Sketching old signs in San Jose has always had a sense of urgency for me. I never know when a sign on my long list of ‘want to sketch signs’ will be gone.
I started noticing and sketching these signs 4 or 5 years ago. A grant from the Knight Foundation over this last year is what has really helped me pick up the pace on sketching these signs. (More about the grant and this project here)
I think I almost missed this one. A House of Flowers is hidden by beautifully blooming crepe myrtle trees on East Santa Clara St. The store is long gone but the sign still remains. It’s kinda ironic that a sign for a flower shop, badly in need of restoration, is surrounded by a healthy, beautifully blooming tree. Here it is, on it’s last legs. Just last week, it had all it’s neon tubing intact, (like you see in this photograph by Heather David, taken only a few months ago) but when I was there a couple of days ago, the tubing was gone.
It’s a real shame when signs get taken apart. Neon tube bending is a dying art. Look at this photograph, again by Heather for a closeup of the tubing: that’s all hot glass tubing bent by an artist to custom-create each individual neon sign.
Will the sign stay? I don’t know. Go see it before it’s gone.
438 East Santa Clara St.