The world is Christine Deshazo’s gallery, but while hundreds of people see her work each day, very few likely even know it.
For more than 30 years, the Murphysboro resident has created signs, logos and other branding material for clients throughout the region. The circled emblem outside of Pinch Penny Pub, the “Welcome to Murphysboro” sign on the outskirts of town and the locally famous face of Sez the Silkworm are among her many creations.
“People see it every day; they just don’t know who did it,” said Deshazo, owner of Spectrum Graphics Studio.
From billboards to decals for boats and cars, Deshazo can customize her work for almost any purpose. It’s one of the many artistic skills she’s learned through the years. Of course, she had a good teacher.
Deshazo’s mother taught art to kindergarten through high school students for more than three decades. From a young age, the child aimed to imitate her mother.
“I probably started copying her paintings with my crayons when I was 4,” she said.
She kept up with it as she grew older, obtaining a degree in graphic design from SIU with the equivalent of a minor in fine arts. In 1981, as a senior in college, she launched Spectrum. At the time, her business mostly revolved around sign painting.
In the years since, a lot of her work has shifted toward digital art, using modern technology to create elaborate and intricate designs. But her process still maintains its simple roots.
“When I design a logo, a boat wrap or a sign, I still like to conceptualize it in my mind and sketch it on paper first,” she said. “I try to have a flair of artistry in everything I do.”
Deshazo’s artwork, though, extends beyond what she does for her clients.
When she’s not busy at work, she still paints as a hobby, dabbling mostly in oils and acrylics. She does both private and commissioned works and has painted a variety of subjects.
Being one-sixteenth Cherokee, she has some interest in creating Native American-themed designs, but lately she’s been painting roosters. No matter what she’s painting, though, she has a model in her mind that influences her hand.
“The visions dancing in my head right now have very stylized backgrounds and a focal point that is complete realism,” she said. “I probably have way too much going on in my head. I’m frequently asked if I ever sleep — no, not really.”
One of the strangest parts of both the job and the hobby for Deshazo is now being hired by the children of her early customers. Her reputation has transcended generations, but that’s a fact she may not be ready to accept quite yet.
“In the past year, I’ve had three people tell me I’m a legend,” she said. “I just don’t feel I’m old enough to have that status.”