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Statement des Artistes

15 January, 2011
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Here’s the word salad promised earlier in the week.  I’m not sure how, or if, it’ll be used in conjunction with the show, but it least provides a snapshot of the some of the stuff that passes through my mind, on the subject of Genuine Authentic Hand Painted Signs, and in the end, promises nothing more than a bunch of signs on the wall:

To call these signs genuine and authentic practically begs people to differ.  Everyone’s got their own unique boundaries of authenticity, some of whose surely exclude our work on some technicality or other–if it’s not the cheat of drawing patterns first, maybe it’s the Electropounce™ that has replaced our hand-spun pattern wheels, or if not that, it’s certainly our top secret computerized pattern generator, busily yearning to put our Electropounce™ out to pasture.  Technicality–or technology, rather–projects one of the spectrums along which many of us might be able to locate a line (perhaps fuzzy) between authentic and not.

Clients have often called upon us to hand paint letters and logos that were never designed to be hand painted, for no other reason, near as we can tell, than the hope that, in the end, they might “look hand painted”.  Just this week, we’ve had two customers each individually use the phrase “more authenticity”, in describing what they were coming to us looking for in a sign, while providing us with digital files to work from, which themselves bore no particularly hand wrought characteristics.  What is it about what we do that implies to our clients, or to their clients, something genuine and authentic?

For better or worse, everything we produce at New Bohemia Signs is ultimately realized at the end of a hand-held paint brush.  We are limited, perhaps, by our choice of tools, but also by the quality of our practice.  The “weak link” in our production line is in our capacity to render an internally envisioned ideal, with our given set of body parts. I have to guess that that point of reduction, to humanity, to human frailty, is where we’re able to lay any claim to authenticity in what we do.  It’s from there, at any rate, that we’re able to sell authenticity to whoever’s buying.  I’ve described that point elsewhere as “the joy of fine tuning the only copier that draws its current directly from our hearts”.  I liked that line then, so I’ll use it again, and see how it fits here.  That’s how sign painting often works.  Copy, trace, cut and paste.  Whatever technological accoutrements are called upon to speed our work (or hamper our authenticity), it all passes through a needle’s eye, that of aesthetic judgement, of steady hand eye coordination, and practice, practice, practice.

We’re hoping, through this show, to call people’s attention to their own standards for genuineness and authenticity, and to spark some conversations about how they (and we) do or don’t manifest or recognize them.  As I write, work is still in progress, so as of yet I can only guess that, beyond plying clever design sense and a steady hand, we might also employ some kind of word play, or even take a stab at postmodern allusion (whatever that is)…  But if we don’t, y’know, at the very least we’ll decorate the place with a slew of genuine authentic hand painted signs.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 3 February, 2011 08:46

    Damon, excited to see what you guys are going to do for this show!

    Recentley saw this article, thought you guys might like it >>

    http://starrstudios.org/wholesale-signage/sign-painting-history/

Trackbacks

  1. Faux ghostsigns, authenticity and the passage of time | Ghostsigns

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