Humorous hand-painted signs exhibited in East London

An exhibition celebrating the diversity of sign painting is set to open in February – and it’s gone for a light-hearted approach based on fictional, bizarre slogans.

Business as Usual Ged Palmer
Ged Palmer

Business as Usual, taking place at The Book Club bar in East London, will showcase an eclectic mix of hand-painted signs by a variety of artists. It aims to inject humour into design through slogans that use fictional business and product names, exhibition organiser Ged Palmer says. 

“The idea is to have really high quality work that’s not taking itself very seriously, because it’s just silly,” Palmer, a freelance lettering artist and sign painter himself, says.

Business as Usual sign

Slogans on signs include “Finest wines available to humanity”, “Extra strength English mustard distributed by A.S. Keen” and “Earnest Shramp and Co. ladies’ bicycle saddler” and “Penrith Tearooms”.

Business as Usual Tristan Kerr
Signs by Tristan Kerr

The exhibition was directed by Liat Chen, and curated by Palmer. Artists who have contributed to the exhibition alongside Palmer include Ash Bishop, Dapper Signs, Carl Fredrik, Dry British, Jack Hollands, Proudfoot, Letterknight, Von Leadfoot and Tristan Kerr.

“The exhibition is positive for the trade,” Palmer says. “Signs are usually functional – they’re not something you put in a gallery. This is a nod to the fact that this is what we do for a living.” 

Business as Usual Dapper Signs
A sign by Dapper Signs

The show will also enable collaboration between sign painters nationwide, he says: “There will be healthy competition, and there will be the vibe of a community. It’s good to be social without the social media.”

Materials used include wood, metal, glass, gold leaf and enamel. The exhibition design will have a mural effect, with hand paintings on the walls and windows, and physical features such as an old Chevrolet car door that will be reconditioned and coated, and torn up billboard posters.

“It’ll be embracing the higgledy piggledy,” Palmer says. “The premise of the show is that we’ll be promoting fictitious, ludicrous products and services. The aim is not to have people scratching their chins – it’ll be really light-hearted.”

Business as Usual runs from 6pm on 12 February until 12 April 2015 at The Book Club, 100-106 Leonard Street, London, EC2A 4RH. Some work is also due to be showcased at Stories, 30-32 Broadway Market, E8 4QJ.

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