Ye Olde Sign Shoppe: Gran Canaria’s Tomás Prieto Gálvez

Adventures in life, family, and sign painting with Tomás Prieto Gálvez in the Canary Islands.

Wall sign with tall sans serif letters painted dark blue with a yellow block shade.
Marmoles Daniel, painted by Tomás Prieto Gálvez.Marmoles Daniel, painted by Tomás Prieto Gálvez.

In a follow-up to 'Juan 'el Petudo': Sign Painting King of La Palma', we return to the Canary Islands to meet Tomás Prieto Gálvez whose distinctive style came to define the aesthetic of the Arinago industrial estate, and beyond.

This translation is by Sam Roberts from the original in Spanish by Jaime Medina.

Tomás Prieto Gálvez proudly keeps a booklet issued in 1979 from the Employment & Social Affairs division of the Ministry of Work, certifying that he passed the exams on the sign painting course, and declaring him qualified to practise the trade. One of its pages includes typed details of the course’s syllabus: using stencils and working directly on the brush; wood graining and faux finishes; knowledge of tools and materials of the trade; classes in pigments and mixing paints; woodworking skills; tactile and aesthetic finishes; health and safety.