Episode 13: Cool Hand Ken Davis
MASTER SIGN PAINTER
If you keep creating, the energy stays at a constant and that energy gets recognized.
Let me introduce you to "Cool Hand" Ken Davis. As he says on his Instagram profile, he is, "one of the last wild sign painters." Ken grew up in Fremont, California in a creative household. He thanks his grandma as one of his inspirations who began his road down this creative life. He learned from an early age that just because something doesn't exist doesn't mean it can't; just go out and create it.
Growing up in Fremont he found himself drawn to the skater lifestyle where graphics and lettering are everywhere. Ken stated, “I always loved dope graphics but still found myself dazing longer to the lettering that's behind the graphics.” This interest in lettering led him to do more research on this art form. One day when he was walking from a late night rock show, he passed a shop that changed his life path. He saw, through a little opening from a window, someone sitting there, in their own world, painting a sign for the shop. At that point he knew this is what he was meant to do and pursued his dream of becoming a sign maker. He went from picking up his first book on lettering to receiving a dream apprenticeship opportunity where he built his foundation on sign making. Today, he is doing what he loves by making astounding signs for a variety of clients such as Benny Gold, Thrasher magazine and many other clients throughout the Bay Area and across the nation.
For people getting into art, you should definitely make yourself known. The best way to make yourself known is by making good work and being a nice person.
In this podcast, we talked about:
His home memories of being a household of creatives
Where his nickname came from
When Ken started taking sign painting seriously
Self-teaching vs. Apprenticeship
Humility and the bell curve of getting better
Some of Ken's favorite pieces he has worked on
Quality vs. Quantity
Balancing life and work
How Ken wants to define his legacy
Plus other great insights on Ken's mindset of work and life.
In speaking with Ken, you see that he is a very self-aware individual. He lives his life with a passion for what he does, balances work by enjoying the fresh air of nature and practicing every day on his craft. I want to say he is a “master of his craft,” but I know he would say "I'm always going to be striving to be a master."
Enjoy the podcast and do what you love.
In this episode, here are Some Questions I ask & what You will learn:
Ken's Introduction (1:20)
Ken talks about living with creative roommates. (2:20)
What's Ken earliest memory of being into art? (3:30)
Being around an environment of creatives. (4:47)
Ken talks about podcasts and how it relates to the art game. (6:35)
Talks about what makes us special. (7:00)
Where did "Cool Hand Ken" nickname come from? (9:20)
Talks about how his roommate encouraged him to lettering. (11:00)
Bohemia Signs (11:30)
When Ken decided to take sign painting seriously. (12:30)
Humility and the bell curve to learning. (16:12)
Self-taught vs Apprenticeship (19:55)
Always trying to push yourself (20:45)
Ken's process... (22:11)
What has been Ken's favorite pieces? (24:03)
Ken talks 6th Street of San Francisco (26:00)
Ken's Dream Project... (27:03)
What's Ken's typical day like? (28:43)
Creating Everyday (35:00)
Quality vs Quantity with Content Creation. (36:25)
What piece of advice Ken would give to a future artist? (23:19)
What's one strength Ken sees in himself? (41:50)
WIDWID (Why I Do What I Do) (43:55)
What does Ken do for fun?. (26:12)
Life is Good (48:58)
Specific places Ken likes... (49:40)
How Ken wants to define his legacy. (54:20)
Ken is... (55:10)
Contact Info. (56:10)
FOLLOW KEN DAVIS
Editor’s Note: This story was shared through a Scotch Parlor Podcast. Photography was done by Rick Scotch in Fremont, CA
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