Orange City News, O.C. Register

Orange City News OC Register.
Last November I was contacted by Rebecca Kheel, a writer for the Orange County Register, North County Bureau, to do a profile on the art of sign painting. Rebecca had visited my website and thought hand painted signs would be a good subject for an article that readers of the Register would find interesting.
I was flattered and had to wonder about all this interest in a trade I’ve been in for over 40 years. I am still an active sign painter and don’t plan to retire for a while so I agreed to the interview.
Rebecca showed up on time to the house and was a pleasant and intelligent professional. A photographer arrived about 15 minutes later. It was nice to sit and talk with these two as Rebecca guided me thru the conversations as I showed them my design studio and the sign shop. Many pictures were taken and you can read the article and see the pictures at this link:
Rebecca was kind enough to send me some copies of the article in print form and I was contacted by a company that frames award pages, something I wasn’t going to do, but then I thought a framed memento was appropriate to highlight such a fine article.
So here it is. I hope you will enjoy the article and have a better understanding of this trade and the impact it has had on both commerce and the visual communications here in America and throughout the world

NPR Radio Interview on Traditional Sign Painting

Hello Friends and Fellow Sign Painters,

I was contacted this August by Alana Rinicella, a reporter for NPR radio, 89.3, to do an interview about Traditional Sign Painting. Her goal as she saw it was to ‘share the art of sign painting with others’.
She had seen a clip of ‘The Sign Painters’ movie and was looking for a local sign painter to interview. Alana then found Traditional Sign Maker Magazine, an e-magazine showcasing sign painters. James Thomas, a local Sign Painter and reporter for Traditional Sign Maker Magazine, had interviewed me several months ago, and Alana read the article.

You can see that article here at

Our meeting was scheduled for August 14. I had never done a radio interview before and she said pictures would be taken and an article written. I thought okay, go with the flow.

I read the finished article and listened to the edited radio interview. I feel really proud to be on NPR radio. An old friend contacted me today and reminded me that 89.3 is a Blues station. I used to listen to 89.3 years ago, and an aquaintance of mine, Bernie Pearl, was one of the original disc jockeys. It was also good to see the video on the Disneyland sign shop and see the guys I used to work with. The video on the ‘Basketball Court’ in the Matterhorn brought back memories of when I rode up the two man elevator and Art allowed me to sign my name on a metal beam, for lettering some basketballs on my own time.

Alana was gracious and took me thru the process like a true professional that she is. I hope you will enjoy this article and it will give you an appreciation of the craft known as Sign Painting and the impact it has had on our visual world.

Here is the NPR interview

Patrick G. Smith

Traditional Sign Painter

Business Window Signs

MatoskaWindowLetteringRightSide (450x800) (2)Matoska Trading Company is located in Downtown Orange just north of the Plaza. The store specializes in American Indian Art & Craft Supplies. Brent had sent me his logo and said he wanted artwork on the glass that would represent what he sold in the store. He also wanted the logo lettering in gold leaf. Brent found me thru my ad in the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review. He had read my byline ‘Senior sign painter at the Disneyland Resort for 7 years’ and wanted Disney looking signs for his business window signs.

There is the feel of an old general store to the place. The floors are old wood and the décor and counter make you feel like you’ve gone back in time.

The idea for the glass windows was to have different artwork on the panels on each side of the doors. I worked at putting together a montage of different pictures that would depict the American Indian way of life. Thank God for the internet. There is so much information and pictures to help put together a project that requires vintage photos and artwork like this. Once the two different sketches were approved, I proceeded to pen and ink the artwork so I could make the patterns for the job. The windows are 40” wide so I didn’t want the width of the artwork to exceed 30”. Brent wanted people to be able to look into the glass and see the trade goods.

Normally I make a transparency and enlarge it on my overhead, but I discovered large format printing at Kinko’s. I used a proportion wheel to get the percentage and had the prints done in reverse so I could tape them up to the outside of the glass. It worked very well.

I used digital print, vinyl, hand lettering and gold leaf on this job. It was really nice to have people come up and make comments about the work and the fact that it was being done by a sign painter.


MatoskaWindowLetteringLeftSide. (450x800) (2)