Love for Vintage Signs

An artist at heart

My full-time profession lies in education. For over two decades, I have instructed students in the wonderful and fascinating world of art. The subjects of art history and the visual / fine arts have served as the conduit for me and my efforts to challenge and encourage my students to think and respond creatively to the world around them. In addition to teaching, I continually strive to develop my own work as a fine artist, illustrator, and purveyor of curiosities that abound amidst such pursuits.

This particular field, of historical sign reproduction has been a fascination of mine and is something I have pursued (on the side) for some time. In my recent reflection on this side-pursuit, it dawned on me that I have maintained my sign painting efforts throughout my entire profession as a full-time educator. My acknowledgment of this parallel existence (albeit to varying degrees through the years), serves - for me - as an an authentic indicator of validation for my passion and commitment towards the pursuit of wooden, hand-painted signs.

Because it truly is something that I enjoy doing, the signboards produced are highly rendered, distinctly original, and are nothing like the products you might find on some of the other websites that offer "old, historic signs..." etc. The very things that are important to me are the areas in which I feel my work separates itself from everyone else: craftsmanship, attention to details, physical paint surface / quality, patina, quality of finishing touches. My signs possess a layered appearance - appropriately aged / distressed though time-worn traditions, yet maintain a stable, structural integrity that will ensure their life for many decades to come.

Not all signs are created equally

As a consumer, please be aware of businesses offering such signs. Some use words like "vintage, rustic, reproduction, authentic, museum-quality, painted, etc." to describe their signboards, yet this can be quite misleading. Be careful of any / all of the following:

  • silk-screened versions containing little (if any) hand-painting

  • mass-produced stenciled copies

  • watered-down versions of museum originals (that look like mere 'cartoons' of the real specimen.

  • signs that are made on cheap plywood, lacking the physical character of old wood.

  • signs framed using thin, cheap, cookie cutter molding from the hardware store (some businesses don't even offer molding for their signboards).

  • maybe the most frightening >> some signs being sold are actually laser printed versions of an image; these prints are mounted onto plywood and made to look as like they have been hand-painted on wood, but are nothing more than 'posters'.

My hand-painted wooden signs are often mistaken for antiques

It has never been my interest to stamp-out high volume products in an effort to turn a large profit. It that was the case, my fear is that this would inevitably become a pursuit lacking substance -- something more akin to a "job". Therefore, if you are seeking a more 'commercial look' for your sign, I may not be your "guy". However, if a work of art is what you desire, you may just find something that strikes your fancy.

Because creating a sign from this collection demands a tremendous amount of time (and I am a "one-man show"), I thank my customers ahead-of-time for your patience. Each sign is made from scratch, with respect to the time a customer places an order. The turn-around time normally falls around 4-6 weeks (on average) for a sign and each order is normally handled in a first-come/first-served basis.