A sign of the times from Faythe Levine and Sam Macon
We’re all still suffering from an almighty hangover caused by the consumer party years. It was all fuelled by a fast credit, stack-them-high, sell-them-cheap, production line – but now austerity seems to have focused our minds.
Through the haze of the recessions the world is again starting to appreciate the longevity that comes with craftsmanship. We have rediscovered our mojo for quality, dependable expertise and individuality.
Nothing seems to sum this up better than a documentary film by Faythe Levine and Sam Macon called ‘Sign Painters’. Since 2010, Levine and Macon have documented the work of sign painters who put brush and paint to storefronts, murals, banners, barn signs, billboards, and street signs across America. Once a dying trade killed off by production-line computer vinyl graphics, there appears to be a growing trend for the return of traditional sign painters and a renaissance in the crafts.
(Just so you know, the photographs featured are screen grabs taken from the trailer and are posted here with the kind permission of Levine and Macon – if you’re going to do the same make sure you drop them a line.)
The trailer hints at a beautifully shot film with witty, charming and wise characters that have some wonderfully big ideas about what hand painted signs mean to the world – and the universe!
‘Old signs become art,’ says one craftsman. ‘I want to make signs that turn into art.’ Well, watching the dedication and craftsmanship that goes into traditional sign painting, we want them to make signs that turn into hoody designs.
The documentary is a follow up to Levine and Macon’s book ‘Sign Painters’, the first anecdotal history of the intimate craft, featuring stories and photographs of traditional US sign painters.