Get To Know: SUN SIGNS' Jeff Williams

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I headed over to St. Pete for St. Printersburg and the very first face I saw was that of Jeff Williams. His little sign painting info table was the cutest ever and he was so happy about being there and sharing his sign painting know how. I could not resist. I had to ask him…to be on the blog. Y’all this dude knows how to make magic with his brushes. Click on over to Sun Signs and see more of his stuff and get connected, but first…get to know Jeff Williams of Sun Signs St. Pete. 👇👇👇👇

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Childhood memento?

My favorite childhood memento of mine is an old wooden school bus toy that was hand painted by an artist named Hugo Poccaro. It had a handle like a scooter that extended at the top so I could scoot around my parents vintage clothing, furniture and jewelry store as a kid. I've since out grown it but it still sits in my house and brings back a ton of childhood memories.

Recent acquisition for your home?

I recently purchased a new record player as my previous one was in rough shape. I have quite a few older records but I recently acquired a self titled record by a band called "The Nude Party" that has been playing on repeat ever since.

Current obsession?

My current obsession is a bit nerdy. It's a series of YouTube videos you can find by searching "window painting" by a painter in the Pacific Northwest named Scot Campbell. He particularly paints what are called "Window Splash" signs that are temporary and generally used for holiday sales. The guy is pretty goofy but extremely personable not to mention a total wizard with a brush. 

Favorite hobby?

I really enjoy playing the guitar and learning oldies and doo wop tunes. I recently got ahold of a 4 track cassette recorder which is eating up more of my time than it should but it's a good contrast to work.

Always on you - watch, memento, etc?

I purchased a Mexican silver ring with a big chunk of turquoise set in it that is always on me. Partially due to the fact that the silver band has bent making it a semi permanent fixture hah. I've worn it for about 8 years now and don't for-see it coming off any time soon.

Favorite spot in your home?

I have a "Florida room" in my house surrounded by jalousie windows which give it really nice natural lighting. This room is also where I keep a ton of old books, records and knick knacks.

Favorite neighborhood restaurant?

Not sure that this spot counts as a restaurant but its one of my new found favorites. It's a food truck parked beside a tire shop serving cuban sandwiches, empanadas, and my personal favorite breakfast sandwiches, burritos and croissants. It's called Caramba and located on 16th st and 5th ave N in St. Pete.

Favorite neighborhood shop?

As for local shops go, I may be biased but my girlfriend owns and operates a shop called Bodhi Basics which is really neat. They specialize in holistic skin care and have a full apothecary with herbs and essential oils. They also have a handful of local vendors goods in store from plants and ceramics to jewelry and hold workshops in the back. If you check it out you'll likely meet the shop pups, Bodhi (the head honcho) and little Loretta.

Favorite way to focus on health or wellness? 

My go to wellness practice is usually going to our local Community acupuncture center. My older sister got me hooked on acupuncture a year or two ago and I try to go as often as I can. It's really nice to break the everyday high paced cycle and sit back and unwind.

Favorite place visited in the last year?

I've been visiting Nashville here and there since my sister relocated there and really dig it there however I think my favorite recent trip would have to be Asheville, NC. The hiking near the Blue Ridge PKWY is incredible and would highly recommend taking a trip to see it it.

Best gift recently received?

My girlfriend, Kim, recently gave me a very special incense that she blended and rolled by hand that has various herbs and resins in it including a fairly notable herb thats recently been accepted for Medicinal use here in FL. It smells amazing and every time I burn it I really try to savor it as it was hand rolled in a small batch.

Best gift recently given?

I recently gave Kim a gilded reverse glass piece based off of a print on one of her favorite vintage wrap skirts. It's a floral print with stems gilded in 23k gold leaf that turned out looking pretty rad and has a special sentiment. 

Most inspiring book you’ve read?

One of my favorite reads is a book by philosopher Alan Watts called "Does It Matter". It's a series of essays pertaining to man's relation to materiality. He poses the question of how you measure your wealth such as would you prefer to eat a meal or the menu. Another is wealth vs. money. Several of his books have been impactful for me in developing my own self worth despite how our western society classifies us.

The thing you most love about your city?

The thing I love most about St. Pete is that so many of my peers are able to make a living and support themselves independently while doing something they enjoy. There seems to be a great appreciation for independent artists, movers and makers around here and it's been super inspiring to see my friends and family find their niche and build their businesses on their terms. Other than that, there's a very dreamy tropical feel and of course a ton of sunshine in the "Sunshine City".

Best thing about what you do?

The most rewarding thing about what I'm able to do in my pursuit of hand painted signs and lettering is that I'm able to work directly with small businesses and showcase the ones I support. In creating beautiful signage I hope to not only build a portfolio for myself but to positively impact the business I work with. A business with a good sign is a sign of good business. A business with no sign is a sign of no business.

At the top of your to-do list?

The top of my to do list is to build an over sized easel to accommodate larger jobs. Other than to keep busy and find a way to incorporate more travel into my work routine. 

Other work projects?

I have my largest job to date coming up which is exciting. Working on large scale sized work is a service I'd like to provide to more clients though I prefer to work on smaller jobs that require more attention to detail.

On your bedside table?

I usually keep a small altar near my bed with trinkets I've picked up traveling and locally. It's something an old friend always did whether he was home or on the road and since his passing, I try to keep the tradition going.

A film that holds a special place in your heart?

There's a film called "Sign Painters" that I could and have watched countless times but I'm mostly interested in documentaries on various topics. One that holds a particularly special place in my heart is called "Heartworn Highways" from the 70's which followed around a handful of musicians. Of the artists featured, the late great Townes Van Zandt's vignette is my personal favorite.


Sun Signs is having a cool workshop:
CLICK 👉 Print St. Pete presents Casual Lettering II 👈 CLICK

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St. Printersburg Rocked!

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I headed up to St. Pete for the first St. Printersburg event. This gathering of printers and type-makers was one for the books. Calusa Commons is a great little cove of goodness in an alley of sunny St. Pete’s Grand Central District that offered a chance to wander and learn more about varying printing methods. Dog and kid friendly, there were hands-on demos and sample printing of all kinds to get people inky and involved with this heritage handicraft.

Got a chance to see a demo of steamroller printing and wandered through making new friends.

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Later on, I headed over to the Museum of Fine Arts St. Pete to watch a screening of Pressing On: The Letterpress Film. What a movie! Beautifully crafted documentary about the survival of letterpress and the remarkable printers who preserve the history and knowledge of the craft. Got a chance to meet co-director Erin Beckloff and ask her a few questions about process and funding. (Can’t wait to share more from her on Townie Tourist later this Spring!)

Check out a walkthrough of the event here 👇👇

Want more info? Be sure to follow Print St. Pete Community Letterpress or St. Printersburg. Hope to see you there next year!

Schlumberger Jewels Bedazzle

I gave myself an early Christmas present of seeing the Jean Schlumberger show at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida. I got to experience one of the Gulf Coast’s best museums, was able to stand inches away from Guerrilla Girls, Monet, and Kara Walker and a wander through a divine little sculpture garden after tucking into yummy butter toast and a cup of hearty tomato basil bisque. There’s so much more to this museum than I ever imagined.

Here’s why you need to go to the St. Pete Museum of Fine Arts before March 31, 2019.

The Cafe. Do NOT skip going to the cafe. It’s probably one of the best kept brunch secrets in the entire city. A lovely menu with seasonal favorites and generous portions. Excellent coffee. Fantastic view of the water. Sit on the veranda if it’s nice. If not, the seats by the windows are fantastic people watching.

Super cool that you can buy a ticket online and have a year to use it. Buy one for friends. Grab a couple for visiting parents. I love that low pressure purchase.

GUERRILLA GIRLS

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Dreamy lounge area in case it all just gets to be too much. I imagine slinking into this lounge wearing a silk dress and furs and needing someone to provide smelling salts. It’s stepping into the feeling of Tiffany & Company in New York City. It’s like sitting in a velvet lined box. People were silent or whispering. The jewels demanded it. The Schlumberger show is only on until March 31, 2019.

It may seem like you have a bit of time to check it out, but we both know you’ll put it off. Don’t. You’ll regret it.

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Bunny Mellon must have had one heck of a jewelry vault. The woman knew how to inspire. Her friendship with Jean “Johnny” Schlumberger produced jewelry that is so much more than jewelry, it’s the story of the natural world told through precious stones and metal. Her all time favorite piece was the Pisces brooch with red enamel. Look at those little golden fish lips!

I’ve always been fascinated by haute couture of the 50s and 60s. The fashion houses that were inspired by brilliant muses like Slim Keith and defined or destroyed by Vogue editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland. They, along with other women like philanthropist Bunny Mellon had style. The kind of unique style that would stop conversations when they entered a room. Not narcissistic, but incredibly vain. And they all wore Schlumberger jewelry. Jackie Kennedy is famous for wearing his enamel bangle bracelets. Slim Keith had a cross made of gold and amethysts.

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Inches away from DV’s favorite piece. Dianna Vreeland, former editor-in-chief of Vogue, had a piece commissioned by Schlumberger in 1941 and it stayed on her bedside table until she died. The ‘Trophée de Vaillance’ brooch is out of the Tiffany archives and on display. And it is magnificent. It seems to glow from within. Like a military trophy, the platinum and gold breast plate and tunic is set with diamonds.  Behind that is an oval shield encrusted with faceted amethysts and rubies, with a blue and gold enamel border. Blue and grey enamel longbow, arrows, spear, pike and axe project from behind the shield, while a ruby-set star pommel projects from within the armor.

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KARA WALKER

Oh how I love her. The use of shadow and light and images of past placed on past. Brilliant.

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Then head outside and walk along the water, or grab an ice cream cone and stroll along the avenue. Looking for a posh place to stay after being inspired by those Mellon jewels? Visit the Vinoy Renaissance Resort just a block or two away. It’s pink! And pure luxury.

Museum of Fine Arts St. Pete

C255 Beach Dr NE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 896-2667

MUSEUM HOURS

Monday–Saturday: 10:00 am–5:00 pm
Thursday: 10:00 am–8:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm–5:00 pm

CAFE HOURS

Tuesday–Sunday: 11:00 am–3:00 pm

Email: info@mfastpete.org
Tickets: HERE

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