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Brushville in Bloomington….
Letterheads Hit Mainstreet!

Ask any Letterhead about their favorite meet over the last 20 some years and most will immediately talk about their first. We wanted to try to capture the excitement of someone experiencing their first live meet and asked out own Janette Balogh from St. Petersburg, Florida to put her own personal highlights in words for this report. Thanks done good!

This meet was truly something to behold. Jam-packed with skill, craftsmanship, creativity and personality! I was awestruck.

From the portfolio table to the gallery, a work of art with every turn of the head. Better not blink …. you might just miss something! No one could walk away from such an event unchanged or unmotivated. The drive and exuberance exhibited on the panel floor was phenomenal…. purely symphonic.

This was my very first Letterhead Meet!

Among the many emotions I experienced during this past weekend were overwhelming excitement and humbling intimidation. The thing I will cherish most were the moments in even fleeting conversations with the people I have admired and respected for years. I took an immediate liking to Raymond Chapman, Billy Pickett, David Butler, Larry Whan, Doug Bernhardt and James Mitchell. After having become acquainted with Mike Jackson and admiring his glass pieces on his website for the past year, I was glad to finally meet him in person and to see a couple of his pieces up close. Very fine work indeed.

My roommates were Denise Carson and Mike Lavallee. These two rocked on the panel floor, cranking out eye-catching works non-stop for hours. Keep your eyes peeled for these two names folks, they will be some of the future’s big names in the magazine circuit. Sheeeesh…. will we ever get Mike back on the ground?

What impact did this meet have on me personally? Well, earlier I mentioned feeling intimidation. I view even this as a positive for I am now driven even harder to become better tomorrow than I am today. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?

Furthermore, I am inspired to back away a bit from my computer and take the time to pursue more things by hand. The spontaneity and personality of the hand written word is something I find unparalleled, and I realize that in my hustle to make a living I have become quite reliant on technology. Although this is not necessarily a bad thing, for myself I have seen it go from a tool to a crutch, and sadly my hand lettering skills have suffered for it. Specifically, laying out by hand without the aid of a computer generated pattern. Since these were skills that were not fully developed when the computer entered my life, I feel that I have let a very important part of my potential trade skills go by the wayside. I envy those who attended sign lettering school instead of trying to fend for themselves and wish I had pursued that path earlier. So, for myself, I believe it’s time to do some backtracking in order to excel farther in the long run.

What advice would I give to other first timers? Pack light with clothing, and leave room for the goodies you will be carrying home from the meet. Prepare to be blasted with talent and bring along some ideas for you will most assuredly leave with far more! Get plenty of rest and if you bring a panel along, make sure you start it in good time before the meet. I made a last minute decision to attend this meet so I was doing quite a bit of scrambling to pull it off. Sure glad I did!

Here are some of my personal highlights and observations:

  • Pat King’s overalls … colorful threads for a colorful personality.
  • The Connot kids and the Bauer boy…. Great kids, my hats off to their parents!
  • Lazy Edna’s spunk and honesty, no sugar coating here…. raw and pretty refreshing. Nice Mucha LE!
  • Alton Gillespies airbrush anthem! Jimi Hendrix would be impressed.
  • Dave Draper’s Letterhead Song… Good job Davey!
  • Ricky Jackson’s short shorts!… nice legs Ricky! Oh yeah, wonderful prints too!
  • Denise Carson’s energy and looseness with the brush. You go girl!
  • Dave Butler….. well, quite simply, Dave Butler… need I say more? What a down to earth kinda guy!
  • Mike Jackson’s wit and his yo-yo maneuvering skills… what control. Pretty slick!
  • Bill Beckner’s pinstriping. "Brush" is an appropriate nick. Nice truck Bill!
  • Ken Stiffler’s Business Card, anybody see these? Very nice!
  • Mike Lavallee’s pride and passion…. an inspiration.
  • Steve and Barb’s smiling faces….. comfortably familiar!
  • "Feathering" with Carol Chapel, she’s one stand up kinda gal, glad to know her.
  • Bill Hueg, Noel Weber, John Hannukaine, and Mark Oatis, … legends in action , an honor to watch.
  • David Shoewalter’s Bulldog sign, Elaine Wallis’ Baseball banner, Nancy & Noella’s carved stork sign, and anything Gary Anderson touched! Whew!
  • The town statue with the plaque inscribed, "To the Unknown Letterhead". A very touching dedication, and so true. So much talent goes without deserved recognition.
  • Kent Smith’s kind eyes and great smile….. what a superb talent, and a nice fellow!
  • Lorraine Lalonde’s gallery piece and that wood carving! Sigh.
  • Who did that tobacco collage piece in the gallery….. was that Billy Pickett? Loved it!
  • The boys at the back of the room from Minnesota, Chicago and Michigan! Now that’s a rockin group, thanks for the laffs guys!
  • What the heck was in that salisbury steak anyway? Scary stuff! Let us eat cake!
  • Empy’s smaltsmobile…. Careful thru that car wash Emp!
  • Meeting "Spaz", Rob Kauth, a talented character from right here in my own back yard. Did anybody ever get any straight answers from that guy? What a crack up!
  • Dave Grundy, you sweetie! Thanks for taking ownership of my project....didn't know how I was getting that home!
  • The beginner’s pinstriping panel and my first time holding a sword striper, …I’ll do better next time, I promise!
  • Daryl Gnome and Troy Haus’s enthusiastically wondrous gazes, an accompaniment to my own.
  • The Sign-In panel…. Each signature a masterpiece.
  • The "rock bearing note" solution to the broken glass piece, showing a creative fix to an accident.
  • Dewayne Connot’s micro lettering. Can be read only with the aid of a magnifying glass and yet he paints legible words impeccably without the use of one. Wow!
  • The SignCraft, AMAL, and Mack Brush booths! Broke the bank at these.
  • John Weber’s Beanie Baby raffle in support of the Letterhead Website,… our thanks John!
  • Doc and Nan Welty’s friendly and helpful nature throughout the entire meet. Nice going you two!

Well…. I could go on! I wish I could have taken everything in… but there was so much to absorb.

I think what I was most impressed with were the ideas behind the work. Refreshing design concepts executed with impeccable detail combining a diverse array of mediums. The pictures on this page say it far better than I can attempt to, but being there was king! Don’t miss the next one!

In closing, I would like to say that I wish I had found Gary Anderson before leaving the event, skipped the handshake and gone right for a hug to thank him personally for such a successful endeavor. His heart, along with many others, went into that meet and it showed! It shined! My first time at a Letterhead Meet was one that will stay with me for many years to come. Many thanks to everyone there for a very enriching experience.


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