6 Month Update (!)

Time flies when you're working hard! There have been a lot of changes to my life and work in the last 6 months, including a studio move, an apartment move, and plenty more sign painting opportunities. The biggest is that I've been able to quit my day job to focus solely on my own clients! Here are a few other highlights:

I had a couple other opportunities to work with La Colombe coffee—they're a great company and I'm proud to have them on my client list. This fall I repainted their fascia signs at their West Loop location and painted a new sign for their new roastery in Logan Square. Working outside also means getting to meet great people randomly, including Richard Loos, who shot this video.

Pappas Restaurants has also kept me busy, with several trips to locations in Houston and Birmingham, AL, with Stephen Reynolds. These projects are ongoing and a great opportunity to hone my craft, and it is still an honor and a great opportunity to get to work with the inimitable Mr. Reynolds!

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This summer I did some work for The Promontory in Hyde Park. 

 Bob Behounek

Bob Behounek

Last month I finished this series of two double-sided panels as a show piece. They are enamel on 18x24" aluminum sign blanks, and they are for sale. Contact me for prices.

I also got to meet the great Bob Behounek! This man has been painting signs in the greater Chicago area for years and was featured in the Sign Painters book and movie from Faythe Levine and Sam Macon. His brush lettering ability is unmatched, and he also started the Chicago Bushmasters, a charitable group that gets together frequently to paint and sell their pieces. Proceeds go to Ronald McDonald House. What a guy.

And finally, I was interviewed for f News Magazine, a student publication of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, for an article on sign painting.

There's a lot more, but I'll save it for later. If you don't already, follow me on Instagram for (much more frequent) updates. And there's more in the works!

Everything's bigger (and hand-painted) in Texas

I recently took a two week trip down to Houston, TX with fellow sign painter and mentor Stephen Reynolds to work for Pappas Restaurants. They're a family-owned chain with several different brands, and every one of their dozens (hundreds?) of locations is covered in hand-painted details—the perfect client. Stephen has been painting signs for them all around the country for 20 years, but this was my first rodeo! (yuk yuk *snort*)

 One of our temporary nighttime work stations

One of our temporary nighttime work stations

We spent the remaining 5 nights of our trip coming up with graphic solutions on the fly and basically racing to finish before we had to leave again—a night-owl sign painter's dream.

 Climbed up on that ladder for a welcoming sign.

Climbed up on that ladder for a welcoming sign.

We'll be heading back down soon to finish that job we didn't get to. In the meantime, head on over to the gallery to see the finished signs.

 Have brush, will travel.

Have brush, will travel.

 "That's hand-painted??"

"That's hand-painted??"

The plan was to do most of the custom sign painting for a new restaurant opening soon, but when we arrived they weren't ready for us. Luckily they had plenty more for us to do! We headed to two of their established Houston locations for three nights each of graveyard-shift painting before being called in on another special new project: a high-end version of one of their brands was opening in the lobby of a downtown Houston hotel, and they wanted our special touch on the graphics and lettering there.

 Beautiful bull. Don't know about that drop ceiling though.

Beautiful bull. Don't know about that drop ceiling though.

Getting to work next to Stephen was the highlight of the trip. He has a vast collection of invaluable advice and tools for getting a job done, no matter what gets thrown at you. And after 30 years in the business, he still works like a dog, even after 4 a.m.!

 Stephen in front of his work from a previous trip.

Stephen in front of his work from a previous trip.

Update: Commissions

Work has been heating up lately so it's been a while since an update. In the last couple months I've had the opportunity to do a couple rad and colorful commissions:
 

Classic goodness.

The Yolks, a local band, commissioned this classic-looking album cover for their upcoming LP, Kings of Awesome. Check them out in the city, they play a great live show! And look for the album in August—trust me, you'll want to keep it spinning for a few days/weeks, it is so groovy. (Organ solos, that's all I'm gonna say. It should be enough.)

The back, featuring some tiny casual lettering and a loose interpretation of the Randy Rex logo.

 

It was also a pleasure to finish this personal commissioned piece for a friend. He wanted to give it as a gift and gave me a lot of freedom with the design. A Woody Guthrie quote calls for Woody Guthrie lettering, a la "This Machine Kills Fascists":

"Woody goes to LA in the 80s"

 

That's all for now! Stay tuned for more. And if you think a commissioned piece of original, hand-painted signage would look great on your wall or that of a friend, hit me up!

December show(s) update

I'll be participating in two separate sign painting shows this month, one with the Pre-Vinylite Society and one with my fellow sign painters of Chicago. If you missed the show at Revolution Brewing or were disappointed that the works were so high up and there was no opening reception, here's your chance to see those works up close and personal.

But first:

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Sign painter Colt Bowden and the Pre-Vinylite Society have put together a show that will feature some top-notch signs from around the country—and world. The PVS is a "loose network of like-minded letter junkies" and this seasonally appropriate, ice-themed show will feature some of the best names in sign painting, as well as opening the door to newcomers like myself. If you're in the San Jose area, be sure to check it out, but hopefully this won't be the last incarnation of this show!

 

 *An unauthorized, unofficial glance at  Ches Perry 's show card

*An unauthorized, unofficial glance at Ches Perry's show card

Then:

WHERE THE WIND BLOWS is the second exhibition that Heart and Bone Signs have put together for us Chicago sign painters, this time at Ugly Step Sister Gallery in the heart of the Pilsen East arts district. It will feature most of the same work from our previous show at Revolution Brewpub, but I'll be working on some new stuff for this one, too.

Once again, this one has an opening reception and I will be there, so come on out!

 

Both shows open Friday the 13th (so hopefully any bad luck will cancel out)

Chicago Sign Painters Show at Revolution Brewpub!

It is my extreme pleasure and pride to announce the very first ever group show from the sign painters of Chicago! The exhibition will be installed on the first floor of the Revolution Brewpub on Milwaukee Ave and will be up most of October and all of November. There will be no opening reception, since the brewpub is always crazy busy, but please come out to see the work and grab a beer! If the show is a success we hope there will be more like them.

 My humble lettering on the official show card!

My humble lettering on the official show card!