Launching (and asking for your help)

I’m excited to announce the launch of a new blog dedicated to urban sketches of vintage signage in San Jose, California. If you have followed this blog for a while, you know that sketching these signs has been an obsession for the last few years.


Thanks to a grant from The Knight Foundation and History San José I am now researching those signs I have sketched, and sketching more on my list that I haven’t got around to  yet. Eventually, all those sketches will turn into a book and an exhibit.


Here’s where I’d love your help:

If you know a history buff, interested in the history of Santa Clara Valley. Or someone who lived in the area and might know more about these signs or have a story to share, could you point them to the site? (Details at the end of this post)

I’d love to hear from them: Part of the challenge of the project is that I want to find out more about the stories behind these signs. And some signs are better documented than others. Many of the stories probably live only with the families that ran or patronized these businesses. And how much richer this project would be if I could collect those stories!

Here is how you can follow this project:

Go to and click “Follow Me” at the bottom of the page, in red, to follow the blog and get notifications straight to your email every time I blog a new set of sketches. You can also use the contact page to send me a message.

Follow Vintage Signs San Jose on facebook

Or look up #vintagesignssanjose on Instagram


Want to know more? It’s all on the site,

More about the project here.

And a list of signs I am sketching here.



About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in Close to home, san jose, Silicon Valley, Vintage Signs and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Launching (and asking for your help)

  1. Great project, Suhita, and I wish you well. I don’t know anything about San Jose, but you might see if there is a historical society in the area. They might be able to help you.


    • Thanks Sharon. I work with the local historical society and they are immensely helpful but with vernacular architecture, so many of the stories and history isn’t documented because they are small family businesses. And that’s where I’m hoping that stories from people will come in and help fill the gaps.


  2. D. Abreu says:

    This is fantastic Sujita! congratulations. I’ll be following this project. I wish I was closer. This is awesome. Vey awesome.



  3. miatagrrl says:

    Wonderful project, Suhita!!



  4. cd1990 says:

    best wishes



  5. Alison says:

    I hope you have the Western Appliance sign at West San Carlos and Bascom on your list. I love that sign.
    You could try contacting Ray Giese, a local sign painter for 60 years. He took photos of all his work over the decades. I’m not sure of his state of health, he would be in his 90s now. His daughter is a retired school teacher in the area who taught our kids.


    • Alison, thank you for writing in! Yes, I have the Western Appliance sign sketched ( but not blogged) already.
      Ray Giese passed away a few years ago. There’s a wonderful exhibit on his lifetime’s work on at History| san Jose right now. If you know of a way I can contact his daughter, let me know, I’m sure she knows a lot about the signs I am researching.


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