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Short sign docs

18 October, 2010

I just this morning came across Anna Lena Schiller’s recent blog post, compiling a few short films about sign painters, on three continents.  I’m happy to find myself in there, but I’m really thrilled to see this short film about David Smith.  I met him a few years ago, at a gilders’ meet, at Larry White’s, in Fremont, where I bought from him one of the “Smith Tips” he talks about having invented, at about 4 minutes in.  Then, at about 11 minutes in, during a segment wherein he’s gilding glass, omg, that’s just like I do it!, he’s talking about, “before this craft dies out, I’ve got to teach as many people as I can, get ’em interested, just to keep it alive”.

I feel a bit like a chump, or a hack, in this guy’s company.  But I also feel like I can create a space here, where some kid’s gonna come along, and find the environment conducive toward blossoming into the next generation’s David Smith, or Rick Glawson (who David mentions, and who passed away a week before I’d scheduled a trip to Wilmington to meet him).  I can maybe serve as some kind of conduit between greatnesses, yeah?

Also, re: Anna Lena, above, it looks like she’s in a line of work producing something like the pretty delightful RSA Animate videos I’ve been enjoying in recent months.  Bear it in mind, if you’re in need of any “visual sensemaking”.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Johnny D permalink
    21 October, 2010 15:39

    Wow, that video really stopped me in my tracks. I’m in complete awe of David Smith’s artistry & craftsmanship. Thank you so much for posting this, & also for pointing out the two other short films. All of these have been a real treat for me, as a guy who’s worked alone & in obscurity since shortly after my own apprenticeship 30 years ago!

    • 21 October, 2010 23:05

      That’s a pretty nice show, ain’t it? Y’know, John, I can’t say as I’m hooked in to any sort of “network” of sign writers, but I’m aware of one: I mean, there’s all these people around that call themselves “letterheads”… I’m sure there must be a few in the Denver environs!

      • 22 October, 2010 09:20

        Ah, yes, perhaps if I’d taken the extra step of checking out what I say, I’d have seen that “It all started about 30 years ago, when a small group of apprentices in Denver got together to learn more about the craft of making signs”, and that “The Denver Chapter of Letterheads holds occasional business and social meetings.”

        Wait a minute… you’re one of them, aren’t you!?!

  2. Johnny D permalink
    26 October, 2010 13:04

    Actually, I’m not a secret member of the Letterheads, but thanks for the info! I’ll have to check them out, assuming I’d be able to complete whatever obscure initiation rites they might throw my way (you know how sign painters are)….

  3. 2 November, 2010 08:51

    Hey Damon, glad you stopped by my blog 🙂

    It’s really hard to come by painted signs here in Germany, so I thoroughly enjoy your work and reading about it here. It’s always great inspiration!

    All the best from Berlin,

    Anna Lena

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