Celebrating America’s Sign Makers

Artist Clark Byers may not be a household name, but if you’ve lived or traveled in the southeast U.S., you’re probably familiar with his work. Byers, whose death in 2004 was commemorated with an obituary in the New York Times, painted the advertising slogan, “See Rock City,” on the roofs of more than 900 barns from the late 1930s until the 1960s. Byers’ and other artists’ signs inspired filmmakers Sam Macon and Faythe Levine’s great new book, Sign Painters, an homage to the craft and its craftsmen (and a great gift for the Americana-lover on your holiday shopping list) . “This book, like the job of a sign painter, isn’t always about eye-popping, flashy designs,” say Macon and Levine. “It’s about experiences, years of practice, tricks of the trade, and design fundamentals learned over time that transform a person who just wants to paint signs into a great sign painter.” You can read the foreword to the book, and see a fascinating slideshow of the sign makers and their work here.

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