ID-Sort:  564-10
Log Date: 12/31/2012
Image:    1/29

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The logo on this sign is freehand calligraphy painted by Werner Hoebel in 1978 just inside the door where it is shown hanging in Scott’s Meadow, Sugar Loaf, NY.

It was done without templates or pre-drawing.

First Werner cut the sign perimeter freehand out of a single 4x8 sheet of plywood using a skill-saw with only two small marks placed at the bottom to define the width for the door opening.

Then we all went for a hike up to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain.

The green background was applied in the late afternoon and allowed to dry while Mary, Werner, Teddy Wunderlich, and I attended one of Susan Tanner's famous parties up in the red barn on main street.

When we came back from the party (and after a lot of pacing around) Werner taped two paint brushes side by side to get the correct width and wrote 'Fantasy' as a quick start-to-finish calligraphy ... no pre-sketch or gridlines were used, nor any editing afterwards.

After a deep breath to reset his focus Werner added 'Factory' in the same manner.

Then Werner went to a single brush and added the entire black outline — in a single smooth motion without lifting his hand while he walked slowly around the sign which was resting on saw horses slightly below waist-height near the center of the room.

The entire calligraphy and border took less than 3 minutes.

The penning was as casual as someone signing their name.

However, Werner had nervously paced around the bare green sign for almost an hour before beginning.

It was a long time later (after years more musical performance and teaching experience on my part) before I realized Werner's nervous "aggravating delay" before starting the penning (while he quizzed us on what we wanted to do with our business) was actually Werner's Zen-like preparation as he progressively settled himself for his "calligraphy performance".

In the arts community at the time, the most lavish compliment that could be bestowed on somebody was that he or she, "... has a fine hand."

Teddy Wunderlich who was there for the signing once showed me hundreds of examples of art frame matting with beveled oval openings that were hand cut using only an x-acto type mat knife.

Those mats were laying around in the attic of a garage at his parents’ house in Ossining, NY ... his parents owned Kennedy Art Galleries.

Among other things, Werner had designed the packaging for an iconic Bufferin box, but he told me he had dropped out of NYC corporate advertising after realizing he was designing packaging for third world people who were so focused on being "just like America" they were actually keeping themselves impoverished by paying more for the packaging than for the product (food) inside it.

I eventually watched the same misguided drive to be part of slick and glossy corporate America take over the lost children of Sugar Loaf, move them away from a tried and true artistic vision, and push them toward the same third world poverty.

Those who resisted (or better yet hated) the distraction survived unscathed.

Here is a photo of Werner's Bufferin packaging:

During the period when he created the Fantasy Factory sign above, I also watched Werner pen numerous outdoor business signs and deli counter signs in Ossining, NY.

From a distance the signs looked like regular commercial signage, but when you got close to them you could see little figures, faces, and scrollwork stitched into the text and design elements.

Werner said, "I hate being bored, so I make it interesting for myself."

He refused payment for our Fantasy Factory sign saying, "The best thing in life is doing good work for good friends."

In that way I received yet another statement and reinforcement toward the correct attitude for careful artisan work which set the stage and fueled the success of our time in Sugar Loaf.

Another quote from Werner: "Stilling the human mind is like trying to hold back a hurricane with your hands."

I guess that statement makes more sense if you are standing behind Werner seeing him upstretch his arms full length into the air against a black churning sky of a vast approaching twilight storm horizon to horizon.