In Bentonville, Arkansas, art is a huge part of the downtown scene. Around every corner it seems like there is a different public work: painted on an old brick wall, a sculpture next to the bike trail, or tucked in local shops and eateries.
For those who have visited THRIVE Bentonville, you have seen the sign painting work of Olivia Trimble, owner of Sleet City Signwriting. We caught up with Olivia to discuss what it takes to be a serious sign painter, and learn more about what inspires her.
How did you get into sign painting?
I'm a second generation sign painter. My stepdad, Eric Snodgrass has been painting signs for longer than I've been alive, and I grew up watching him. I was mildly interested in it as a child, and I've always been partial to businesses with beautiful signs. It wasn't until I was 25 that I tried my hand at painting some crafty signs. I had a booth at The Little Craft Show in 2011 and amazingly enough, people bought my stuff! During the same period of time, Onyx Coffee Lab approached me about painting a sign for them, it was my first 'real' sign. Things have grown since then.
Can you share a fun experience you have had with sign painting?
Painting a 17 foot long metal arrow with a point that was way taller than I am was pretty fun! It was giant and crazy bright and my sister Georgia helped me knock that one out. It's not every day that you get something like that!
What is one thing you would want people to know about sign painting?
Sign painting is really hard, it takes years to figure out what you're doing, and then it takes more years to get good. A sign painter needs to have an eye for design, patience, willingness to constantly learn and adapt, basic woodworking skills (or a great wood worker), I could go on and on.
What inspires you?
I have a small but insanely important group of people who inspire me. My step dad Eric has taught me so much, and he amazes me with his work ethic and his willingness to always help me figure things out. Norma Jeanne Maloney in Austin, Texas has been a huge influence on me. She's been immensely helpful and supportive, plus she's a champion for women to break into sign painting. Ross Trimmer in Richmond, VA and Christian Shaknakitis in Pittsburgh, PA are both excellent sign painters who I've become friends with. All of these folks drive me to learn more and work harder.
If you'd like to keep up with Olivia and her projects, follow her on Twitter! @SleetCityWoman
Or check out her work with other clients:
Onyx Coffee Lab, Ozark Beer Company, American Estates, Passive Juice Motel, Greyline Creative, Nightbird Books, The Handlebar, Shindig Paperie, Gingiber, Oven and Tap, Fork & Crust and many more!
Are you a local business owner and want to share what makes you THRIVE? We're always looking for more blog and content ideas-shoot us an email with yours!