Kircubbin, Northern Ireland
Hi there fellow Letterheads!
I was born almost 33 years ago in Northern Ireland with paint in my veins, slightly thinned over the ears with small doses of vodka and a substance called insanity! I live by the sea in a small, trouble-free community and I love it, especially as I am surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in Ireland.
At school I was keen on art with a fascination for lettering and typography so when I left high school guess what I did, I became an apprentice...auto mechanic in my fathers business. I disliked it immensely and dreamed of becoming a signwriter or a rock star so I took the decision to leave the oily trade and set out to do what I really wanted to do. So here I am now as a signwriter after learning the trade and setting out on my own as one does.
A few years later, the industry changed somewhat with the advent of C.A.S. systems. I followed suit, and bought my first ever computer, a 286 with Letterart and a Roland PNC1000. Up until then, I thought a computer was a typewriter with a television on top. In a short time, I managed enough basics to get by, and after being ripped off by computer companies, the decision was made to 'read-up' and learn a bit more for myself.
The more I learned, the more I became obsessed with the damn things, and I even taught myself to become reasonably adept at programming (what a dull boy!). During this time I even did one or two signs, but then illness forced me to quit the trade for a while so I enrolled at technical college to do a few more qualifications and eventually ended-up at university to study and do some serious partying!!!
While at uni, I did quite a lot of spare time work making signs and put most of the money back into equipment upgrades and a good build up of stock. I worked hard, partied hard and even found some time for studying! Anyway, I left university in June '96 with a hangover, and oh, I almost forgot, a BA Honours degree in Visual Communication....I knew there was something else. (hehe) Realizing that the jobs to designers ratio was minute, I decided to work for myself at what I love best...sign making.
In the rapidly expanding world of sign shops, I don't try to compete on price. It would be suicide amongst the plenitude of 'get the work out and the money in quick' shops today. Instead, I try to offer something different and/or something more suited as a business tool for my customers, even if this means telling them that a fancy airbrushed sign is not best suited to the task in question, when a much less expensive solution will suffice. My customers stay with me, soon realizing that even though I am generally more expensive, they get a more effective and durable product.
Northern Ireland has a small population (about 1.5m) and most of them are very negative when it comes to spending money on advertising. Ever hear this one? "Hey... I've got by in the past without advertising, so why should I start now?" (grin) Even so, I keep reasonably busy and earn enough to keep my radio controlled racing cars going, but life is short, maybe one day I'll take a notion and venture to foreign soil, meet some letterheads and who knows...
I used to think I was probably the only one who was passionate about signmaking, until about two years ago when I got my first copy of Signcraft Magazine. It was then I realized there are lots of you out there who love great signs and design as much as I do. Now that we all can communicate through the brilliant Letterhead Website, the distance between us has become a lot smaller.
When I'm not painting signs or designing websites, I like to party, race radio controlled cars, party, play with my computer, party, fish, party, painting, playing quitar and trying to sing. At parties, of course! (grin)
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