Monday, August 9, 2010


While at the dog park yesterday, I met a woman whose husband hand-painted billboards for a living all over south Florida. His specialty was the coppertone girl--you know, the one whose dog is tugging on her bathing suit. His specialized skills became obsolete with the rise of mass-produced digitized and vinyl billboards.

Old hand-painted signs, like the one in the photo I snapped from a building in Beatrice, Nebraska, have always intrigued me. I am impressed by the large-scale format, the texture of the brick, the lack of transfer techniques, and the danger of the job. Although I have no idea what the farmer originally looked like, I can't help but wonder if it has become more beautiful with time. For more information on billboards and their history, check out how billboards are made.

While painting the nursery mural a few weeks ago, I tried to channel one of my favorite artists, Margaret Kilgallen, whose murals were inspired by hand-painted signs.

For a visual feast of hand-painted signs of the world, check out this flickr set.

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