Sign Painters

Faythe Levine, Sam Macon


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     7.5 × 9.5 in (19.1 × 24.1 cm)
176 pages
200 color illustrations
Publication date: 10/10/2012
Rights: World
ISBN: 9781616890834

There was a time, as recently as the 1980s, when storefronts, murals, banners, barn signs, billboards, and even street signs were all hand-lettered with brush and paint. But, like many skilled trades, the sign industry has been overrun by the techno-fueled promise of quicker and cheaper. The resulting proliferation of computer-designed, die-cut vinyl lettering and inkjet printers has ushered a creeping sameness into our visual landscape. Fortunately, there is a growing trend to seek out traditional sign painters and a renaissance in the trade. In 2010 filmmakers Faythe Levine, coauthor of Handmade Nation, and Sam Macon began documenting these dedicated practitioners, their time-honored methods, and their appreciation for quality and craftsmanship. Sign Painters, the first anecdotal history of the craft, features stories and photographs of more than two dozen sign painters working in cities throughout the United States. With a foreword by legendary artist (and former sign painter) Ed Ruscha, this vibrant book profiles sign painters young and old, from the new vanguard working solo to collaborative shops such as San Francisco's New Bohemia Signs and New York's Colossal Media's Sky High Murals.

Reader Comments

Fantastic (rating 5 out of 5):
I worked as a billboard painter for about 15 years from Atlanta to Buffalo and Pittsburgh. I was very sorry to see my profession end. I loved climbing up on buildings, or painting a sign along a highway out in the country in the summer.
Thank you for making the book, looking forward to the film. And film is where I took my skills in the early '90's and slowly over the years most hand painted signs are disappearing from film work and being replace by vinyl.
- Gregg Puchalski from Pittsburgh, Pa (03/04/2013)

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