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Grandfather inspires ASGA Young Stars winner

Stuart McNaught, the Young Stars gold medallist in this year’s ASGA/SGIAA awards, says his winning entry Tooths KB Lager will be gifted to his grandfather, who helped to inspire the design.

tooths KB lager
Stuart McNaught's ASGA award-winning entry, Tooth's KB Lager

In an interview via email with Wide Format Online, the junior account manager from Fremont Creative Sign Company, located at Peakhurst in Sydney’s south, also thanked his teachers at TAFE Ultimo, Ray Carroll and Paul Richards.

Q: How did the idea for winning entry come about? 

In my final year of studies at Ultimo TAFE, I chose hand-rendered pictorials as an elective. We were tasked with re-creating a painting of our choosing. Having a growing interest in hand painted signs and gold leaf, I looked to my copy of ‘Refreshing! Art off the Pub Wall’ and chose a KB Tooth’s pub mirror for my piece. I decided on the ‘The favourite of fisherman’ design as upon completion it would be gifted to my grandfather, who is a keen fisherman.
I had originally planned on doing the painting on a piece of MDF and backing it up behind the glass. However, when my teachers Ray Carroll and Paul Richards found out they insisted that I paint the pictorial on paper and transfer it onto the glass, using traditional techniques. Both Ray and Paul were very generous in sharing their knowledge on the methods used to make a sign like this.

Q: How was it produced?

It is 23k gold leaf, enamel and paint made from colour pigment/gold size on glass. With an oil painting floated onto the back to the glass, using a traditional water transfer method.

stuart mcnaught
Stuart McNaught at last month's ASGA awards in Sydney Olympic Park

Q: Was it a surprise to hear that you’d won the Young Stars gold medal at the ASGA/SGIAA awards?

I had received a phone call prior to the awards saying that I had been nominated but not where I placed. It’s definitely a great feeling being recognised. I considered it a big honour just to be nominated, let alone win! 

Q: How did you start out in the industry?

I originally studied a Diploma of Commercial Art (Graphic Design) but after completing my studies I realised I was after something a bit more hands on, while still being in a creative industry. I got in contact with Paul Richards from Sydney TAFE and he put me in touch with a company in Mascot where I began my sign-writing apprenticeship. One of the key differences I found from doing an apprenticeship while studying at TAFE is their approach to industry-based learning. I like how what we are taught in the classroom is then reinforced in our workplace.

Q: What kind of work are you doing at Fremont Creative? 

I have been at Fremont Creative Sign Co for over a year now. I started as an apprentice working in the production side of the business and have since moved into a new role as a junior account manager. Our work is predominantly in the hospitality industry where we pride ourselves on the quality of our custom-made signage.
Fremont is owned by business partners Brett Dallas and Dave Peck. They have been shaping the company for the past decade, and work tirelessly to make sure we uphold a high standard in everything we do. Fremont is very innovative and also incredibly supportive, which is what makes it such a rewarding company to work for.
Apart from being very interested in traditional hand painted signs, in particular gold leaf signs, I am also very interested in seeing how new materials and technology shape the industry in the coming years.

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