I was driving down the street last week and kept noticing the billboards as I past them and at one point wondered where do all these billboard messages and artwork go when their time is up?
I know from some experience that a lot of them just get covered over by the new messages and artwork but there’s so much stuff out there everywhere we look.
I wonder how much is destroyed and how much is taken down and winds up at someones house?
When I lived in New York City in the late 60′s one of my roomates worked for a billboard company and offered to bring home a billboard to put up in our hallway. We agreed it would be a terrific idea so the next day he unrolled a billboard of a giant womans face for something or other and we pasted it up. It was really interesting how most people loved the idea and the creativeness of the whole thing when they saw it.
After working in the motion picture industry I always wondered where those great giant movie billboards went after the film came and went. While working at Warner Bros. I saw most of the large prints just put in the trash.
Illustrator friends of mine told me that the artwork they had done for the motion picture company executives usually wound up eventually on their walls in their homes, framed!
I imagine these days we lose most of our creative billboards to the elements and trash which is a shame. Maybe someone should put together an art show of some of the billboards from the past as a project. Hmmmm, might be interesting as an outdoor event.
Here are a few examples of outdoor art in our daily lives:
As I said in an earlier post, my days of walking the streets of New York was always filled with a never-ending stream of art throughout the varying neighborhoods. From walking in the Village to strolling uptown along 5th Avenue I always managed to be entertained by either unique window dressings or from yelling cab drivers as they weaved their way in traffic to an unknown destination.
I was never, ever bored living there and found the City a fountain of culture with art from all ages. My most favorite thing to do was to walk through new neighborhoods as they presented such diversity from block to block. A true melting pot.
My last visit was no different other than I labored more because an aging body but still the excitement of what I would find around the next corner was always there and I’m sure will always be there when I return.
As I was walking up one of the streets deep in the SoHo area I came across a painting of Marilyn Monroe in the window of a gallery that stopped me dead in my tracks.
This was the best collaboration between Disney characters and stardom I’d ever seen to date.
Then there were the beautiful photos in the windows that captured the imagery designers tried so hard to place within the community to broadcast the richness of the present day cultures.
I even came across a striking Mona Lisa painting on the side of a building that seemed quite natural to be there and reminded me that street art can be some of the finest when created by artist that have true passion for their work and decide that a gallery just doesn’t suit them or their paintings but they deserve the right to place the paintings in front of the pedestrians anywhere, anytime.
Sculpture is bountiful in the City as well and you can’t walk very far without coming across some very striking pieces that designate the different “squares” throughout the neighborhoods. And of course the architecture is classic and as varied as the people that inhabit the buildings.
So we call it the City that Never Sleeps. We can see why now. The Artists never do as well!
Yes, I see contemporary art every day. An most of it is read and I look up at it. They are signs. Some of them are quite creative.
I used to work at a friend’s studio years ago and he had a painting hanging on a wall downstairs that I marveled at every time I saw it. It was a beautifully rendered acrylic canvas of a sign on a building. I don’t remember the name on the sign because that’s not what I liked about it. It was the letter forms and how well the artist painted them in a bright afternoon day lighting with a brilliant blue sky in the background and a brick wall for the building.
I was taught how to set type back in New York City in the 60′s by some real pros and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It taught me to enjoy how spacing in word and letter arrangement is everything. It’s a subject that deserves it’s own blog and at least a longer post than this and I will get to it at some point as I am the keeper of some very valuable technology that is what could be considered a lost art in itself.
Some of the best signage around is from the fifties diners and before that the 40′s and art deco type styles used in posters for airlines and ship cruises.
Here are a few examples of signs I photographed in Aruba and Curacaio.