Tuesday, April 16, 2013


     It's a fading art; the sign painter's stylized, indvidualized visions have largely given way to standardized plastic cutouts, quick, cheap...and empty.

     Maybe that's what you want for a sign that says "NO SMOKING within 8 feet of door by state law."  Conversely, it's a lousy way to get the name of your business out there, though the handful of clever artists who put die-cutter "printers" to work in an original way do a little to buck the trend.

     Standing right in the middle of the avalanche armed with little more than a brush and perhaps a stencil, America's remaining sign painters are doing their part and more -- you can find examples in my neighborhood, Broad Ripple (Good Morning Mama's, outstandingly so).  You will find even more examples and, better yet, exemplars at The Sign Painter Movie, a documentary with a fascinating trailer and a long, linked list of folks busily employed painting signs.

     It's a rare trade and a unique skill; I could wield a lettering pen well enough, long ago, but a brush?  That's a whole different art: a pen will guide your hand; a brush requires piloting.

     (Link found at the blog of one of the better-known underground comix artists.  Not unsurprisingly, if you think about it.)

1 comment:

  1. A young lady I knew in college was practiced in the art of sign painting. Her family ran a large seed corn outfit, and she got started young by lettering her father's tractor. Then his trucks, then all the neighbor's tractors and trucks.

    She eventually got into pin striping, and could have given Von Dutch a run for his money.

    Truly an art form, and as you say, sadly being replaced by cold, sterile, plastic letters and numbers.