Before the age of computers and vinyl printers, sign painters worked by hand to illustrate storefronts, billboards and banners. Local craftsmen often developed a signature style that could distinguish a neighborhood, or even a city.
But technology made creating signs less expensive — and less expressive. Sign Painters, a new book and documentary written and directed by Faythe Levine and Sam Macon, focuses on dozens of artists who are keeping the art alive.
Before Macon began working on the film, he said never thought much about sign painting.
"I had never really given any thought to the fact that this is someone’s job, and the fact that individuals across America were painting signs regionally that defined the way the United States looked," Macon told NPR’s Neal Conan.
Once word got out about the project in the sign-painting community, they were flooded with personal stories. “We were totally inundated in the best way, and we ended up having more content than we could track down,” Macon said.
Video Credit: Faythe Levine & Sam Macon