Interview with Bruce Farkas
Bruce Farkas’s return-to-Cleveland story is not unlike many native Clevelanders’ stories. After painting signs and traveling by motorcycle in cities across the country, he returned home for a visit with his family. That was nearly 30 years ago. His return to Cleveland inspired him to start his business, Signature Sign, in 1987.
Dozens of iconic signs around Greater Cleveland can be attributed to Farkas and his team. Melt Bar and Grilled, Cowell & Hubbard, Urban Farmer, and The Capitol Theater are just a few of the local businesses that have brightened their storefronts and neighborhoods with Signature Sign’s creative and playful work.
“We fabricate just about any kind of sign there is,” Farkas says. “We can build ordinary signs, but we don’t like to do that. We are known for building things that are out of the ordinary, cool and kitschy.”
While Clevelanders may recognize their kitschy and creative signage, they may not know that the company also fabricates public art, and has worked with LAND studio since its Cleveland Public Art days. “We did the Cleveland Public Art signage at the office on West 26th Street in Ohio City, “Bruce remembers. “That started a collaborative relationship that continues today.”
Other Signature Sign / LAND studio collaborations include Rotaflora in Slavic Village, Kirtland Kite in the St. Clair Superior neighborhood, and an outdoor public art installation, Terella, at The Westin Hotel. “When someone comes to us to talk about fabricating a 35 ft. dandelion (Rotaflora), we think outside the box on how to work with the artist or organization to get it done,” says Bruce. “This process involves designers and fabricators that aren’t afraid to do things in a new way, and really are into it. Our people are into making it happen.”
Creating large-scale public art installations involves a team of designers, artists, and fabricators. “In some projects we may be working with a graphic designer, who is accustomed to working in two dimensions, so we have to think creatively how to make that leap from the page to fabricating a sculpture or piece in three dimensions,” Bruce says.
“But we are lucky most people we work with are really open, clever, insightful, and helpful in bringing a piece to life and how to get it done.”
When asked to name a favorite project, Bruce is hesitant to choose one. “I really like the original sign for Cleveland Public Art, and Rotaflora was a fun one to do,” Bruce shares. “In general, I am proud to see our work around Cleveland. We are proud of our hometown, and that our work can have even a small impact.”
See some of Signature Sign & LAND studio’s work for yourself. Check out land-studio.org for details on these one-of-a-kind installations.
1939 West 25th Street, Suite 200
Cleveland, Ohio 44113