Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A few from France and Germany

It's been a while! I've just returned from a quick and intense family trip to France and Germany and managed to snap a few signs in passing. I actually saw a lot more than shown here: some were impossible to photograph from high-speed trains (including some great wall-sized signs in Paris' outer suburbs) and others were encountered when my phone had run out of power. C'est la vie. So here are the few I did manage to snap.

 Montmartre, Paris:


 Somewhere in the north of Paris:

Strasbourg - only just got the building side in time in this bad shot:


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Look what arrived in the mail today...


Finally, after three years from idea to completion - the world's first scholarly book on ghost signs is in my grubby little hands. Inside its pages are 22 chapters about ghost signs from Australia, the UK, US, Belgium, Peru and Vietnam, by a great group of academics, sign painters, historians, conservators, marketers and psychologists around the globe. It's been an enormous amount of work and to be honest I'm very glad it's all over - but also very glad it's here too.

It describes the book as "the first scholarly collection to examine the social and cultural aspects on the worldwide interest in the faded remains of advertising signage (popularly known as ‘ghost signs’). Contributors to this volume examine the complex relationships between the signs and those who commissioned them, painted them, viewed them and view them today. Topics covered include cultural memory, urban change, modernity and belonging, local history and place-making, the crowd-sourced use of online mobile and social media to document and share digital artefacts, ‘retro’ design and the resurgence in interest in the handmade."

As a hardback academic book with a limited market it's also very expensive - but it will come out in paperback in 12 months or so. Also, Google Books has some snippets if you'd like to peek inside :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A few Hurstbridge signs

It's been a while since I've posted here - life's kinda got in the way of late :) So now I've got this ridiculous backlog of ghost sign pics...will try to clear it over the next little while. Stay tuned.

But first, some signs I snapped the other day in the main drag of Hurstbridge, including a fabbo Nestles sign uncovered by a billboard removal on an old grocery.

Oh, and PS: After over two years of work, WE'VE HANDED IN THE FINAL PROOFS FOR OUR GHOST SIGNS ACADEMIC BOOK!! It should be out soon...the blurb is here: https://www.routledge.com/Advertising-and-Public-Memory-Social-Cultural-and-Historical-Perspectives/Schutt-Roberts-White/p/book/9781138934689

Note that it will be only available in ridiculously expensive hardback for the first 12 months, then out in more reasonable paperback after that.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Two Melbourne cafés with ghost signs attached

Melbourne is well known for its coffee culture and its ghost signs, so it's not that much of a surprise that the two have met in recent years.

At least two cafés are operating in premises that have uncovered ghost signs on their walls - and have left the signs there to their advantage.

In fact, one, Mr Morse - just next to the railway bridge in Johnston Street, Abbotsford, has named itself after the large early 20th century Mr Morse's Indian Root Pills sign uncovered on a former external wall:

This sign is part of an intense marketing push by the Australian purveyors of a snake oil remedy originally from the US - as seen by many other large cobalt blue Indian Root Pills signs around the district, including the famous chicory kiln in Bacchus Marsh (below) and various other Root Pills sign uncoverings (see: http://findingtheradiobook.blogspot.com.au/search?q=root+pills). And for more details on Dr Morse's elixir, see the great Melbourne Circle blog for a fascinating history of the Indian Root Pills brand: https://melbournecircle.net/2015/05/09/layers-of-ghosts-on-abbotsford-street/

The second café is in Lower Heidelberg Road, Ivanhoe. Signwriter Larry Stammers alerted me to this great place after we met at a State Library talk recently. Funnily enough, when I went to take these pics recently, Larry was there having lunch. Again, the sign was painted on a former external wall. We wondered what oat company it might have been - possibly Uncle Toby's - there's a large faded ghost sign in St Georges Road in North Fitzroy that though very different in other ways has a similar curved swirl (any suggestions?)

This wall has an extra level of political interest too. Public external walls were used in much the same way that billboarders use construction sites and derelict buildings today - places to publicise events with posters. (See here for another example of posters being uncovered through building works: http://findingtheradiobook.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/spectacular-lewis-skinner-uncovering-in.html). This wall has a spectacular trace - a 1934 election poster for a candidate for the United Australia Party, the predecessor to today's Liberal Party. It's been nicely preserved on the wall:

Monday, April 18, 2016

New article about a ghost sign project in Ballarat

"COOPED up in her magnificent 19th century “office”, artist and researcher Amy Tsilemanis loves nothing more than researching Ballarat’s antique advertising signs and brochures.
Based in the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute library, Tsilemanis’ goal is to bring “old things to life in creative ways”. She is currently working on a project about the city’s “ghost advertising” on the sides of buildings – faded ads from the past."


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Modest uncovering in a tradionally immodest St Kilda street

This old real estate sign was recently uncovered in the heart of St Kilda's former centre of sin: Grey Street. Of course, it's rapidly gentrifying - as evidenced by the flash new apartments being built on this former down-at-heel site:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Online video of my recent talk on the Lewis & Skinner archive at the State Library of Victoria

If you've ever craved information on ghost signs, elephants, tea, online archives and mouldy documents, come and take a look here.

The videos by SLV Fellows are on the right hand side of the page: http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/library-fellows