You never know who you will meet and what you will learn when you are open. By open, I mean open to looking a stranger in the eye, talking and, most importantly, listening to him/her. While I was out taking photos, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Charles Bady near Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, GA. Mr. Bady draws signs, all kind of signs, which are also pieces of art. Mr. Bady sets up his business under the awning of a vacant storefront and displays his signs in an orderly fashion. It’s only $6 to look at the signs, $20 to photograph him, and different prices to purchase one of signs.
Like most people, Mr. Bady has a very poignant story about the origins of his signs. He’ll tell you without shame that he was in prison for three long years. While in prison, he didn’t have a paper or pencil or anything to draw with. He longed to draw during those years and vowed that he would draw as soon as he had the chance. When he was a free man again and trying to make a fresh start, he found that no one wanted to hire him. So he started to create these signs and turn his passion into an honest way to make a living. He minds his business and tries to stay out of the way. When he needs to move on to another corner, his business is mobile.
Each sign has a story or meaning. Mr. Bady took the time to explain the meaning behind a few of the signs. In the photo below, Mr. Bady explains that the hands have music and feeling that gets expressed through the trumpet. He used to play the trumpet, so he knows how this works. The trumpet is featured in many of his signs.
In this photo (below), he explains that this singer was once well known, but now no one knows who he is. A forgotten singer, perhaps a forgotten man. You may notice in the bottom left corner of the photo is a drawing of the sun. This sign was inspired by a morning television show that, I’m guessing, is shown on Sundays.
Without fancy pens or canvas, Mr. Bady takes great care in the making of each sign. He seems quite proud of his work. When someone buys one, he will make another just like it.
What I learned from Mr. Bady is the importance of following my passion. For me, my “signs” are my photography. Each one has meaning or a story which I share on this blog. If you are near Centennial Olympic Park, maybe you will see Mr. Bady, take the time to view his signs and talk with him. I’m sure he would appreciate it, especially if you support his business. I plan to go back to visit Mr. Bady again. Maybe I’ll see you there.
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