Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sign language

The barrio surrounding my new digs sports some shops with hand-written signs. Though individual neon signs, or even normal plastic ones, can be seriously attractive, they are always foul in aggregate.

Visting Ireland in the early 1990s I was fascinated to see that signpainting was still a serious craft. I actually saw, on more than one occasion, people laying gold leaf on the inside of shop windows after first having written something in black, gaelic-looking letters.

I've also seen signpainters in action in America, not doing replicas of ye quaint ole style-stuff, but writing utilitarian, though to be honest not very lovely-looking messages about local furniture salesmen and the like.
I have no idea what EZLN means here. It's the acronym for Zapatistas in Mexico, sure. But I haven't seen many of those around here.


coastkid said...

sign painting is still a regaurded skilled job here in Scotland too...

Andy in Germany said...

When I went to college there was the remains of a painted sign saying 'Temperance Hotel' on the end of a building. The next building's roof jutted across it, and that building was almost a hundred years old, so the sign must have been even older. I know of a sign in York advertising 'Bile Beans' which is an interesting idea.

I spent some time with a sign painter while working on my Theatre degree in the states. It helped my set painting a treat.

Brian and Monica said...

Never heard of EZLN or Zapatistas until I read your post. Instead of paying for an education, I'm getting paid to learn. (I'm at work) Thanks! ~Monica

Northmark said...

Coast: True, I've noticed. And I hope no Irish take offence, but the semi-official "celtic" script they stick to so earnestly does get a bit twee at times. More business-like in Scotland.

Monica: I am very flattered!