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In 1992, at the International Letterheads Meet in Canonsburg, Pa., a group of over a dozen professional stripers gathered and sparked the formation of the Pinhead movement. Six years later and about a million ideas further, the group still meets every year at various times throughout the year. Traditionally the Pinhead season on the northeast coast begins with Mike Frederick, Unique Signs, in October, and ends with Karen Souza, Cranberry Signcraft, in March, the highlight being the second week in February at the Annual Pinhead Summit and Panel Jam.

This year, the 6th. Annual Pinhead Summit and Panel Jam was held where it all began back in 1992, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Bill Beckner and his wife Peg hosted over one hundred energetic, free-spirited stripers and sign painters. By Thursday evening, the only motel in Canonsburg, the Super 8, was filling up and beginning to rock. The late evening lobby parties ran loud and late, or early as the case may be. Sleepy eyed stripers drug themselves out of bed early every morning however to join in the fun at the fire hall as soon as possible. Coffee was poured all day long to keep the adrenaline driven men and women awake all weekend long.

The meet was attended by many of the big names in the business and every aspect of work was represented. Impressive airbrushing was done on a variety of surfaces by such names as Tim Cox, Wild Air Airbrush Studio, and Sandy Hoffmann, Airbrushing by Sandy.

Pictorials seemed to be a big hit with many of the stripers who wanted to give that extra kick to their own work. Pictorial demonstrations were primarily led by Michael Lavallee, Michael Lavallee Pinstriping and Airbrush Art, and Steve Chaszeyka, Wizard Graphics.

Lettering was displayed on banners and panels throughout the show. Even Steve Shortreed got a brush in on a banner for the pinstripers sixth Annual Children’s Charity coming up later this year. He said it was riding a bicycle, and after a couple of letters he was talking about getting back into painting fulltime again.

The highlight of the Panel Jam was of course the panels filled by a variety of scrollwork done by several pinstriping artists. The filled panels each held their own feel and style. Some seemed to hold an almost animal shape while others formed a human like figure and others simply were geometric in design.

A special aspect of the show was the incredible feeling of family. The Connot gang all showed up each specializing in a different aspect of the sign and striping business. Meanwhile, Gary and Lisa Jenson, who are scheduled to hold their annual Brush Bash next weekend, were their with their daughter, son-in-law, and grandaughter, all enjoying the fun.

Many other teenagers and young children were present at the meet with their parents, all to learn and grow in the special trade. Each child will grow up, and whether they decide to work in the business as adults or not, they will each hold that special part of the Pinheads and Letterheads that’s all about sharing and giving. It’s a part of them that will help them have a healthy attitude as they enter any area of the work force.

The Canonsburg meet was ultimately a success. Everyone left feeling renewed, and maybe a little bit tired from all those late night parties. Nonetheless, everyone had fun and new ideas and methods were shared among us all. We are all looking forward to next year’s meet, which will be organized by Michael Lavallee.

Meet The Author

Sarah Connot is the daughter of DeWayne and Val Connot, owners of DOA Flatliners,  located in North Wales, PA. We call her Sarabit on IRC Chat. Here's what she has to say.sarah.jpg (45076 bytes)

Hi! I'm Sarah Connot, otherwise known as Sarabit on the IRC Letterhead & Pinhead  Chat.  I'm 17 years old and just starting to paint signs and airbrush.

My Dad, Mr. MicroMan, is a pinstriper and therefore I was introduced to the Pinhead Movement a few years back.  I loved it immediately.

Currently I'm a junior in high school but I am anxiously looking forward to my college years.  I think right now I will be majoring in journalism or communications.  Maybe I'll get a job with one the sign magazines eventually!  In the meantime, I'll stick to the BullBoard.

I'll talk to you all soon on the chat. You guys have become almost like family to me!  Talk to you soon! :)



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A special thanks to Bill Cosharck. Bill and his digital camera are responsible for many of these photos.


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