1shot.
After a few of these weekend paint jams, Ben decided we should have an
art show in his garage (called Luddite studio) at the end of the
semester and show all of the show cards we had made. Once that was
decided, the Tantrums took on new meaning, and at each one we’d get
more and more excited about the show, and the showcards got weirder
Show cards back in the day were mainly used as temporary signs, so the
sign painter never spent too long on them, and therefore they were
done quickly and loosely. We tried to sort of channel that spirit and
keep these things quick and fun, not get too hung up on them, and just
bust out as many as we could. By the time the show came around, we all
got together and laid them out in Luddite Studio, and to our surprise,
we completely covered the walls from floor to ceiling! They all fit
together like a Tetris game, it was perfect.
That next Saturday was the show, and the place filled out like crazy.
Friends and family and people who just heard about it from instagram
showed up, it was rewarding to see the smiles on peoples faces when
they walked into that tiny, overflowing space. Towards the end of the
night, our instructor and mentor Doc Guthrie showed up with a show
card in hand that he did just for the show, and of course it blew us
all away. The guy is a living legend, a true journeyman, and we all
owed it to him for introducing us to show card writing and tempera
paint and the basic fundamentals that we all learned together, the
same core building blocks Trade Tech has been teaching since they
started the sign graphics program in the 1920’s.
Now that class is out and we’re all dispersed for the summer, I think
its safe to say that we all miss getting together and slinging that
watery paint in a tiny sloping garage. Thanks Ben for the studio
space, thanks Doc for showing us the way, and thank you James for
sharing the fruits of our late night lettering with the world! Follow
our classmates on Instagram if you feel like it, or don’t!
@lavetaluddite @lettercatsignco @thatcharlieboy @monglo
@davey_makes_letters @midcitystoner @peasforeveryone @gabette