i’m jealous of faythe levine & sam macon

First, the multi-talented Faythe Levine {of Handmade Nation fame… among countless other things!} got together with photographer/film maker Sam Macon, and wrote this book. Can you guess what it’s about?

You guessed it! Sign Painters, and the lost art that is sign painting {um, with a foreword by Ed Ruscha!}. The book profiles, and celebrates, classic sign painters – the artists who actually use a brush, and paint, and old-school techniques to create some of the most beautiful typographic art in the world. But Faythe and Sam didn’t stop with a book … nope … they just made a documentary too!

So good! Here’s the overview:

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 landscape. Fortunately, there is a growing trend to seek out traditional sign painters and a renaissance in the trade.

In 2010 filmmakers Faythe Levine and Sam Macon began documenting these dedicated practitioners, their time-honored methods, and their appreciation for quality and craftsmanship. Sign Painters, the first anecdotal history of the craft, features the stories of more than two dozen sign painters working in cities throughout the United States. The documentary and book profiles sign painters young and old, from the new vanguard working solo to collaborative shops such as San Francisco’s New Bohemia Signs and New York’s Colossal Media’s Sky High Murals.

Ooooh, it looks amazing! The first screening was just a couple of weeks ago in Washington DC. It’s starting it’s tour of indie theatres right now, so if you want to see if your city is on the list, click here. And for a preview of the film, you can watch the trailer right here.

comments (6)

  1. Pamela /// 04.10.2013 /// 7:56am

    I love knowing about this. Thanks so much for your exploration of art and motivation to share it with us.

  2. the jealous curator /// 04.10.2013 /// 8:28am

    oh, thank YOU pamela… i don’t know what i’d do with myself if i didn’t have this site as an outlet! ; )

  3. Kreetta /// 04.10.2013 /// 9:41pm

    I wish all signs should be painted…love the handmade feeling and fonts

  4. Karina /// 04.11.2013 /// 5:27am

    Delightful! There are so little people nowadays who truly understand the art of hand lettering (which is very much different form type design). Thank you for featuring them.

  5. Ink and Letters » Thank You Jealous Curator /// 04.15.2013 /// 7:55am

    […] http://www.thejealouscurator.com/blog/2013/04/10/im-jealous-of-faythe-levine-sam-macon/ […]

  6. Second Floor Flat /// 04.24.2013 /// 1:16pm

    So glad someone made a movie about this. I’ve always wondered about the story behind sign painters after seeing some painting a billboard in Brooklyn last year – really amazing to see that handiwork up close. Can’t wait to see the documentary!