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. This book documents a collection these dedicated practitioners, their time-honored methods and their appreciation for quality and craftsmanship. It provides a history of the craft, features stories and photographs of more than two dozen sign painters working in cities throughout the United States.
With an unprecedented array of media and digital tools at their disposal, today's artists are faced with unlimited possibilities for creative experimentation. This guide examines how artists are experimenting, reinterpreting and redefining everything from the surfaces on which they work to the way viewers interact with their finished pieces. It includes demonstrations and art from more than 20 artists, and explores alternative ways of conceptualizing art through innovative 2-D, 3-D and digital processes.