Across the pond, a nation’s artisanal past is meeting its present day need for something indie, off the mainstream, and freely expressed. Hand painted signs are making a slow but sure resurgence – bringing back the human faces behind the typefaces.
Just a generation or two ago, every street, storefront, barn and billboard in the US featured a public notice, brushed on in coat upon coat of quality and individuality. Now it’s a real and rare pleasure when you do spot a painted sign.
Along with filmmaker Sam Macon, director Faythe Levine tracked down more than two dozen of the sign painters accountable for today’s works of art and documented them in an 80 minute movie, because despite the industry’s death by vinyl, it is somehow self-resuscitating.
Scouring cities stateside, their film profiles the stories, philosophies and styles that are personal to the characters, each piecing together the remnants of a craft in crisis. In spite of a few cowboy hats, the film feels contemporary and relevant. Faythe explains why: