No one is denying that we live in a dynamic and exhilarating world when it comes to technology, but every now and then we need to step back and smell the non-digital roses.
Some trades have all but succumbed entirely to digitalisation, and sign painting is one of them. You can now have any sign, any size, any typeface you want, but there is something most alluring about a sign that has been painstakingly drawn by hand; master sign painter TJ Guzzardi knows all about this business. Working out of a funky warehouse in downtown Tullamarine, TJ is pumping out signs quicker than you can say “1956”.
As a youngster, TJ helped his dad build and restore hot rods, when he decided to try his hand at pin striping – an art form well entrenched in the rockabilly subculture. TJ started out striping cars and bikes and then moved into more traditional typeface fonts. Making signs for friends and family as a hobby, soon enough he found that his reputation as one of few sign painters around was spreading rapidly.
Fast forward to today, TJ is flat out painting beautiful signage for some of Australia’s favourite and iconic haunts. With clients such as Porteno in Sydney and Shawcross Pizza in Fitzroy, the day Milk Bar met TJ he was flicking his brush over the interior and exterior of what is soon to become Melbourne’s newest food van for Chingon; a stunning copper beauty to complement their Mexican cantina in Richmond.
“People have lost themselves in convenience, there aren’t too many of us in the trade anymore and I want to show people the beauty of what a true piece of craftsmanship is,” remarks TJ.
“Work is coming in steadily and I always welcome more challenging and larger jobs – give me a surface, I’ll paint it.” TJ is currently decking out The Beaufort hotel in Carlton with his beautiful craftsmanship where, if you’re quick, you may just catch him in action.