Signs of the Times - May 2017 - 20
authenticate the past, a time when
charming, but air-defiling land
barges ruled the roads.
My primary point is that museum
exhibits should be accurate. You might
drive across town to see Carroll Shelby's
original Cobra, the 1962 CSX 2000,
but not cross the street to see a 2017
imitation. My point? When you make
the effort to see an advertised original,
you expect to see an accurate original.
Am I too exacting?
That same Sunday afternoon, I
SIGNS OF THE TIMES
talked with Bob Bond, publisher/
editor of AutoArt & Kustom Painting
Magazine and pinstriper, gilder and
signmaker extraordinaire, who said
any old or historical vehicle displayed
by a museum should replicate the original as closely as possible. "Museums
are preserving history," he said, "so the
visuals need to be period-accurate."
Tod Swormstedt, the American
Sign Museum founder and past
editor and publisher of this magazine
also answered my phone call on that
Sunday. I told him what I was writing
and asked what he would do if the
museum received an antique sign,
one that would have been hand
lettered originally, but instead sported
vinyl letters. Tod said he hasn't
faced such a predicament, but surely
wouldn't accept the sign. "We like to
leave exhibited signs as they are," he
said, "and wouldn't want to have to
strip and repaint one."
A more philosophical view might
be taken from Faythe Levine and
Sam Macon's book "Sign Painters"
where in the introduction, Glenn
Adamson, head of research at the
Victoria and Albert Museum (London),
said, "... it is only now, as we cross the
digital divide that it seems to make
sense to celebrate sign painting." He
noted that handmade signage is no
longer the norm, but the exception -
a trace of a slower, less hurried era.
He also noted that sign artists themselves are not disappearing and those
who still accomplish the work, "deserve
to be taken as the inventive, vital
artists that they are, rather than as
remnants of a vanishing past."