Many people choose to ride “vintage” inspired trends, chewing up and spitting out everything from bellbottoms to mid-century modern furniture.
Andy Scott doesn’t ride vintage trends. He is clearly, truly inspired by all things old-world. Real artifacts of the past, not reproductions or digital recreations, are what Andy loves. When I entered Andy’s house in midtown Mobile, a neighborhood full of character-rich older houses, my eyes first landed on the bookshelf lined with old vinyl records. Not a single shelf wanted for albums; every crevice possible was filled with a record of some sort. The kitchen displayed a funky 70s-era dining table set with translucent acrylic-backed chairs, and moving in the back room revealed an antique Coke machine, adorned with white pinstriping. In his backyard, an impressively large stack of old school surf boards laid to the left of the house. “Surfing: that was my first real passion.”
The signs are clear: Andy doesn’t hand-paint signs because it’s some sort of new trend. In fact, it seems to be the opposite. “Something about hand painting signs feels punk rock to me,” he laughs. “Those guys in the eighties, they were all painting signs, working on cars, and surfing. It just feels punk rock.”
(Cue distorted guitars)
As a Graphic Design graduate from University of South Alabama, Andy’s background meant he was familiar with the basics of signage. In fact, he was already known in many circles as “Andy the sign guy,” due to his current job at Gwin’s printing and prior days owning a sign shop of his own. He didn’t really think to get into painted signs, until one day he found a time capsule that once belonged to a sign painter. This box of painting tools and supplies was given to him by a friend who was gutting a house, found the box, and thought, “Andy would be into this”.
Andy immediately became obsessed with its contents. Old photos from the 70s, alphabets, and color swatches all felt like pieces to a puzzle; clues to who this box’s owner was and what type of person he was. “I felt a weird connection to whoever owned this box, you know? I was learning from him just through the alphabets he had and tools I’d never seen… It was almost like he was becoming my mentor in a way.” After some searching and light Facebook stalking, Andy found the son of the man who once owned the box. “He just said, ‘Oh yeah, you found his painting box?