Ches Perry: The Timeless Allure of Hand-Painted Signs [Podcast]
Step aside, digital design, and make way for the magic of hand-crafted signage.
On today’s podcast episode, host and NOT REAL ART founder Scott “Sourdough” Power sits down with Chicago-based sign painter Ches Perry to discuss the timeless allure of hand-made art. “Never dreamt I'd be painting signs for the rest of my life,” says Ches, who wanted to be a commercial artist growing up. “But I loved that. That was the weird thing. Right from the beginning, I just loved sitting there all day long and practicing my lettering.”
A true master of the craft, Ches trained at the Institute of Lettering and Design before opening Rightway Signs, a Chicago-based company that specializes in hand-painted designs. Ches and his team aren’t confined to hand-painted lettering, though; their expertise covers digital design, murals, neon, and eye-catching rooftop signage. “Whether you're on the side of a roof, or wherever, you're by yourself,” says Ches, who revels in the solitary life of a sign painter. “I think most artists are that way. Whether it's a sign painter or a regular artist, they like that alone thing. When you're doing something that you love. No distractions.”
Ches and Scott discuss the long history of sign painting, how the field has evolved since the ’70s, and what the future holds for the next generation of sign painters. Ches also shares details about his journey from Newfoundland to Chicago, how he fell in love with sign painting, and the three intensive years he spent learning the fundamentals of signage. Above all, Ches feels grateful to work in a field that brings him so much joy: “People sometimes ask me, ‘When are you gonna retire?’ I say ‘never.’ I never worked a day in my life. This is like a hobby.”
Tune into today’s episode on the player above to hear our conversation with a true icon of sign painting, Ches Perry.