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"Perfect storm" of artist gathers for underpass entry sign

Artists, from left, Bob Partlow, Kevin Anderson and Terry Weaver are preparing to create the entry sign for the Santa Fe underpass. It’s the first time these longtime friends have come together to work on a project. Photo by Tony Cagala

ENCINITAS — What do a local mosaic maker, a mural maker and sign maker all have in common?


They’ve been tapped to come together for the making of the humdinger-of-all-signs: A 7-feet by 6-feet entry sign for the soon to be completed Santa Fe underpass


Encinitas artists Terry Weaver, Kevin Anderson and Bob Partlow will start working to create a double-sided sign from sandblasted redwood, representing Encinitas on one side and Cardiff on the other in a mix of glass, wood and paint.


“We’ve been friends for a long time,” said Partlow. “This is the first time we’ve actually did anything together.”


Weaver explained that because of each of their respective mediums, there never really was an opportunity to come and work together.


But it all started coming together when, earlier in the year, Dody Crawford, executive director of DEMA (Downtown Encinitas Mainstreet Association), saw the Encinitas city emblem created in glass tile mosaic that Weaver had done for the city’s 25th anniversary.


She said they were already considering Partlow to create the entry sign for the underpass, but knew that when she saw the medallion it had to be a part of it.


Partlow, who’s created most of the parks and beach signs welcoming travelers into the coastal cities, including the “Welcome to Cardiff-by-the-Sea,” sign, then enlisted the help muralist Kevin Anderson.


Anderson had several projects already in the works when he got the call from Partlow; he’s just finished a mural for the Veterans Village of San Diego. Having grown up in Solana Beach and having spent much of his youth in Encinitas, Anderson said that, given the project was local and for the city of Encinitas, he would make time to be a part of it.


Being a part of this is a sense of local pride, he said. “It’s kind of cool to be like hometown boys coming together on a project like that,” he said.


Weaver, the artist behind the tile mosaics placed throughout the sidewalks of S. Coast Highway 101, described this new project as “a perfect storm of artists.”


Partlow, 75, a self-described one-eyed retired Marine, said he loves being a part of this project. “I keep saying each (sign) is my swan song, and then another comes along.”


He’s been creating signs since he was 9-years-old, getting his start by painting a naked girl on the fender skirt of some guy’s car, he explained. “A couple hours later, the town cop came back with him by the ear and made me put some clothes on it,” he said.


He’s been involved with signmaking for more than 50 years and owns Bob Partlow Sign Artist in Encinitas.


Partlow has lived in Encinitas since 1982. His family ancestry, he’s proud to say, came to the United States in 1613 from Cardiff, Wales.


Weaver will work on the mosaic medallions for both sides of the sign that will feature the cities’ emblems.


“We are going through a design development now,” Weaver said.


He added that they’ve been working with Peder Norby on what imagery might end up on the sign.


On the Encinitas side, Weaver said the sign will consist of the boat house imagery and the Coaster.


In addition to the boat house, Anderson said the La Paloma Theatre will also be featured on the sign. Those are the images that stay in peoples’ minds, Anderson explained. Even people that aren’t from the area, he added. The artists said they look to have the sign finished in November.


The underpass is slated to open at the end of the year.As far as the process is going with all three friends working together it seems to be going pretty good, Anderson said. “So long as Bob keeps in his corner,” he added.

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