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5-Pocket Shrink-to-Fit Button-Fly Signs

13 July, 2010
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I'm only a little embarrassed to say we're responsible for the least hand-painted-looking portion of this picture: white-washing the rusting old neon can, and adding the Levi's logo. A local artist, Bernardo Poggi Leigh, did an excellent job, banging out names of crafty professions across 60 feet by 11 feet of wall, in barely more than two days. Skills we appreciate.

Recently, we had a flurry of jobs for different Levi Strauss & Co. projects in different places.  We scurried around their recently opened print shop, on Valencia Street, painting windows and projecting signs, and hanging marquee boards:

Over the door, in metallic brass paint (because, it was decided, gold leaf would denote a more aristocratic air than desired)

This was a bit gruelling: a whole lot of letters, barely more than an inch tall, at eye level on a busy thoroughfare, backpainted through double paned glass--so we'd have to close one eye to line up the pattern outside with the brush strokes, so much nearer... Young grasshopper Ken Davis has PTSD as a result.

A rare gig falling entirely outside our narrow window of expertise: we pulled out the old sheet metal facades from this can, which said "Valencia Nails" (a business extinct for as long as I can remember), and slid in a couple sheets of acrylic, onto which we'd glued tracks for marquee letters. We also sold the shop a collection of 300+ letters, and a long pole with a suction cup, to change them out.

Then, at the same time we worked on a couple different signs for a “tailor shop” Levi’s has opened, in its Union Square flagship store: some lettering with an illustration of a sewing machine on plywood, into which they had some neon inserted, and some window lettering on a little glass box office, into which they positioned a mannequin sign painter:

That's my apron! The dummy's also got some brushes and a mahl stick of mine in his little glass shack.

Somehow, we didn’t get any pictures of the wood sign, but you can see a shot of it here, where you can also find a close up of the embroidery on the dummy’s apron: on the left are the remnants of my name, stitched there by Tauba, for Christmas some years ago, after I’d suggested that I might be more proud of my job if I had my name on my uniform; and on the right, the shop name, stitched there by Scott’s lady friend, Melissa, once we’d decided which apron we were going to “rent” to Levi’s (I guess we’re renting… I hope we’re getting it back anyway!).

Jay, the designer/coordinator/our contact through the tailor shop project visited our own shop, soon after, and took some pictures.

Now, I don’t know if it’s just by chance simultaneous, but at the same time as all this was going on, someone related to some aspect of Levi’s, in New York, booked us to do some signs for their showroom there.  They wanted a sign on a saw blade, like we’d done for Revolver earlier–only we couldn’t find any new saws that same size and shape, so Scott cut one from sheet metal (toothless):

They gave us a washboard to paint on, which presented an opportunity to inflict more Levi’s-related PTSD on Ken, and they gave us a really cool looking giant pair of scissors, with instructions to mount them on a board in such a way as to seem to be slicing a swatch of fabric.  I understand they bought the scissors at a store that sells only scissors and shovels for ribbon-cuttings and ground-breakings.

In the wake of his Levi's experience, Ken says, "Go Forth yourself!" Opinions expressed are not those of management, although I know he means it as good-naturedly as possible, as a potential expansion of their current ad campaign. He's always looking to help, in whatever way he can!

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