Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Our Fair Gnome

We received an email in our catch-all "query" mailbox last week, and it was a real blast from the past. We need not add anything further, as the note says it all.

My name is Richard Mansfield, I carved the Punccinello that stands outside your door. (The one you guy guys continually abuse with your idiotic paint schemes.) (And, somewhere around there, there is a hand with an extra finger--that's mine as well--and a baseball player with an articulated arm--that's my work.)
Also, at one time I created every goddamned sign in that place.

Let me tell you something about that:

I walked into Richard Savoy's little hole in the wall bookstore (best guess 1973 or 4) and asked him if he needed any signs. He said, "No, we don't use signs."

He assured me that his customers enjoyed stumbling around through the place with the hope of eventually discovering some order in the apparent madness. While I was there, maybe eight, maybe ten people interrupted him to ask where they might find one thing or another.

"Maybe I could just do a chart, you know a floor plan." "No, thank you. I really don't want signs in here," he said just as if he owned the goddamned place--which he did of course.

So, I went down the block a bit to a bookstore--not yet then called The Jabberwock (and I wish I could remember that guy's name...Bob, I think...had a house on 2nd Avenue, bird watcher.) But that guy, whatever his name, looked at my work and said, "Yeah, give me some large signs for each section and some shelf-size signs. He made up a long list.

So, I made the signs and sold them to the guy and he put them to use and, after a couple days, called me, declared the signs effective, and asked for more.
With that encouragement I stopped in at The Green Apple on my way home and hit Savoy again. I told him that the guy down the street was using my work and he said, "Really...? From the way he said it I got the idea that other had shattered some kind of sacred trust by using signs in his joint.

Couple days later, I deliver the signs to Robert (I'm beginning to think that was his name) and he tells me that (his) competition down the street wants to see me.
So, I stop in and Richard Savoy tells me that he's seen what I'd done down the street and he ordered a few small signs. From that moment on Savoy was sign crazed: I didn't stop making signs for him for almost a year..steady employment, filling up that entire goddamned place with signs.

And I guess that's all I have to say about that.

richard mansfield

P.S. We've always known him as Mergatroid. I don't know why.


RichmondSFBlog said...

"The one you guy guys continually abuse with your idiotic paint schemes" LOL! Tell us how you really feel Richard...

Rachel said...

Wow, what a great email to get!
Such a bizarre blast from the past.