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You look very stylish tonight!

28 August, 2011
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Here’s a segment about New Bohemia Signs, filmed in July, for NHK’s El Mundo show, aired the first Tuesday in August.  Candice Obayashi translated into English for me, with some help from her mother.

There are a few minor inaccuracies in the report.  I don’t know where they got the idea that I only started hiring people two years ago.  The newest people at NBS have been there for about two years now.  I’ve only been painting signs since ’99, myself–not quite the 15 years claimed herein (but close).  The line mentioning “an exhibit of work that has been made in Damon’s shop” is delivered over a shot of a sign painted by Josh Luke, at his own shop, Best Dressed Signs, in Boston (granted, after half a decade of working at NBS, and having been invited to take part in a “New Bohemia Signs art show”).  Actually, as a matter of fact, I don’t recall them ever even mentioning “New Bohemia Signs” in here…  It’s all “Damon Styer-san” this, and “Damon-san” that, which is kinda… ridiculous….  We put the producers in touch with one of our gold suppliers, Ron, at Letterhead Sign Supply, and I gather his reply to a question about how many gilders he sells to–lots!–didn’t quite jibe with the story arc being plotted, wherein Damon-san is nearly single-handedly keeping a dying craft alive.  My apologies to all the long-suffering sign gilders out there, for having nabbed some of your glory!

What else…?  Oh, it’s pretty rare that anyone just practices for two hours a day.  Some might, on occasion.  I ask them all to put in a half hour, but even that goes out the door, when it gets busy (which is, itself, practice, anyway).

Special thanks to Derek Fagerstrom, at The Curiosity Shoppe, for letting us pull him outside and make him talk; to Andres Guerrero, of Guerrero Gallery, for letting the film crew hassle patrons; to Mark Norrell, of West Portal Optical, for tolerating our sodden trudging through his new shop space; to Candice and to Ken Davis, for shouldering some of the bull spewing duties; and to Hideharu Watanabe, who produced the segment and handled all the on location shooting logistics.

Since those couple of days of shooting have ended, I’ve felt lonely showing up anywhere without my film crew…

Anyway, I hope the bigwigs at the NHK network allow this to stay up.  I’m not sure what their policy is about online video, since they don’t appear to be hosting much, themselves.

Furthermore, I hope this leads to work in Japan!  Or, better yet, vacation in Japan!

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jay jean-hank ho permalink
    29 August, 2011 21:00

    …but how can i hire the BAND???

  2. 31 August, 2011 14:14

    When you are ready to send some of those young grasshoppers out into the world so that you have more room to take on the increasing number of sincerely interested youngsters, send them my way (Oklahoma) so I can have the opportunity to learn what you’ve taught them, especially with gold leaf! The degree in graphic design is certainly a great lead-in, but it is hard to learn all techniques, etc, etc with no human guidance. The only resources at my fingertips are online and in books, which is a good start, but development and progress is much slower…Better yet, I just recalled you mentioning conducting workshops when you moved into a larger shop. Will you still be doing that and if so, would you announce them with enough time for out-of-towners to arrange to make the trip? I would be ALL over that.

  3. 30 January, 2012 08:45

    Cool segment in El Mundo, would have been a little better if it didn’t have to be translated but still pretty sweet! Also, two hours everyday of practice does seem like a lot, half our to an hour a day sounds just right. 🙂

    It really is amazing how you can just free hand that. So many people /companies today just use computer and prints. Very impressive, keep up the good work!

    • 19 March, 2012 00:05

      Thanks! We do have computers, and a plotter to print out patterns for art that clients supply us, but yeah, I think we’re pretty resolutely stuck on the brush, here. That said, it rarely ever seems quite “free hand” to me–more like “coloring inside the lines”.

  4. 6 December, 2013 09:00

    Handmade signage certainly has appeal especially in walking cities. If you’re going to pull them in off the sidewalk it’s got to pop.

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