by ALLISON DALEY, Cascade A&E Editorial Intern
Signs are something we see every day, but we rarely think about the creative mind behind them. Barton Stubblefield is one such creative mind, and has been a professional in the sign and design industry for over 40 years. Recently moved from Madison, Wisconsin, he is transitioning from the signage business to selling his artwork. “I wanted to move to a different area that would expand my creativity,” Stubblefield said. After visiting Bend, he liked the climate, the people and the bustling art community.
At a young age, Stubblefield learned to use many hands-on tools while working with his father, a finish carpenter. “I was always interested in drawings, graphics…and larger signage,” he said. Leaving home at 13, he started lettering trucks and windows and painting signs in his small farming community. By 20, he was a master hand letterer and had started making electrical, metal and wood signs.
Stubblefield is primarily self-taught. He begins his projects with hand-drawn designs and continues through with the engineering and installation process. “You have to be able to design, engineer, sell…be a welder, an electrician; you have to do it all,” he explained. Stubblefield creates signs for offices, businesses and homes, and can work with almost any material: steel, aluminum, glass, reclaimed woods, gold leaf and others. Depending on the project, a piece can take anywhere from three hours to a week to complete, with some of his largest projects including the Memphis Redbirds scoreboard and a LED sign for the Atlanta Braves.
He continues to make signs, but is now focused on his artwork. In June, Stubblefield had his first showcase at Bend Furniture and Design. Owner, Heather Cashman, said, “Barton’s Word Project is what captivated us. Almost everyone has a word that resonates with them. Barton’s clever way of creating a dimensional piece using mixed mediums is a totally unique approach, like nothing we have seen before.”
Stubblefield primarily draws inspiration from the people he works with. “I mostly enjoy working with the client, because they help me create…they let me know what their purpose is behind the piece of art..and I can help them with that,” he said. Cashman commented, “His ability to connect with people allows his commissioned work to be completely personalized.”