Rick Janzen is something of a sign painter anomaly. You might even call Rick Janzen a sign painter miracle.
Janzen created a name for himself bourgeoning the hand paint market in the midst of the vinyl surge of the 1980s. An intuitive recognition of a need for large-scale photorealistic set backdrops gave Janzen a leg up on a market that remained relatively untapped in the realm of hand paint authenticity. Set design, scenic backdrops, and hand-painted signs for movie sets – primarily Westerns, as the typeface styles were difficult to replicate digitally – kept Janzen in the business long after the hand paint market took a dive. When asked how he managed to break into the business when he did, Janzen laughs affably and replies “sheer luck.”
“Sheer luck” has been favorable for Janzen, an Alberta, Canada resident who’s hand paint services have landed him jobs on sets for “Inception,” “Brokeback Mountain,” and countless other blockbuster films, in addition to his hand-painted signage for businesses worldwide. But Lady Luck aside, Janzen’s charm may have won him a gig or two. “I remember,” he recalls with a chuckle, “thinking on set, ‘What a cool business. They have food and everything!’”
Of his business, Streamline Studios, Inc., Janzen prides himself on the detail with which he executes each individual project. He, like many other trade experts, understands that a painter who is passionate about his craft will carry out a job well done. Janzen ensures high quality work by operating as a one-man team. His studio lends the appropriate space for his projects, and any necessity for large-scale jobs simply calls for a few extra hands for hire. If he can manage on his own, that’s the way he works. “I like to know how to do everything myself,” says Janzen, “from coding my website to editing videos of my work. There’s less room for error if you can do it yourself.”
And favorite tools? “I am with brushes like some people are with shoes,” he laughs. “You can’t have enough.”
A true painter through and through.
This blog is part of an ongoing series by Colossal Media that spotlights local businesses and sign painters worldwide.