Sign Painters

Back in December, we spoke to Sam Roberts, founder of London-based Ghostsigns, which organises walking tours that show off the fading relics of signs.

Work by Jeff Canham for Sign Painters
Work by Jeff Canham for Sign Painters

He’s certainly a man that’s passionate about uncovering these symbols of the past, relishing their typographic tales of days gone by.

However, it seems he’s not the only one that’s soppy about signpainting, as evidenced by the release of new film The Sign Painters, which is to be shown at three London screenings facilitated by Roberts.

Colossal Media from Sign Painters
Colossal Media from Sign Painters

The documentary about US signwriters weaves together more than 20 individual stories to create a narrative about the art form, showing how it survives even in today’s technology-driven, digital landscape.

Directed by filmmakers Faythe Levine and Sam Macon, the film looks to put the spotlight on the craft, covering craftsmen working across the US, and featuring signwriting shops including San Francisco’s New Bohemia Signs and New York’s Colossal Media’s Sky High Murals.

Josh Luke from Sign Painters film
Josh Luke from Sign Painters film

‘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’, say the directors.

‘But, like many skilled trades, the sign industry has been overrun by the techno-fuelled 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.’

Work by Sean Barton from Sign Painters.
Work by Sean Barton from Sign Painters.

The Sign Painters will be screened alongside Horn Please, a short film celebrating of the tradition of Indian truck painting.

Sign Painters and Horn Please film poster
Sign Painters and Horn Please film poster

The films will be screened on 5, 6 and 7 February at The Roxy Bar & Screen, 128-132 Borough High Street, London SE1. For more information and tickets visit http://www.ghostsigns.co.uk/the-sign-painter-movie-london-screening

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