By Shannon Hoyt —
The walls are lined in colored boards and children’s artwork. The smell of paint fumes consume the small garage, materials sprawled out in every corner. Each completed sign is different, leaving behind a curiosity. What’s the story?
Hand-painted signs are a thing of the past, infusing their way into the future of advertising. The appreciation of this art form has been recognized significantly, as local businesses in Menomonie turn to an older style of art.
Wade Lambrigtsen, of Vintage Sign Shop, has created and designed thousands of signs for local businesses, including Leinenkugel’s. He’s even shared his talents with the University of Wisconsin-Stout.
Lambrigtsen and Nancy Knock, owner of Serendipity Antiques, combined their ideas to create a sign both feminine and divergent, by incorporating softer colors and a more rounded appearance.
“[Our sign] is unique in the fact that when you come in, it is welcoming,” said Knock. “It has a look of an antique in a way.”
Alongside Knock, Matthew Tison, who plays with his band at Serendipity, not only shares an appreciation for hand-painted signs, but created his own as well.
“It was fun, and it’s really, I think, gathered some attention,” said Tison. “I work in an industrial park, so you see a lot of old signs that somebody actually did hand paint. You can see the craftsmanship.”
Lambrigtsen’s signs are found scattered throughout the community. However, some local businesses aiming to attract customers with custom-made signs, have reached out to other artists.
Twenty-two years ago, Flowers On Main was introduced to Downtown Menomonie. Cynthia Kleindl, the owner, made her mark with none other than two hand-painted, signs. She reached out to an artist from Colfax to design and bring her ideas to life.
“I just think it has a better look to it, more appealing, more homey.”
The lampposts of Main Street mirror the lamppost on her sign, portraying a connection between business and community.
Lambrigtsen has made a home in Menomonie, thriving off the market for hand-painted works.
“Hopefully the sign reflects [a business owner’s] story,” said Lambrigtsen. “And what they want to present.”
These signs are not simply for looks.
“Everyone has its purpose.”
Each board presents its own personality through aspects of reclaimed wood, or the stroke of a brush. Over time, each sign develops a history, enclosing memories and stories.
Tison creates with intent. Knock and Kleindl create with meaning. And Lambrigtsen chooses to create with passion.
Vintage Sign Shop continues to grow, and so does Lambrigtsen’s talents.
“There are so many things to learn, and I will never learn them all.”