John Sharrock dipped his small paintbrush in an old soda can Sunday and pulled up a dollop of blue paint.
He balanced himself on his ladder as he reached up and stenciled the word “Temple” on the new entry tower near the intersection of Temple Heights Road and 52nd Street, a gateway into the City of Temple Terrace.
Since October, the city has been working with a contractor to make . The entry marker, as well as the new, decorative sidewalks and terracotta crosswalks seen along the street, are part of the federally funded project.
There is also a larger .
The structures are the first gateway monuments to be placed at city entrances. Others are planned for entry roads such as Fowler and Fletcher avenues. The idea is to let motorists know that they’ve entered Temple Terrace.
Sharrock is a former circus performer and motorcycle stuntman, and he carries pictures in his briefcase to prove it. The old black-and-white photographs show Sharrock on his motorcycle flying through a spherical stunt cage.
He’s based in Riverview but said he spends much of his time traveling around the country, creating hand-lettered signs on carnival equipment, windows, walls, murals and billboards. Last year, he was in 27 states.
The sign on his pick up truck reads: “Have brush will travel!”
“They call me ‘The Mad Painter,’” he said. “There aren’t many people who do this anymore.”