A perfect ‘Fitz’: ‘Welcome to Downtown Troy’

Published 8:05 pm Friday, August 18, 2023

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A man wearing a straw hat is not an oddity around Troy during the Dog Days of Summer. But, when the man climbs a ladder and begins painting with broad stokes, people take notice.

And such as it was this week just around “The Corner” in downtown Troy.

Birmingham mural-sign artist Shawn Fitzwater had been commissioned to paint “Welcome to Downtown Troy” signage on the blank, white wall on the corner of South Oak and Church Street by the Keep Troy Beautiful directors, the owners of the building (David and Candace Nelson) and the owners of “The Corner” restaurant where the mural was to be painted.

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From the first brush stroke of paint until the last, ‘Fitz’ had an audience.  Curiosity killed the cat but it didn’t stop Fritz from the job at hand.

“No, I don’t mind,” he said. “I enjoy meeting people and talking about what I do now… paint murals and signs.”

For the first years of his career choice, Fitzwater surveyed land and he enjoyed what he did. He and his wife had three sons. With kids in the house, there were books to read and cartoons to watch. Fitzwater had always had a passing interest in drawing or doodling.

Perhaps, it was on a whim that Fitzwater decided to paint a mural on the boys’ bedroom wall.  The mural was colorful and “cartoony.” He was pleased with his work and so were the kids… and his wife.

Visitors to the Fitzwater home were also impressed with his artwork and soon he was painting murals for friends and others.

Fitzwater called to mind a quote” Working hard for something you don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something you love is called passion.”

In August 2018, at 40 years of age, Fitzwater started Fitz Signs & Murals as what he thought of as a “small side hustle idea.” Quickly, business picked up, little by little, and to more and bigger opportunities and, to where it is today,  a successful, full-time, family business.

Shawn Fitzwater is passionate about the business that he started five years ago with no formal training. He just “winged it.”

Today, he has a successful business as an “artist.”

“Me, an artist? That still blows my mind,” he said “My first big job was for a restaurant, ‘ASH.’ It was a simple logo. Today, if you see a BUC-EE’S sign.” I probably painted it.”

Fitzwater said before he started Fitz Signs and Murals in 2018, he was aware of painted signs but he didn’t know they were a “thing.”

Now, painted signs are Fitz’s “thing.” He works hard for something he loves.

“And when you work hard for something you love, it’s called a passion,” he said, with a smile. “It’s my passion.”