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Vintage Sign Painter

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by zz29, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. zz29
    Joined: Sep 7, 2017
    Posts: 255


    More of a question rather than service offering. Is there a market for someone who has tons of experience making vintage signs and trained as a sign painter? Doing old school graphics on vehicles? Here’s an example of his work; he did it to a 1939 International Pickup we sold to him. He’s in the New England area, and not too computer savvy, so I’m kind of asking for a friend. Thanks. [​IMG]

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    wraymen, catdad49 and quick85 like this.
  2. quick85
    Joined: Feb 23, 2014
    Posts: 2,777


    I certainly hope so. To me, the fellows (and gals) that can do this are artists.
    I don't want to see computer generated vinyl becoming the norm. I watched the
    finale of "FantomWorks" and was disappointed to see that the painters used
    stencils to paint the business logo on the side of a truck. Sign painting and
    lettering is a skill, a trade, that I don't want to see fade away.
    Texas Webb and lothiandon1940 like this.
  3. Mark Hinds
    Joined: Feb 20, 2009
    Posts: 599

    Mark Hinds
    from pomona ca

    Some old Tom Stratten work. P2161456.JPG
    zz29, wraymen, lothiandon1940 and 3 others like this.
  4. Latigo
    Joined: Mar 24, 2014
    Posts: 662


    Hand lettering is definitely an art form. It’s fascinating to watch a skilled sign artist work. Can a person make a living doing hand painted vintage signs? I doubt it. There’s a reason most sign shops do vinyl. Vinyl is quick, profitable and works well for most signage. Hand lettering today is like most art forms. Few artists make a living from their artistic skill. It could, however, be a profitable and rewarding hobby business providing the artist is skilled and has the ability to market and deliver the product.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.

  5. What he should do is stop by my place. I’ll let him do some work for me to see how he makes out. If things work out , we can give him a recommendation . Who knows- maybe he can even make some money at it!

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    zz29 likes this.
  6. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 2,937


    Unfortunately, vinyl signs have taken over. The local paint store no longer sells one-shot lettering paint either.

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  7. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 5,057


    Igor lives nearby and his work is everywhere, he was even asked to do a large mural ( a first for him, I believe) in the Virginia Beach art district. I would say that in order to make a living at it your friend would have to be willing to travel and be able to do other things such as pinstriping, design work, etc. What a signpainter does is Art!
    wraymen and lothiandon1940 like this.
  8. fastcar1953
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 2,551


    Would like to find one in mid missouri. lost art
  9. metalman
    Joined: Dec 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,284


    Soon to be a lost art as these old school sign painters unfortunately die off. Many years ago (30 some odd) I started trying my hand at it, got good enough I started getting some fleet work but it was a side job type of thing. About the time I was thinking about going full time the computer generated vinyl started getting common, I saw what was coming and changed direction. Probably very few have bothered to learn the craft in the last 30 years. Could be a good gig for someone that has the skill, it would be a limited market but not much competition to get those few jobs left where only hand painted will do.
  10. Lone Star Mopar
    Joined: Nov 2, 2005
    Posts: 3,099

    Lone Star Mopar

    Contrary to what some others are saying there is a good amount of sign painters still advertising and sharing their work on Instagram. In fact I just bought a hand made sign from an artist who only does this kind of work for a living. As long as folks still appreciate "hand made" then folks will be practicing the craft. So I'd say yeah there is a market for your freinds skills. If he wants people to see his work and perhaps make some $$$ at it might benefit him to learn technology enough to share his work on places like this or IG, FB etc...

    Sent from my SM-J727T1 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    catdad49, zz29 and wraymen like this.
  11. 396/425
    Joined: Jun 11, 2014
    Posts: 70


    I’m a sign painter. See avatar. Yes it’s a lost art. You can still get One Shot...someone on here said you couldn’t. You can buy it by the truckloads. It’s not as good as it once was. (Lead). But it’s good paint. I still do a few patina truck doors from time to time. People want these elaborate jobs. Folks...if you want it old school. It’s pretty basic. There wasn’t much fancy fonts and glitter in the day.
    Texas Webb and wraymen like this.
  12. Shorty in Southern MD seems to still be doing well. She has been doing it for as long as I can remember.
    19633_266979173752_3892999_n.jpg 19633_266979073752_3653655_n.jpg 34956_420518578752_4453085_n.jpg
    The last one is Kenny Rogers tour bus, did the whole bus with a river boat on the other side. I believe it was done back in the 80's. No it's not "lettering" but that's the point, she does it all.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  13. King ford
    Joined: Mar 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,469

    King ford
    from 08302

    There will always be a market for that type of work, the only question is how much...
    zz29 likes this.
  14. TWKundrat
    Joined: Apr 6, 2010
    Posts: 147


    Still a market for this sort of thing. You just really have to sell yourself. Definitely can't just list your business in your local yellow pages and sit back and wait for the work to start pouring in. This is the sort of thing that the internet and social media are good for. Of course this site is the closest thing to social media that I take part in so I'm no expert, but I have some friends who make some serious bucks with artsy fartsy stuff all marketed on social media.
  15. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 1,485


    A friend, here in Southeast Missouri, runs a successful trucking company and has all of his "Petes" hand lettered. The general "theme" is the same, but the fleet of trucks of all different colors have their own unique color combos. I don't know what the cost is, but I can't imagine the work is cheap. They have artistic flair but are far from being gaudy like some "art".

    zz29 likes this.
  16. zz29
    Joined: Sep 7, 2017
    Posts: 255


    Yeah, I was wondering if this friend would want to get into painting trucks/cars that want that vintage look. See a lot of hot riders doing the racing numbers and names, like the Rolling Bones, and then all the people with old service vehicles. I guess this is something that needs to be done locally.

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  17. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,991



    Door signs are the usual place, until they get in the way of a good front end flame painting design. The smooth flow of the cool flames takes precedence vs. signs on doors. But, in a large panel van or even a small sedan delivery, there is the perfect spot for a good looking advertising sign and information.

    The look of the sign can be in an antiqued style or the same style with modern clear lettering and swoopy designs. It is the rough idea from the owner of the hot rod and then neatly painted on by the artist/painter.


    This version on the orange GMC Panel Van is in contrast to another truck that I had seen in previous weeks.
    An old style vintage door sign, faded with the weather and outside location.

    This cool old Chevy Truck with a vintage door sign has disappeared from its normal parking spot, perhaps a move back to Bend, Oregon?

    catdad49 likes this.
  18. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 6,902

    from Oregon

    If he wasn't clear across the US I'd have loved to have found a vintage sign painter when I was trying to get my '39 Chev lettered back in May this year! Biggest issue I had was guys flaking out on me, and not returning my calls for wanting the work done! I got so irritated I ended up just doing it myself. Far from perfect, but at least the painter didn't let me down and not show up!

    catdad49 likes this.
  19. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,872


    I had an old school pin striper/sign painter in Riverside, CA do the lettering on the door of my'39 p/u. He enjoyed doing it compared to his usual day to day lettering requests. Really makes the truck stand out. IMO IMG_3009 - Copy.JPG IMG_3010.JPG
    catdad49 and alanp561 like this.
  20. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,872


    Looks pretty dang nice to me. And it costs a bunch less than paying to have it done.
  21. Tuki Hess

    lothiandon1940 and catdad49 like this.
  22. More Tuki

    2CA63685-8E27-49FA-B82C-0902FD893323.jpeg E7FEA5EA-2B99-4D45-B102-544626C81574.jpeg
    lothiandon1940 and catdad49 like this.

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