Aussie-born Luke Stockdale’s formal training is in graphic design, but at a height of 6’7″ he’s never been comfortable sitting behind a desk. So after marrying a Nashville native and moving to Tennessee in 2009, he took things into his own large hands.
These days, Luke fashions custom letters and marquees out of pieces of rusted steel and reclaimed wood. His signage lights up homes and businesses across the country, including LeBron James’ private office at the Nike headquarters in Oregon and master leatherworker Emil Erwin’s Nashville workshop. Prices range $75-$2,200; sideshowsignco.com
The Process: “I start with a computer-generated design and print it out large. Using that as a stencil, I cut the letter out of wood, bend steel around it, and attach it by hand to the wood.”
The Wood: “I use as much salvaged wood as I can, but when I have to use new material, I knock it around.”
The Inspiration: “I love the classic marquees that theaters once used, so I thought, ‘I’ll do this for people who can’t find the real thing,’ because I can create custom signs that look like they’ve been around since the 1930s.”
The Metal: “I get crude steel from a local metalworks, and then I weather it using a mixture of bleach, heat, and humidity, which makes the metal rust 5 years in 10 days. I water the rust garden in my backyard every night.”