Saturday, 3 October 2015

And I thought it would be a regular sign shop.

Back in 1987 I started what I thought was going to be just another sign shop. Within a short period of time, it turned into a full blown scene shop. It wasn't long before some very talented artists started showing up on my doorstep. It's funny how they just seem to find you. It was a real education working shoulder to shoulder with them on a daily bases. It was the type of education you couldn't get from school, except for the School of Hard Knocks. Keep in mind, this was before the computers and CNCs came in in to the picture, although the Gerber 4 was just starting to make inroads into the sign industry. Everything was done by hand, both painting and fabrication. The days where spent pounding out backdrops, murals, signs, and props. It was a crazy time to say the least, but was also a blast. Kind of miss those day, must be getting old.

 Hand painted canvas panels. I believe it was 10' x 40'. It was painter for the Vulcan Space Centre. They wanted something that the tourists could  have their pictures taken in front of.  It was designed to have the end panels folded in, creating the illusion of being on the deck of the Star Ship Enterprise. 

What really helps to sell big paintings like this, is trying creating a sense of depth through the use  light and shadow. If all else fails...make it look cool.

    This project was designed to brighten up the halls after a  major  store pulled out out of the mall.
We would come in early, before the mall opened, so we could project the layout  for the day. All the layouts were done using  light blue pencil crayons (non photo). That way you didn't have to erase any lines as they were only visible up close. And it also kept people wondering how we could paint the images with no layout to follow. Had more than a few come up and ask.

You can never go wrong with a circus mural, people seem to enjoy looking at them. As long as you don't have a clown phobia or something.This project really got a lot of attention people went down the hallways just to check out the mural.

These are made painted trade show props. It's amazing what you can do with a sona tube, and some muslin. If you sand the ribs from the spiral off,  and glue muslin to the surface, you get a get a nice smooth surface to paint on.

More product displays for a trade show. All the lettering and graphics were hand painted back then. The boxes themselves, were build from cardboard. The first vinyl cutter was just starting to make it's appearance, but was still in its infancy stage. It didn't take long to see the writing on the wall. Big changes were coming to the way  signs would be made, and being skilled at lettering wouldn't be so important, if needed at all.

This was the store front done for a baggage company. It was sculpted out of styro foam, then coated with a product call Foam Coat. The silver base coat was water based clear, mixed with aluminum powder. Graphics were all hand painted. There is also a tail section and mural inside the store. 

Most of the sculpting was done by my brother Randy. Using a model kit for the layout worked great, everything was to a scale, we just sized it up to full scale. I still have the model kit, but never got around to putting it together. Maybe it could be a winter project. Complete with Buffalo Airways graphics:)

 The mural was painted on muslin in the shop. After trimming the canvas to the shape of the hanger, it was taken to site, and glued to the wall using wall paper paste. It's a great way to do commercial jobs. You only need to be on site for the install. It can be a bit of a challenge to say the least, working on site with the trades, who are also trying to get their work done. But I have seen some interest hand shadow puppets when project the layout. 

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