Sign Painter Nat Iosbaker

Artist Nat Iosbaker paints the logo for The Streets, which features the downtown Long Beach grid between Third Street, Sixth Street, Pine Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard.

Signs of artist Nat Iosbaker’s work are all over Long Beach.

The 28-year-old painter specializes in designing and painting professional and artistic signage that permanently marks the storefronts of businesses throughout the city.

With only a small brush and bucket of black enamel paint, this week he put the final timeless strokes on his latest project: five distinct numerical murals in five different sections of downtown’s The Streets shopping center.

Iosbaker jokes that he’s got The Streets’ number, literally, as he hand paints designators for Third Street, Fourth Street, Fifth Street and a 25-foot-tall grid-type of logo that shows how it all connects, from Third to Sixth streets and from Pine Avenue to Long Beach Boulevard.

Sign Painter Nat Iosbaker

Artist Nat Iosbaker paints the logo for The Streets, which features the downtown Long Beach grid between Third Street, Sixth Street, Pine Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard.

He was outside every day for three weeks working on the new yet old-school signs for The Streets, where each of the uniquely sized and shaped black-and-white murals are designed to give the shopping center more of a local feel than corporate one — emphasizing its physical place in the heart of downtown’s community, the artist said.

Tony Shooshani, managing director of The Streets, contracted Iosbaker to paint new signs throughout the area, which has been going through a major rebranding process and adding several new developments. Creating a space with more of a community vibe that is colored by local artists is part of that new structure.

“Nat is a young artist with passion and grit. You can see that in his portfolio and feel it as he describes his vision for a project. We need more individuals like him in Long Beach,” Shooshani said.

Iosbaker, a Chicago native who hopped on a plane and then a bus to Long Beach six years ago with only a suitcase in hand — never before having seen the city, has lived and worked as an artist in his new home for the past six years.

His passion is being a full-time sign painter, but also helps work on artistic murals that have added to the artistic fabric of The Streets through a program called POW! WOW! Long Beach. And, he often works in the preparation and installation of exhibits for the Long Beach Museum of Art.

Iosbaker hones his craft at his Ice House studio space downtown and on the sunny streets of Long Beach, where he said he makes the most of Southern California’s weather by doing his work outside and on display for the whole community to see.

The self-taught sign painter, one of only a few experts in Long Beach who specialize in that art form, said he’s always wanted to paint signs. His fascination with letters, numbers, stencils and paint started at a young age, and he found a way to turn that into a career.

“Next week I’ll be painting at a cactus shop on Fourth Street … then a boutique on First Street … it’s something new every day,” he said. “Each time, it’s a different puzzle to solve, and I meet someone new. And at the end of the day, I see my signs on all these streets in the city where I live.”

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