June 2019

The Colors of the Sea: Find your happy place among the jubilant colors and smiling fish of Signore Coastal Art.

Author: Barry Kaufman

Walking up to Signore Coastal Art in Bluffton’s Promenade and seeing their beautifully crafted signature fish from the outside, schooling in a rainbow of colors along the gallery walls, is a bit like standing before a giant aquarium. Walking in is like diving headfirst into that aquarium, marveling at the kaleidoscope of vibrant fish and discovering exquisite happiness. That sense of euphoria is very much by design.

“Both of us are into happy. It sounds goofy … but we want the fish to make you smile when you come in here,” said Chris Signore, who owns the gallery with his wife Kadie. “It’s really satisfying when people get excited about the fish and say, ‘These make me happy.’”

Indeed, it’s hard not to be drawn in by the couple’s colorful creations, hanging seemingly everywhere, in schools that run along the walls of both the gallery’s rooms. Bedecked with carefully crafted metal fins, each fish is an act of collaborative creation. From their workshop in the back, the Signores cut metal, saw down reclaimed wood, and paint each piece by hand.

And each piece bears the unique style of each artist: look closely and you’ll see that Kadie’s fish exult in precise brush strokes, evoking sunlight sparkling through calm waters, while Chris’s streak back in impression of kinetic motion, mimicking the speed of a fish darting through the sea.

“We don’t have a set game plan for what a fish is going to look like,” Kadie said. “You know when it’s done, but you don’t know what it’s going to turn out to be.”

And do they have any favorites among their collection?

“Each fish we make is our favorite. When we finish it, we can’t get over how much we love it. We take pictures, and then we make a new one, and that one is the best fish we’ve ever made,” Chris said.

Here and there, among the fish, you’ll find the couple’s departures from their signature fish. A long eel wriggles playfully by the entrance, crafted when Chris found himself with a broken staircase he couldn’t bear to part with. Jellyfish swarm on the wall with dangling metal and wood tentacles. Paintings hang on several walls, once again evoking the couple’s yin and yang outlook on art: Kadie’s serene impressionist beachscape and Chris’ dynamic painting of bait fish, schooling in a tight formation.

And, of course, the furniture. Made from the same reclaimed wood from which the couple sources their sculptures, these gorgeous coastal-inspired pieces carry a rustic charm imbued with authentic artistry. A grand table in the front room began its life as concrete forms, before the couple chipped away with sledgehammers and angle grinders to reveal the beautiful grain of the wood beneath. The result is a truly unique piece with a story to tell. And these stories are everywhere, told by end tables, corner cabinets and furniture throughout the gallery—stories of a dock washed up following Hurricane Matthew, rebuilt into an eye-catching coffee table (shaped like a fish, naturally). These stories illustrate how beauty is everywhere if you only care to look.

The sum effect of all of this—the vibrant, colorful fish, the original artwork, the handcrafted furniture, and the stories they tell—is a testament to this couple’s unbridled creativity. It’s about the colors of the sea. It’s about finding creativity. It’s about making forgotten things beautiful.

And it’s about happiness.

Visit signorecoastalart.com for more information.

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