Will Sears is a sign painter originally from Philadelphia, currently residing in Portland Maine.
Along with sign painting he also does amazing fine artwork. We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his work.
My Name is Will Sears,
Originally from Philadelphia, currently residing in Portland, Maine
TSM- How long have you been painting signs?
My first sign I painted was 2 years ago this October, I’ve been painting signs for a living now for a year and change.
TSM- Who were your inspirations/mentors in learning the craft?
I’ve always had an eye for unique typography. My mom was a Graphic Designer and I was babysat by her handing me font books to browse through while she worked. As I started really looking up towards artists that I wanted to model my career after or whom I really respected, Steve Powers (espo), and Margaret Kilgallen really left a deep impression. They opened my eyes to the expanse of talented sign painters that were out there and how rich the culture was.
As for commercial sign painters which I then discovered, New Bohemia was my first real influence. Shortly after discovering nbs, I saw that Josh Luke (formally of New Bohemia, now Best Dressed Signs) was having a show at Orchard Skate Shop in Boston, so I made my way down there and had my mind blown.
I had the privilege of getting to meet Josh, his wife Meredith, and later, Kenji Nakayama, and frisso, all of whom have had a really strong influence on my career.
It’s a spot shame that I’ve never done an apprenticeship – but I’m still young and hope to get a chance to do one soon before all my bad habits that I don’t know about set in.
TSM- Advice for those wishing to learn the craft?
Haha, I’m affraid I’m still figuring it out – Just be hungry I guess, and patient.
TSM- Is painting your full time job? If so, how did you make the tradition from
your typical day job to what you do now for a living?
Painting is my full time job and a half. except when I’m working on my fine art. –
I was lucky enough to have a gig that was seasonal, doing art production for big music festivals. It paid me a big chunk in the fall, and instead of saving money for the winter I would spend all my time and money painting signs for my self as a way of learning techniques. after a winter of being really broke and painting a bunch I started sneaking in some real commercial jobs for friends till more and more there were requests to do jobs. I think that sacrifice of some kind is nessecary. Taking a leap of faith and getting burnt a few times in order to produce things you’re really proud of is important. You need to value the earning potential of your time even if its not currently earning you anything. – its a marathon, not a sprint.
TSM- How do you approach potential clients about investing in a hand painted sign?
I start by figuring out the mission of the company, and try to inform them that a lot of the qualities that they take pride in about their company reflect well in the care and human-touch thats required to hand-paint.
TSM- What is the best way that you have found to get your name out there to get exposure
and to get more work?
Hands down the best marketing, I’ve found is doing the best job you can on your current project – referrals from happy customers encourage the right kind of client since they know what they’re gettin’ into.
TSM- A link to your website?
a bit of a mouthful cause all the good ones were taken…
and my fine art site:
Lifes a garden…Dig It.