David Bond and the Art of the Craft

November 03, 2017

David Bond stands as a testament to the power of tradition and craft. Born and raised on a ranch in California, Bond discovered early that he was an artist, and found ways to align this calling with his background as a rancher, skateboarder, punk, and motorcycle enthusiast. This naturally led him to sign painting, for which he's had a lifelong passion and 28 year career. Bond recently collaborated with 805 Beer and is featured in our December 2017 issue, so we wanted to ask him a little more about his passions and get some context to his masterful signwork.

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How did you get interested in trucks, bikes, and sign painting? Has that been a lifelong passion?
I have been working as a sign writer for over 28 years. My career started quite by accident, as a starving art college student, needing gas money. I took a paid apprenticeship with a long time sign man. I had 50+ years of experience passed down by him to me. I also had the privilege of receiving tips from his mentors during that time. So an incredible wealth of knowledge was passed my way.

My company Lucky B Design Is solely a traditional hand lettering and pinstriping business. That has been my full-time job for the last 28 years. Business through the years has changed drastically. When I started, computer generated vinyl signage had almost killed sign writing, which meant that I had to go where the business was. Vintage drag cars/custom motorcycles/trucks/boats were my bread-and-butter. These clients still wanted the quality and authenticity of  hand lettered work. My love for vintage cars and motorcycles has always been with me I believe, and I have owned many of each. 

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How do you feel like growing up on a ranch has affected your work? I grew up on a dairy farm and find that it sneaks into so many other aspects of my life.
Growing up on a ranch was incredible, and I use our family's cattle brand (the Lucky B) as my business name. Growing up in that way really sets you up for the world! My parents were both very cool in the fact that they understood I was an artist from birth. Their advice was always; if that’s what you are going to do for a living, do it the best that you can! This gave me the ability and the self-confidence to run with my craft. 

As a teenager, I was a cowboy/skateboarder/punk rocker, and I used to think that was so odd, and I was the only person anywhere like that. As I’ve gotten older, I realize that that was not the case. Growing up on a ranch taught me chivalry, work ethic, perseverance, and also, I think, given me a pretty broad outlook on life. I’m not content to just sit around, I’m always pushing forward. Most of my creative influence stems from the way I was raised, and traditional working design.

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How did you get connected with Steve Caballero? Do you find that a lot of people involved in the prominent "countercultures," like skateboarding, punk music,  have a particular appreciation for hand-painted, classic styles?
As far as countercultures, skateboarding in particular, has a direct connection between the crafts like motorcycling and art/music. As young skaters, we were constantly trying to push the envelope, to create at our own pace. A great deal of skateboarders were drawn to the sport because of this and their artistic mindset. As we have aged, we continue to pursue those individual creative “freedom” paths, so motorcycling, and vintage cars often fill the void. 

How did working with 805 come about?
805 beer approached me after seeing a Fourth of July party at my old house/shop. We had a blowout, with old cars/motorcycles and about 300 people throughout the day. It all happened very organically, they saw something they liked, and that they didn’t quite understand, so they asked about it. At that point 805 beer was only local, and they were looking to portray the local, by using interesting local people. I’ve been working with them now for roughly 3 years. 

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Do you have any upcoming projects that you're working on?
Over the last several years, sign painting Has really experienced a rebirth. There is a soul to a hand-painted job, that even if the viewer doesn’t understand what they’re looking at, they pick up on. The pendulum has swung back in the direction of craftsmen, and I couldn’t be happier! I have done several tours around the country, painting through Texas, restoring old building façade’s, etc. It has really been outstanding! I look forward to the future, as it continues this upswing. It’s cool that I’ve sort of become this old-timer in the business, and many young hopeful sign painters will often ask questions. It means a lot, and it means that I’ve done something right. I have worked for Harley Davidson, Patagonia, Nike, Oakley, Vans and many other companies. It is really pretty cool, that giant companies realize the value of hand lettering.

Thanks David!

Interview questions by William Lankford