Friday, April 23, 2010

Up There: The Dying Art of Sign Painting

By Daniel Williams

I remember the first time I saw hand-painted advertising murals. Three enormous walls, several thousand square feet each, above a car-wash in downtown Los Angeles promoting the 2005 X Games. Once a common advertising medium, hand-painted advertising is now limited in the United States to only the largest metros.

UP THERE is a beautifully directed short-film by Malcom Murray that tells the story of a few dare-devil artists in New York City fighting to keep their craft alive.

"Capturing a trade that is equal parts artistic precision and grueling labor, the film presents a painting tradition pre-dating modern advertising. A craft that today finds itself dangling precariously on the brink of extinction."

The documentary was filmed during the production cycle for The Ritual Project, a three-week evolving advertising mural for Stella Artois. The short film is presented by the Belgian brewer and features a team of artists from Sky High Murals in New York City.

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