gmhTODAY 02 gmhToday May June 2015 - Page 88

Everything Old is Young Again Written By Kelly Barbazette A fter running Young Sign Company for the past 30 years, second generation Gilroyan Richard Young is setting his sights on retirement and returning to one of his first loves – creating art. The Young family’s roots are deeply embedded in the garlic town, 80-year-old Young says. The Young family began in Gilroy when his grandfather moved to the area in the late 1800s. In fact, his name is in the archives in the Gilroy Museum. “We have had a Young in the GUSD from 1900 to our oldest daughter graduating in the late ‘80s,” Young said. Young’s current home, which he purchased about 55 years ago, is just a stone’s throw away from his childhood home on Carmel Street. Young says he has fond memories of playing football with neighborhood friends on his street when the town stopped at Miller Avenue and orchards sprouted as far as the eye could see. His business, Young Sign Company, is a downtown fixture having been located on Eigleberry Street, since 1945 when his Dad, Elmer, purchased the building for his budding custom sign business. His father, who also was an artist, got his first job designing movie posters for the Strand Theater. Young took classes from the same art teacher at Gilroy High School as did his father. He went on to study art at San Jose State University, earning his Bachelor’s degree in art. He also earned a Master’s degree in painting from SJSU and a teaching credential in art education. Young taught sculpture, painting, and computer graphics at Gavilan College from 1970 through 1994. Young’s work has been featured in art exhibits in many museums throughout the country, including in Monterey, San Jose, Sacramento, Portland and Seattle. He says his earliest works are more representative of reality while his later work is more abstract. Young’s watercolor and acrylic paintings, and multi- dimensional sculptures fill his home and backyard. They range from four-by-four watercolors to acrylic paintings awash with purple to a sculpture o f primary color blocks nestled in his garden. Young says of the last piece that he tried to depict tension. “Everything is not evenly stacked. It’s not perfectly balanced,” Young said. Young says after he took over Young Sign Company in the mid 1980s from his dad, who was semi-retired at the time, he had little time for art. His art halted all together when his wife of 27 years, Carolyn, passed away in 1985. Young says he lost all of his artistic sensibilities at that time and instead focused solely on raising his three daughters and running his business. Running has also been a constant thread through his life for the past 50 years. Young helped start a running club in Gilroy in 1974 and still runs with some of the same men. “I think the neatest thing in life is meeting new people, building a relationship with people and spreading my horizons,” Young said. Today, he enjoys taking trips with his daughters, living and working in his hometown, and spending time in his peaceful backyard patio where he has a view of his fruitless mulberry tree and his primary colors sculpture. “I will try to re-engage myself in the next few years back into art,” Young said. “And perhaps one of the ways of doing it is maybe teach a class in the evenings at the college again.” He says he looks to retire from his sign business with- in the next three to five years. “It will be sad to leave it. Probably I will stick around for a couple of years,” he said. Young says he doesn’t see himself leaving Gilroy, but said he would like to travel more. “I’ve had a great blessed life,” Young said. “I’ve had a wonderful life, and wonderful wife and mother for my children. I’m lucky. I have no complaints.” “I think the neatest thing in life is meeting new people, building a relationship with people and spreading my horizons.” 88 G M H T O D A Y M A G A Z I N E MAY / JUNE 2015 gmhtoday.com