This family of locals want to show the world that St. Petersburg is a runner’s paradise.

For Ryan and Keith Jordan, exercise is a family pastime. Ryan runs three to five miles daily usually around town with his wife, Paula. Keith plays a lot of tennis, but still manages to run 25 miles a week or so. Keith’s wife Claire says she is more of a walker than a runner, and enjoys daily walks with the family dog, a Rottweiler named Edelman.

Though they are not native to St. Petersburg; each of them fell in love with the city and decided to move. Ryan came first, in 2000. He met Paula then–they were both getting their MBAs at University of Tampa. Keith and Claire, migrating from Austin, TX, followed suit a few years later, after visiting their brother’s new hometown.

“I love the soul of the city,” said Keith. “Not only is it beautiful, it has incredible culture, food, makers. It’s also really walkable (and runnable!), which is fantastic.”

Running together along the waterfront of Tampa Bay inspired an idea in Ryan and Keith. St. Petersburg was an ideal city for runners, and the perfect canvas for a world-class, premiere runner’s event.

The St. Pete Run Fest was born.

An event that leaves its competition in the dust

St. Pete Run Fest, which will take place November 18-19, is more than a typical 5k or half-marathon event. It is a two-day celebration of all things local: musicians, art, food and craft beer. There are also running tracks for everyone–from the half-marathon for seasoned runners to the fun and spirited Kid’s Walk.

This unique, immersive experience in local culture is by design. Claire wanted to embrace all of the things she loved about St. Petersburg in the festival. “St. Pete is so unique, and lends itself to such a varied run course – urban/business, parks, residential, and waterfront. Plus, seeing the residents here, always outside enjoying the weather, inspired me to create an outdoor event for both residents and visitors,” she said.

Ryan and Keith also envisioned an event that offered more than just a finish line. “The festival provides an opportunity to showcase more of the great aspects of St Pete,” said Ryan. “The races are part of the experience but the real reason people are running here is because of the city. This is a destination city and we built the festival to engage with our community, artists, makers and local organizations.”

Going the distance for a worthy cause

There is also a social impact to St. Pete Run Fest. When runners sign up for the Sunshine City 5k, every mile they run results in a $1 donation to the St Petersburg Free Clinic. Runners may also make an additional donation online when they register for either the Sunshine City 5K or the St Pete Half Marathon.

“We have many causes we are raising money and awareness for including the St Pete Free Clinic and Gold Together (pediatric cancer research),” said Ryan.

Keith added, “Charity is a big mission for the event.”

St. Pete Threads “a natural fit” for the Run Fest

All of the Jordans say they owned a few St. Pete Threads t-shirts before they reached out to see about designing a St. Pete Run Fest shirt. Ryan said of the partnership, “I love the shirts and reached out to Joe Hamilton to see if he would be interested in working with St Pete Run Fest.   

St. Pete Threads and Big Sea Design are incredible local organizations that make a real difference in our community.  It was a natural fit.”  

“When we met with them,” said Claire, “we just clicked as far as vision, creativity, and our hopes for the Run Fest.”

Keith agreed. “It’s been great working with them. We all have the same vision and goals for St. Pete, it seems!”

Inaugural event is just the beginning

The Jordans have big plans for the St. Pete Run Fest. “Our vision is to build a world recognized event that draws thousands of visitors to our beautiful city and raises millions of dollars for local charities,” said Ryan. “We see no reason why this event cannot be the biggest sporting event in Tampa Bay.”

Keith echoed that sentiment. “I believe we can create the best running event in the world here in St. Pete. The civic pride here is so impressive and our resources are incredible!”

The St. Pete Run Fest is a festival of running and wellness, and also a celebration of the authentic, unique character of the city. The Jordans believe the festival is an invitation for more people–local and visitors–to fall in love with the city like they did.

Claire summed it up this way, “My hope is that the Run Fest becomes a world-class event that draws people from all over the country and the world to our very special ‘bubble’ known as St. Pete. I want to involve everyone in the city, so that they feel pride and ownership in the event – whether they are a vendor, sponsor, volunteer or participant.”


Generations of creativity fueled this St. Pete designer’s hand-crafted career

Creativity is in Kristin’s Northup’s DNA. She comes from a family of artistic women–her grandmother, mother and two sisters. As far back as she can remember, she and her sisters spent their time creating things. If they were outside, they used twigs and leave, but indoors they turned to paper and origami. “We were always making things. It’s just part of my nature.”

St. Petersburg must also be in her nature. Her parents are both from the neighborhood, and while Kristin grew up in Fort Myers, she remembers visiting St. Pete a lot as a kid. When it came time to raise her own child, she knew the Burg was perfect.

Building a business, one drawing at a time

Kristin’s creativity was more than a hobby; she also made it her livelihood. It led her to University of Florida where she earned her BA in Graphic Design and then a career as a graphic designer and illustrator. By 2014, Kristin found herself so busy that she had little time for her own artistic endeavors.

“I realized it wasn’t allowing me the creative freedom I needed — the opportunity to develop my own ideas. I get an idea and I want to act on it. I want to try things,” she said. This realization also led to quick action: she left her job and started her own business.

“I just decided to jump into it.”

Brand is an homage to childhood fun

The Paper Zoo features Kristin’s original artwork of vibrant, fun and whimsical illustrations. The name is an homage to the fun she and her sisters had making little paper animals as children. “As adults, we’d visit each other’s houses and see we all had little animal tchotchkes. We were talking about that and how we used to make origami animals and then the name just came to me.”

Kristin continued to provide branding and marketing for companies as well, under the name Craft Brands. Her work can be seen at legendary local businesses such as O’berry’s Succulents and Green Bench Brewing. “What’s cool is I still get to do a lot of illustrations and creative work. That’s one of the things I love about those kinds of clients — I get to do a lot creative work and it’s fun.”

Local love inspires a new creative outlet

Local is part of Kristin’s artistic drive. She created an illustrated shopping map for Strands of Sunshine featuring 27 local shops. She was also a contributing artist in the My Sunshine City campaign, designing one of the many beautiful murals that turned a section of the Pinellas Trail into a local art exhibition. Her work on the mural inspired the In The Sun design on St. Pete Threads. “I became more active in T-shirt design back in October when I created a Nasty Woman shirt–before they were everywhere,” said Northup. That design was featured in Creative Loafing.

An entire community of creativity

When she’s not designing beautiful labels for breweries or kick-ass branding for local bands like The Hip Abduction, Kristin still keeps it local. She and her family love to walk the downtown area, visit other independent shops and restaurants. The small business community, she says, is one of her favorite things about the area. “I love the sense of community, especially as a small business owner. Small businesses here are really collaborative and supportive. Progressive and innovative people everywhere!”

Creativity really must run in Kristin’s blood. The artistic legacy of her family continues in her son. “He makes little books and little animals out of paper. It’s cool to see him doing the same thing I did as a kid and being creative.”


For one of our resident screenprinters and designers, St. Pete and creating are in his blood.

Adam Steadman has always created things.

As second generation St. Petersburg local who grew up in a creative family, he had plenty of opportunities to express himself. As a kid, he was involved in the arts, whether that was photography, music, or even cooking. In high school, that creativity turned to creating his own shirts by drawing on them with paint and pens. He dabbled in his friend’s dad’s screen printing company and got a taste for the business side of making art.

In college, he took art and screen printing classes but ultimately got an anthropology degree. “I loved creating things, but I didn’t think I could make a career out it,” says Steadman.

That changed when in 2006, he looked in his closet and said “I need some new shirts” and decided to start printing them again.

“I printed some of my first shirts for The Emerald and Cider House here in St. Pete and it took off from there.”

One of his designs for St. Pete Threads, the SP/FL, AC/DC inspired shirt was one of the first shirts he screen printed. Selling shirts wasn’t originally on the agenda – he says as a teenager he had a sort of “punk” attitude, and wanted to keep the shirts exclusive. After he began printing and selling the World Tour shirts with Chad Mize’s design, he realized it could become a business, and that a creative career could be possible.

Now Steadman runs his own screen printing business called Extra Medium Shirts. Don’t expect to find him online or to ‘like’ him on Facebook, his fan base grew entirely through word of mouth and referrals based on his great work.

He started printing St. Pete-specific shirts before St. Pete enthusiasm was as big as it is today. “Compared to when I was growing up, when everyone was trying to go away, now everyone wants to come back,” he says.

Nowadays, his work is everywhere. “I can’t go anywhere without seeing something I made, someone wearing one of the shirts. They’re just wondering why I’m staring and smiling at them.”

So what does this St. Pete native love about the city? “Number one has to be friends and family. Without the people you love, what’s the point?”

He names the warm weather as another huge plus, and likes that he was able to practically grow up on the beach. When he’s not working, he likes to be outside and enjoys kayaking, saying, “I love the balance between the city and nature.”

Although he’s traveled all over, including living in Tanzania for a year (which was also his senior year of college) he still finds himself wanting to be in St. Pete. “Sometimes it takes going to the other side of the globe to appreciate what you have back at home.”


From punk rocker to designer, Joey flies a Black Flag under St. Pete’s blue sky.

Joey Neill never planned on becoming a graphic designer.

“It’s kind of like a DIY punk thing. I came up in the early ‘90s playing in bands, and I was always the guy designing the flyers.”

He originally set out to become a paramedic, but the chance to make a living exercising his creativity, and helping other people realize their visions, was just too great to pass up.

Joey still brings that punk passion to his work, including his take on the St. Pete city flag, which swap’s the original’s colorful horizontal bars for the stark logo of one of the most revered punk bands of all time. He says he sold a healthy number of the shirts to friends, before finally deciding to offer it here on St. Pete Threads.

But like any dyed-in-the-crust punk rocker, he doesn’t give himself too much credit for creativity.

“The shirt was kind of low-hanging fruit. I thought it had already been done, but I asked around and it hadn’t.”

Whether or not it’s innovative (we’ll give Joey more props than he gives himself), it’s deeply rooted in two loves – love for St. Pete, and love for punk rock.

“I never got to see Black Flag live, but I grew up listening to them. And I grew up going to punk shows when St. Pete was nothing. But now it’s huge.”

Joey’s unpretentious, punk-rooted approach to design has helped him succeed in a career he never planned for. He cut his teeth designing sports t-shirts and memorabilia. Then, five years ago, he landed a dream gig as the house designer for Creative Loafing, Tampa Bay’s alternative newsweekly.

“I already knew about 90% of the people there, from being in the music scene.” He had already played in bands regularly with editor Scott Harrell.

That sense of tight-knit community is one of the things he loves about today’s St. Pete, after watching it develop since moving here in 2002.  “It’s so great, just that we have restaurants that are worth going to now. Five or six years ago there was nowhere to get a good taco. Now you’ve got options.”

Joey says that with more reasons to get out on the town, the art and music scenes have gotten more active. “Everybody’s more accessible now.”

“You wind up meeting people in St. Pete all the time, just from going to a bar, going to a show.” Being visible has helped him land a steady stream of freelance work, from band t-shirts for friends to branding packages for new restaurants. “I wouldn’t call it networking, though, because I don’t really go out with that mentality. I just go out to meet friends.”

If you want to bump into Joey, he has a few predictable haunts. “You’ll always catch me drinking at Old Key West Bar and Grill, or the Blue Goose.” For food, his top picks are among the city’s new blood – Red Mesa’s Mercado on Central, and The Mill downtown.

Joey was in bands steadily for 20 years, before hanging up the bass two years ago. He insists it’s temporary, though.

“It’s nice to take a break, but I am definitely jonesing to get back into it.”


With his meticulous hand-lettering, this Bay-bred designer and artist stays on script.

Kevin Slattery got a perfectly Floridian introduction to the art of t-shirt design.

“I used to skimboard a lot in high school. I did a shirt for one of the competitions when I was 16 or 17.”

That design may be lost to history, but luckily Kevin has come up with some great new ones for St. Pete Threads, including our mandala-inspired series of yoga shirts, and our logo. The elegant script for the logo was originally drawn by hand, a skill Kevin has been honing over the past couple of years.

Kevin first got interested in hand-scripting when he saw the trend for carefully crafted lettering blossom on sites like Pinterest, where art and design buffs are bucking digital trends by getting hands-on. He finally decided to take a crack at it himself.

“Over the first six months, I was terrible. But then I decided I wanted to get better, so for months I wrote for a couple of hours every night.” He started getting small commissions from friends, who wanted things like inspirational quotes written with appropriate care. Now, his work is going public, from our logo to a series of hanging menu boards for the Mandarin Hide cocktail bar.

Though he insists he’s still perfecting the craft, he’s picked up more and more insights into the nuances of lettering. “The style you illustrate in has to match up with the word [you’re writing]. If you’re scripting the word ‘round’ using a super rigid, heavy font, it won’t feel like you’ve captured the word.”

That kind of insight draws on Kevin’s years in the studio art program at the University of South Florida. “I took video, painting, drawing. I’ve always drawn, since I could hold a pen.”

USF’s respected program also gave him a broader perspective on his passion, particularly its broader context. “Art,” he says, “Is the best representation we have of humanity since the beginning of time.”

Big thinking is great, but Kevin also got an early start on a profession in the arts. “Even though I’d been working on art, I was just like, what’s the smartest way to tie in to an industry, or a career? Graphic design seemed natural.” So he spent four summers interning for an IT company that needed design work, teaching himself the tricks of the trade with tools like Illustrator and Photoshop. Now he spends his days illustrating and designing logos (such as his work for Venture House), mixing and matching digital and analog skills.

Kevin loves being in St. Pete – though he has just as much affection for his hometown, Dunedin. “It’s great. [Dunedin has] a lot of good restaurants, craft breweries, music – and it’s right on the water.”

When he’s not working on his script style or as Lead Graphic Designer at Big Sea, Kevin DJs at local nightclubs, opening for jazz and funk bands.


From Orlando to London, designing a dream – with helping hands along the way.

Adriana Generallo wears two creative hats (or maybe, depending on how you count, several). By day, she’s Creative Director at Big Sea, the agency that helps run St. Pete Threads. There, she does some design work of her own – including the great “Trailblazer” cycling shirt – and oversees other designers.

By night, though, Adriana designs patterns for the apparel and home décor markets. It’s a talent that got her noticed early in her career, when she was in London at the creative agency Newl&Potter.

“We were doing a bag design for Tesco, and this freelancer was pretty expensive. I asked if I could have a shot at doing some patterns, and the client couldn’t tell the difference.”

Getting from Orlando to London and now St. Pete, and navigating the landscape of the creative industries along the way, has been a series of learning experiences. While studying at the University of Central Florida and then Valencia College, Adriana worked at Buca di Beppo, an Italian restaurant in Orlando, where one of her regular guests turned out to be the big boss, chain owner Robert Earl himself.

Earl also owned Planet Hollywood, which had a location in Trafalgar Square. So when she decided to head to London, she asked Earl for a hand. That got her in the door at Newl&Potter.

“It was a great lesson in just throwing it out there, asking for help.”

The next two years, working with creative people in one of the world’s great cities exploded her horizons. “It opened my eyes to how incredibly talented people can be in the field.”

But she was also surprised to find a lot of support, debunking her fears of an utterly cutthroat business. She’s brought that ethos into her own day job, where she now says her greatest satisfaction comes from coaching the people she supervises to achieve their best.

Still, she also saves some energy for her own projects. Starting with that Tesco bag, she’s learned a lot more about the basics of textile design, and built a portfolio that she’s working to get into the hands of agents. Another crucial creative lesson came when she, to her surprise, found that there was huge demand for the thing she loved doing.

“Women’s fashion has such high turnover, because of trends, that there’s enough to go around for everyone.”

It’s a moment that many creative people have when they finally get serious – what started as a ridiculous daydream turns out to be a viable real-world pursuit.

“Nobody told me!” she says, laughing.

Her design sensibility is abstract and edgy. “I don’t come from a drafting or fine art background, so the technical skill of realistic imagery is not where I gravitate. I found myself doing much more bold graphic things. Things that don’t need to be realistic.”

She keeps it more straightforward (literally) on her “Trailblazer” shirt, which has a cycle spelling out the slogan in bubbly neon. “I tend to gravitate towards that seventies vibe,” she says of the design. “And I thought it would be pretty important, because St. Pete has an enthusiastic bike-oriented community.”

You can find a selection of Adriana’s very cool pattern designs, and a blog chronicling her progress in the textile design world, at generallo.com.


New York-born and bred, this illustrator fell in love with St. Pete and never looked back.

Alli Arnold has lent her intimate, whimsical line to work for Tiffany, Neiman Marcus, Barney’s – and now, St. Pete Threads. After a life in the Big Apple, she picked up stakes in 2011 and moved to Old Northeast, where she’s fully enjoying her bigger-than-a-shoebox home and biking to the beach – while continuing to work for her favorite clients back North.

Alli connected to St. Pete Threads through another one of our great local designers, Todd Bates. As an animal lover, she says she was excited to do something fun for a good cause – though there’s a tragic irony to the design.

“I must love cats from afar,” she wrote via email, “Due to allergies.”

But she is a huge dog lover, owner of a Morkie named Nino – who, she points out, is hypoallergenic. She’s also frequently dogsitting for friends, and keeps two gerbils, Cy and Chet, nearby while she works.
Before her design for us, Alli worked for publications like the New York Times and Boston Globe, designed greeting cards, and even has her own collection of scarves and prints [http://allicollection.myshopify.com/]. It all started in a public library on Long Island, where a young Alli became fascinated by illustration. Even though a lot of her work depicts urban sophistication, there’s still a quality of childlike fantasy to it – she credits both Shel Silverstein and Edward Gorey for inspiration.

Alli says her artistic agenda is pretty simple. “My ultimate goal as an illustrator is to make someone smile when they look at my work.”

She turned that goal into a career starting at age 17, when she joined the Parsons School of Design at the New School. From there, she amassed her impressive roster of regular clients, before deciding that she needed a change. She visited a favorite uncle in St. Pete – and fell in love so instantly that she had ditched her New York apartment within six weeks.

Luckily, most of her New York clients were happy to follow her to St. Pete (isn’t technology great?). But she’s also hooking into the local scene, such as with a recent solo show at Strands of Sunshine.
“I’ve been lucky enough to amass a wonderful crew of creative and eccentric people here in the Old Northeast,” she says, “and they inspire and encourage me all the time.”

She’s found St. Pete very cosmopolitan, and says that the city is on a great path to becoming a great city for the arts. There’s only one thing it’s truly missing, she says.

“I think the only thing that could make it better would be an enormous, charming, Florida-flavored Alli Arnold mural right downtown. Let’s make it happen!”


From Grassroots to the Halls of Power, Mitzi Gordon's Transforming the Arts in Pinellas County.

If you’ve attended a festival or two in Pinellas County in the last three years, you’ve seen Mitzi Gordon. She was probably standing in front of her Bluebird Books Bus, inviting kids and adults inside to pick up a free book or two. She financed and founded the rolling library, which in recent years has been a fixture at shindigs like Localtopia and First Night.

And if you’re actively involved in the local arts scene, you probably know Mitzi by name – for nearly a decade, she’s been serving in a variety of roles at local institutions like the Dali Museum, and new projects like Bloom Art Center. The Bluebird Books Bus has even helped inspire other projects like the Nomad Art Bus.

The Bluebird bus doesn’t get out as much as it used to, though, because Mitzi has taken on an even bigger role. A bit over a year ago, she was appointed Executive Director of Creative Pinellas, the county’s arts agency (technically, it’s an affiliated nonprofit).

Mitzi’s main goal has been helping the county bounce back from arts cuts triggered by the recession. Creative Pinellas was actually created in 2011 as a new, much leaner replacement for the Pinellas County Cultural Affairs Council, which was closed as part of broader post-recession budgetary cutbacks.

PCCAC awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of local arts grants annually, but Creative Pinellas entire budget has generally been in the mid-five figure range, which is why Mitzi, an independent contractor, is the organization’s only full-time personnel. The agency’s role has been largely limited to promoting area events online, and organizing a few events of its own.

But all that is about to change. Mitzi has spent much of the last year workshopping and promoting a $300,000 budget for an expanded Creative Pinellas, and in June, the Board of County Commissioners gave initial approval to $200,000 in new funding for 2016.

Mitzi’s viewpoint on arts funding is simple: “The return on investment in the arts is fantastic.” That’s true on many levels. Arts institutions like the Dali are huge tourist attractions, while the culture of gallery and street art, including the explosion of murals in recent years, has helped make central St. Pete a destination for both new residents and job-creating companies. Property values and revenues throughout the county have rebounded strongly in the last few years in part because of the arts.

The expanded budget will mean at least two new contract positions at Creative Pinellas, allowing for increased local outreach and more fundraising for big projects. Tentative plans include more support for programs like Veterans Creating for Community, which helps soldiers battling PTSD, and Creative Clay, which provides arts programs for the disabled.

Then there’s the big kahuna – the return of a county-level grant program for artists and public projects, which went the way of the dinosaurs when PCCAC was shuttered. Next year, though, Mitzi says there’s $100,000 earmarked for grants.

Now that she’s done the heavy lifting of pushing all these big changes through the political process, Mitzi has decided to take a role that’s a little more in tune with her sensibilities. One of the new positions in the expanded Creative Pinellas will be a Community Relations Director, and she’s hoping to transition into it once her board decides on a good replacement for her as Executive Director.  That will mean a little less lobbying and a lot more working with the artists and community members she loves.

St. Pete Threads is thrilled to have Creative Pinellas going big. To celebrate, we’re launching a Creative Pinellas shirt.

You can learn more about Mitzi Gordon and her many amazing projects at www.mitzigordon.com.


Carrie Boucher’s Nomad Art Bus is changing lives, one t-shirt at a time.

When Tampa Bay native Carrie Boucher returned home from art school in Chicago, she made her way in part by teaching art in the public school system. But she got frustrated by how low a priority art sometimes seemed – her classes would be canceled for standardized test prep sessions, or troubled students would be pulled out as a form of punishment.

To Boucher (pronounced, in the French style, boo-SHAY), that seemed silly, since art was so valuable for the most troubled students. “Art would give them another avenue to explore. [And] a lot of time the kids who were being pulled out were the kids whose families wouldn’t have the resources to seek out extracurricular art activities.”

Eventually, she decided that she could reach more kids if she were mobile, instead of stuck in a classroom. She’d seen the Bluebird Books Bus, a mobile library started by Creative Pinellas Executive Director Mitzi Gordon – and she ran with the example.

“I put it on the bus so that we could go into the neighborhoods and reach people.”

A little over a year later, Carrie devotes herself full-time to the Nomad Art Bus – a full-length bus, packed with art supplies and kid-sized work surfaces. The bus travels between schools, festivals, organizations, and events around the Bay Area, giving kids a chance to get in touch with their creativity. Nomad provides after-school enrichment at underperforming schools and art therapy for recovery programs, while taking time to drop in at events like Localtopia, Pops in the Park, and First Night.

For Boucher, dedication to the Nomad has meant working hard and living a leaner lifestyle. She’s constantly developing funding sources and partnerships, but also teaches private metalworking workshops on the side when she needs to. “There’s often such a big gap between what we do for money, and what we do to make our lives better . . . I’m kept alive by the generosity of other people. I have an amazing network of people who want me to keep doing what I’m doing.”

T-shirts are one way people support Nomad’s mission. At first Boucher provided them strictly to volunteers, but people liked them so much she started selling them. “People want to support what you’re doing, but they want to walk away with something, too.” Boucher designed the funky ‘seal’ design herself, at first putting it on kids’ shirts – but it wasn’t long before adults clamored for it.

Carrie hopes St. Pete Threads will help make Nomad’s merchandise more accessible – while making sure plenty of the revenue returns to Nomad. “The exposure is going to be so much more,” she says. “We have [shirts] on our little tiny website, and at events,” but as the name implies, it’s tough to find Nomad in the same place twice. “It’ll be nice to have a place where I can send people . . . if someone got one, and wanted one for a friend, they’d know where to go.”

You can pick up a Nomad Art Bus t-shirt right here – it’s a great design, supporting a great cause.


“I’m what you call a sign geek,” says Todd Bates. Bates, this month’s St. Pete Threads Artist of the Month, has travelled all around the country photographing old signs for his Vintage Neon Project. But he came back home to St. Pete for the first t-shirt in what he hopes will be an ongoing series.

Todd’s passion is particularly fitting for St. Pete. Vintage neon evokes the city’s unique Midcentury Modern legacy, as well as a little bit of the kitschier side of Old Florida. “My favorite is definitely the Thunderbird [Resort],” Todd says, of the striking art deco hotel on Treasure Island. “There’s also the Sands, which is just a gem. It’s a little two-story beach hotel, and they have a great sign.”

Beyond his striking photographs of existing signs, Todd also uses image editing software to create re-imagined versions tailored for some of his favorite cities, in what he’s dubbed the Re-Sign series. So far, the series includes designs for St. Pete, Tampa, and Seattle, where he spent eight years before returning to St. Pete in 2010. The arrow-shaped St. Pete sign is based on the sign at China City on 4th street. “I’m told it’s the oldest Chinese restaurant in St. Pete,” Todd says.

Todd wants to make more city-centric signs, but he says the process is labor intensive. That’s thanks to a meticulous attention to detail – the entirely imaginary neon lettering on his St. Pete sign casts precise, realistic shadows, and the letters of the Tampa sign are weathered with amazing exactness. (Full-scale prints of the work can be found on the Vintage Neon Project’s Etsy Store.

After nearly a decade in Seattle, Todd couldn’t be happier to be back in St. Pete, and getting involved in the community. “I’ve seen an amazing transformation from when I left to when I came back. I love the art scene, and just the general vibe. There’s a lot of pride in our city. I love being a part of that.”

“I just think St. Pete is an amazing place.”

For chronicles of Todd’s neon-fueled travels, follow him on Instagram at @vintageneonproject. And watch St. Pete Threads for more t-shirts from Todd and other exciting St. Pete designers!