Faythe Levine, Sam Macon
7.5 x 9.5 IN / 19 x 24 CM
184 PP / 200 color ill
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 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 Franciscos New Bohemia Signs and New Yorks Colossal Medias Sky High Murals.
About the Authors:
Faythe Levine is an artist, photographer, flimmaker, and curator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is the founder of Art vs. Craft and curates Sky High Gallery.
Levines first film and book, Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design was published by Princeton Architectural Press.
Sam Macon is a Milwaukee-born, Chicago-based filmmaker, photographer, and writer. He received his BFA in film from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and directs music videos, commercials, short films, and documentaries.
"Full of stunning full-color shots of finished signs and works-in-progress of folks from San Francisco and Iowa City to Mazeppa and Boston. Even artist Ed Ruscha gets in on the action." -- Fast Company
"With hand-painted signs rapidly going the way of the film camera, documentarians Levine and Macon offer a welcome look at some of the remaining artists and their work, which adorns storefronts, walls and billboards. New Yorker Stephen Powers began as a graffiti artist; Las Vegas painters Mark and Rosie Oatis met in sign school; Ernie Gosnell, in Seattle, learned the trade as a teen from a sign-painting lady wrestler who "tattooed a little bit on the side." It's a toss-up as to what's better - these characters or their art." -- New York Post