A A native of Highland and New Paltz, Ryan Solomons had to take a long journey, both internally and externally, before returning home with a clear idea of what he wanted to accomplish as a professional sign maker. But now he’s picking up his roots where he started, and the company he founded in 2019, Geometric Signs and Design, is making a serious name for itself.
The striking aluminum lettering that reads City Winery on the imposing brick chimney of a converted tannery in Montgomery, and the seven-by-17-foot mural of the word Wine on a former water tower on the same site, are the most visible examples of Solomon’s Recent Work. “It was really epic work,” he says, recounting how he had to rappelling down in a climbing harness to complete the chimney work because the scaffolding didn’t bring him close enough to the surface in brick concave structure.
But it was this tough job that paid for one of the key pieces of equipment in his woodworking shop: a massive CNC (computer numerically controlled) router table that allows him to carve elaborate designs in wood and metal via software. CAD / CAM. “He’s a workaholic, and my greatest teacher,” says Solomons. “When I first got it, I didn’t know how to use it. It was a year-long process to put it in place.
Learning by doing has been the style of this 30-year-old since he was a kid at Mountain Laurel Waldorf School and Poughkeepsie Day School. At first he honed his wilderness survival skills through the Wild Earth programs, and then put them to practice when he traveled across the country on his skateboard as a “loaded longboarder. “. Whether it’s mushroom identification or iron casting, whenever Solomons decides he wants to know how to do something, he just goes to where it’s being done – in Mexico, to build. structures with adobes of local clay, for example. To make his own skateboard, he studied with a carpenter in Rosendale who taught him how to harvest different kinds of wood, as well as to use machines safely and to do carpentry.
Solomons’ learning curve also included a few years of formal study, at the Art Institute in Boston. He stayed in this city for a while, learning technical skills at Sign Center Boston, then moved on to other apprenticeships, Signarama, Flag Graphics and a handbag designer among them.
Since returning to his mother’s home on Springtown Road, he has continued his study of locally sourced wood with architect Rick Alfandre; a superb table made of ash from Alfandre’s own land was ready to be picked up from Solomon’s printing press the same day Hudson Valley One pay a visit. In the next room is a Roland printer / plotter that can print banners up to 56 inches wide and 200 feet long, as well as a laminator.
Solomons prefers working with natural materials and says he will steer his clients away from moss and look to wood if they want a 3-D sign. Its carved signs are exquisite, the lettering sometimes featuring gold leaf inlays. Local examples of his painted signage work can be seen at Sweet Bakery and two pizzerias in New Paltz, Rino’s and La Bella, as well as Bird Watcher’s Country Store in Tillson. Among his jobs at Rocking Horse Ranch in Highland, he recently darkened the windows of a building being converted into a laser-tag arena. He studied masonry sufficiently to create monument-style signs, and also designs logos, vehicle lettering, T-shirts and promotional items.
What is the trend in the signage world these days? Neon, according to Solomons, who knows how to do it, having learned glassblowing techniques in his usual way. “Melting glass and then sliding argon gas in – it’s a cool process, a super fun environment. It’s all over the city’s various clubs. It’s so versatile; you can use it both indoors and outdoors, and it creates cool lighting effects.
But banners are an essential part of Geometric Signs and Design’s day-to-day operations, and it’s where he is able to offer significantly discounted prices to local nonprofits whose missions resonate with his personal philosophy. During his travels across the country, he spent time in Standing Rock and observed the poverty and addiction issues plaguing the Indigenous community. Impressed with the job creation work done by a South Dakota organization called the United Veterans Construction Team, he brought his signage skills to their efforts.
“I wanted to help Aboriginal people start businesses,” he recalls. “I asked myself, ‘How can I support things like this where I am? So I help the local activists with banners, charging as little as ten dollars for a banner, because my heart is there. It is about change for a community. People want to promote their business and be happy about it. I prefer to give them a little slack and see the change. A recent project close to his heart was to paint a beautiful sign for the Munsee Three Sisters farm in Newton, New Jersey.
Despite all of his expertise in helping others stand out clearly, Solomons was not aggressive in promoting his own relatively new business. “I don’t know how I find clients, but I do. There’s a lot of word of mouth, ”he laughs. “Most of my transactions are done in face-to-face meetings with people. “
What would Solomons most like to create, once the business really takes off and has its choice of jobs? “The one that challenges me the most, that puts me out of my comfort zone,” he replies without hesitation. “It’s the best place to learn and grow. It keeps me alive.
Geometric Signs and Design is located at 375 Springtown Road in New Paltz. Ryan Solomons will be hosting an open house for the whole family on Saturday, November 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with free pony rides and stickers for the kids. To learn more about the company’s services, visit https://geometricsignsanddesign.com Where www.facebook.com/geometricsigns, or dial (845) 514-8702.