Welcome! Login | Register

Subscribe Now: Free Daily EBlast


TRENDER: Sign Painter Jayson Salvi

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Seen a great hand-painted sign around Providence lately? Chances are it's the handiwork of Jayson Salvi.

Who are the Rhode Islanders leading in arts, fashion, food, and style? They're Trenders, and GoLocalProv offers a glimpse of the people you most want to know on the scene. Today's Trender is Jayson Salvi, the owner of Salvi’s Traditional Sign Painting and Design.

Salvi started this local business in Providence in 2008, and his custom signs can be seen hanging in the windows of many storefronts throughout the city and the state. His creations are not only for corporations, but for personal collections as well, and they make excellent home decorations. This successful entrepreneur has found a niche market in our state, and his presence is already being felt around the area. As his business continues to grow, Salvi’s signs will surely pop up more and more around the city, and we are excited to see what the future has in store for this talented painter.

How did your education lead you to your current career?

I was always interested in drawing and typography. My education really had nothing to do with it. I did not go to a formal art school; everything I’ve learned has been self-taught. When I went into the navy in 1992, I was enlisted to design our company flag in boot camp…I wish I still had that. From there, I went to a navy ship down in Newport, and after a while I was doing the lettering on the different Department Head’s office doors. I never thought after 8 years in the navy that I would ever attempt to make a freelance career out of this skill.

When did you decide that you wanted to go into the sign painting business?

The serious “on-paper-thought” was back in 2004 when Tazza first opened on Westminster Street. That was my first big account. From there, I really hustled around and worked a full-time job, while at the same time trying to get more sign-painting accounts.

How have your experiences in the state of Rhode Island affected you as a person and as a painter? 

I have a love-hate relationship with the state of Rhode Island. I see the potential that Rhode Island has, and I see our capacity for improvement, which makes me frustrated. This trend has affected me in such a way that sometimes I have to take a step back from what is happening in the state, to instead concentrate on my art and to focus on helping my wife, Kate, promote her photo greeting card business. Providence has had more of an effect on me then the state has as a whole. I love this city and the independent businesses that make it unique. I see a lot of opportunity for hand-painted signs and other public art which can enhance the downtown experience of residents and tourists alike. We have a lot of empty wall space downtown and I’d like to see a real collaborative movement between all arts groups to in order to enhance the visually beauty of our city, which would be in line with honoring the city’s history. 

What is the demand for your signs like? Who makes up the majority of your clientele?

It varies. I can have a great spring, summer, and fall, and then nothing in the winter months. All of my clients have been right here in Providence and I’ve even started a hand-painted Providence Street Signs Project that are being sold at Homestyle on Westminster Street and That Guy Furniture and Home Goods in the Arcade.

How do you decide what your signs are going to say? Where do you get your inspiration?

It all depends on the moment. I love positive words and messages. I was fortunate enough to take that aspect and provide some really great signs for Leadership Rhode Island’s Super Party back in October. My inspiration tends to come from every corner of my world. Some of my projects are inspired by my wife Kate, and other signs are developed due to my experiences in Providence. It’s such a great city and I enjoy honoring the neighborhoods. When someone sees a street sign in a store that says Hope Street, Broadway Street, or Friendship Street, those who have left the city see these signs and they feel an instant re-connection. On the other hand, those who have remained in Providence can have a street sign for their home without having to resort to “taking” one from the actual street.

How many signs do you usually finish each month? Are there any other employees who work with your company?

I can start as many as 70 signs and finish as many as 50 or more, depending on my attention span during the given month. I have a tendency to get distracted from one project to the next. I’m also the only employee of my company. It’s a quality control thing for me. If I make a mistake, I can explain it, and then start over and finish the project quickly. Having someone else work on a client design in the future would be great. I just have to let go of some control issues.

Do you do any other kinds of artwork for your own enjoyment or for another source of employment?

I do work a 40-hour full time job strictly for healthcare. However, this occupation doesn’t define who I am like my sign painting does. Aside from Salvi’s Traditional Sign Painting and Design, I started making furniture for our home. It’s actually really nice stuff, to my surprise.

Do you have any future plans for expansion? How long do you foresee yourself staying in the sign painting business? Could you see yourself doing anything else at some point?

Providence can be a city with great economic potential, and I would love to see my signs as a part of that. Sign painters have a big advantage in cities with strict historical guidelines; the craft is making a huge return. I can see myself creating signs for a long time. As long as I’m willing to keep re-inventing myself while staying true to my craft, there will always be something to design and paint. Being a sign painter is who I am. I will always do this in some fashion. As for seeing myself doing something else, I’d love to help all the other freelancers in Providence get some exposure that they can’t get on their own. There are a lot of talented people in our city, but you might not know who they are because they do not possess the proper connections to get their artwork the exposure that it truly deserves. If we are going to be the Creative Capital, then we need to figure out how to bring all artists into play—not just the ones with a group affiliation. I firmly believe that our potential is endless.


Related Slideshow: 14 To Watch in RI in 2014

Prev Next

Alyssa Neill

One of the most exciting GoLocal up-and-comers to watch is only just starting to make her mark, as SlowFoodURI founder Neill is a URI senior in Kingston.

Named a Truman Scholar last spring—one of only 61 nationwide—Neill founded Slow Food URI "with a passion for food and great concern for the wellbeing of all things."

Read More

Prev Next

Davey Moore

Co-owner of Midday Records and guitarist for Satellites Fall, Moore is making a major impact on the New England music scene. While he's been part of the Midday label since 2008, Moore has been taking it to another level, putting out a series compilation albums featuring some of the best bands in the area titled New England Indie Alt Rock, as well as a digital compilation with 80 bands titled Onefundboston.org: A Benefit For The Boston Marathon".

Read More

Prev Next

Kate Brierley

Brierley is a rising fashion designer who studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, as well as the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and resisted the lure of the Big Apple to open her flagship store in Newport.

"I just wanted to do something fresh," Brierley told GoLocal in July. "I love how much the community in Newport appreciates what we do and our windows. It is a rewarding connection to a community."

Read More

Prev Next

Matt Jennings

12 to Watch in 2012...Best Brunch in Providence in 2013...multiple nods for the James Beard Award...Farmstead's Matt Jennings is not one to rest on his laurels atop the always competitive Providence and RI culinary scenes.

With a loyal Twitter base nearing 10,000 followers, Jennings—known as "Providence's Pied Piper of Cheese" and "Prince of Pork"—continues to advance the culture and excellence that landed Providence atop Travel + Leisure's list for Food/Drink/Restaurants—the #1 city in the country—in 2012.

Read More

Prev Next


Providence-­based biotech EpiVax, Inc., is an immunology company that has "developed comprehensive analytical capabilities in the field of computational immunology" and applies those tools to re-engineer therapeutic proteins and to design new vaccines. The company continues to forge ahead as a groundbreaking health science company in the state. Basically, as stated on their website, they "do it all."

Read More

Prev Next

Andy Posner

Microfinance proponent and co-founder of the Capital Good Fund, Posner is working to be the "best best financial empowerment organization in America by providing high-quality, innovative and transformational financial services to underserved families."

In October, the National Consumer Law Center gave Rhode Island a "C" for debt protection laws for consumers in the state. Posner told GoLocal that "One of the biggest problems is that we are the only New England state that allows payday lenders to charge more than 36% APR. In fact, in RI they can charge up to 260% APR thanks to a special carve out in the general laws. These loans target the poor and trap them in a cycle of debt that leads to tremendous stress and a significant drain on their finances."

Read More

Prev Next


This Betaspring darling and Walker Williams brainchild is set to revolutionize the way that custom-designed tee-shirts are produced. The company allows customers to design a style, set a sales goal, and pre-order the product, cutting out the need for a middle man.

"No paying thousands of dollars upfront, no guessing how many shirts or what sizes you'll need, and no passing out t-shirts one by one and chasing people down for cash," writes Teespring on their website. And folks are taking note—Forbes contributor Alexander Taub wrote in January of Teepsring, "Is this Rhode Based startup the future of custom apparel?"

Read More

Prev Next

Patti Doyle

This consummate public relations professional struck out on her own in 2013 after years at RDW Group with Patti Doyle Communications, and shows no sign of slowing down.

Doyle's clients include Twin River Casino, which officially launched its table game offerings after a successful 2012 referendum. The gaming licensing process has been slow and deliberate in Massachusetts, which in 2011 approved legislation to allow up to 3 casinos and a slots parlor, promising stiff competition to Twin River once those are up and operational. Once the fight is on, watch for Doyle to be spearheading the communications strategy from Rhode Island's third-largest source of revenue.

Read More

Prev Next

Anna Cano-Morales

A 2013 RI YWCA "Woman of Achievement," Cano-Morales is no stranger to accolades for her work in the community. The Central Falls native is the Director of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University and is Chair of the Central Falls School District Board of Trustees.

Cano-Morales was no stranger to GoLocal's Hot or Not lists this year, earning multiple "hot" nods for her work, including LPI reports focusing on the state's latino workforce. And Cano-Morales is forward thinking when it comes to educational opportunities, and talked with GoLocal about the biggest challenges she saw facing Rhode Island.

Read More

Prev Next

Jeff Britt

While much of the 2014 gubernatorial campaign season will be played out in public view, one of the most influential political power brokers will continue to operate behind the scenes, having a major role in the outcome of the election of the state's next governor.

Read More

Prev Next

Deepwater Wind

Which way will the wind blow in 2014 for the Deepwater Wind project?

2013 saw Deepwater Wind win key leases in the first round of federal auctions in August for offshore wind projects, taking the bids at just over $3.8 million. In December, the state properties committee approved agreements to allow for an underwater transmission cable to go through Scarborough State Beach, to allow Deepwater to build a "demonstration" wind farm off of Block Island.

Read More

Prev Next

Edith Ajello

In 2012, the legalization of same-sex marriage was the top social and legal issue addressed and approved by the General Assembly. Will the full-scale legalization of marijuana be on the table in 2014? Expect to see State Rep. Edith Ajello front and center in the debate if so.

While medical marijuana and the decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of it have moved through the General Assembly, the question is whether Rhode Island will follow Colorado and Washington's lead and pass full-scale legalization legislation.

Read More

Prev Next

Buddy Cianci

Will he, or won't he?

One of the burning questions for 2014 is whether the former two-time Mayor of Providence will toss his hat in the ring for a third go at the office.

GoLocal posed the questions back in September, asking political experts and pundits their thoughts on the matter. Of the longest-serving Mayor of Providence, who was in office from 1975 to 1984 and again from 1991 to 2002, Darrell West of the Brookings Institute and formerly of Brown's Taubman Center for Public Policy said, "There would be tremendous media and public interest if Cianci ran. It would turn this into a high-profile campaign. It is not clear what will be the deciding factor. It would be very different if Cianci is in the race or not."

Read More

Prev Next

Clay Pell

In October, GoLocal broke that Clay Pell, grandson of six-term Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell, was weighing a potential 2014 gubernatorial run in Rhode Island.

Pell, who's resume includes being a White House staffer and Coast Guard Reserve Officer, married Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan in a ceremony at First Unitarian Church in Providence in 2013, and was appointed by President Obama as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International and Foreign Language Education in April.

Read More


Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

Delivered Free Every
Day to Your Inbox