Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I'll be on the radio next next Tuesday night

Next Tuesday 23rd December, I’ll be on Tracee Hutchison’s 3RRR FM’s Summerfluidity show at 9.30pm for a chat about ghost signs.

If you're in Melbourne, you can find 3RRR at 102.7FM. Streaming as well as radio on demand (where you can listen back anytime after Tuesday) can be found here: http://www.rrr.org.au/

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A former corner grocery in Seddon reminds itself about its past, then forgets again

Back in September 2012, I started my inner-west signwriting exhibition project by cycling to 50 locations where the former Lewis & Skinner company had once painted a sign, as recorded in the  records I found and turned into an online archive: www.lewisandskinner.com

At each location I dropped off a photocopy of the Lewis & Skinner job sheet for that sign, plus a customised postcard inviting the residents to come to my forthcoming exhibition.

The first building I visited on my rounds was a former grocery in Seddon where a Fishers Wax sign had been painted in 1952. I still pass that building every morning on the way to work. On that morning I left the job sheet in the door. (I tell the story of that first day of dropoffs here: http://findingtheradiobook.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/today-my-first-lewis-skinner-document.html)

This is what the grocery looked like at the time:

...and here's the job sheet, taken from: http://www.lewisandskinner.com/items/show/874

I didn't get any follow-up from the owners, but earlier this year, I noticed this in the front window - a cool little nod to the building's history:

Then the other day I went past again, and the sign had vanished once more:

I enjoyed the quiet intervention while it was there, but also don't so much mind its removal, which is much like the ephemeral character of the actual ghost signs it emulates or reproduces. Must get back there sometime and interview the owners if they're up for it :)

A northwards trip: old signs in Broadford, Seymour, Euroa, Violet Town and Swanpool

The other weekend I took off to see a friend near Swanpool, taking in a few signs along the way. Here they are. Firstly Broadford:



Swanpool - taken at the fabulous general store and cafe, whose owner is quite the collector of local ephemera:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A recent tyre sign uncovering in Prahran - from the 1920s

Drove past this Perdriau Tyres sign the other day - the latest of a series of great uncoverings in the arterial roads of the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. This sign is older than 1929 - the company merged with Dunlop that year: http://www.eoas.info/biogs/A000528b.htm

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Painted Ghost Signs Community Conservation Project - collaboration between Port Phillip Council and Melbourne University

A new ghost sign collaboration project is underway between the City of Port Phillip and the University of Melbourne. Called the Painted Ghost Signs Community Conservation Project, they're seeking people to help document and digitally preserve ghost signs across the municipality.


New ghost sign article featuring yours truly, this time in the Guardian's UK edition

A big thanks to Melbourne writer (and ghost sign fan) Nick Gadd for this great article.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Handpainted lettering workshop with US expert Mike Meyer - November 22 & 23 in Spotswood

Those of you interested in the craft of hand lettering might be interested in a weekend workshop on November 22 and 23, led by Mike Meyer. Mike is one of the world’s most renowned signage experts and features in the Sign Painters film: http://www.signpaintersfilm.com/. This workshop is part of Mike’s current world tour.

The workshop will take place in the Spotswood studio of Tony Mead, the sign writer and historian who worked with us on our 2013 Yarraville signwriting archive/exhibition/mural painting project. The world tour is being organised by the UK-based ‘ghost sign’ expert Sam Roberts, who was also a partner in our 2013 project.

For more info see: http://betterletters.co/events/mike-meyer-hand-lettering-workshop-melbourne/

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Want to contribute to an article about ghost signs in the Guardian?

Local writer Nick Gadd is penning an article in the Guardian about why people are attracted to ghost signs. If you'd like to contribute, message Nick on Twitter @nickowriter 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunlight from Bega - thanks Lyndel

Lyndel has just sent through a couple of pics of this sign from Bega, NSW - ironically one faded by sunlight over the years:)

Some more pics of the Paragon Printers uncovering (RIP) in LaTrobe Street - thanks Aaron!

Aaron has just sent through a few shots of the Paragon Printers sign that was until recently on the corner of La Trobe and Sutherland Streets in the city. The sign was uncovered during building works, and is now in landfill (see previous post with Leisa's pic: http://findingtheradiobook.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/a-collection-of-brilliant-melbourne.html). Behind the Paragon sign was another saw maker sign, now presumably also gone (see: http://findingtheradiobook.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/henry-richards-saw-makerrevealed-in.html)

Perfection in a Brunswick 'reuncovering'

Some time ago I posted a pic of a billboard in Brunswick where the ad has been removed, revealing a ghost sign underneath. Well, it's just been uncovered again, this time revealing more of the Perfection Tobacco sign underneath:

UPDATE a few weeks later - I just went past and it's been covered up again by a shiny new billboard....

Thursday, September 25, 2014

New Melbourne ghost sign blog from Rob Gray- plus Adelaide history app

Fellow local ghost sign aficionado Rob Gray has developed his own ghost sign blog, replete with some great historical context about the signs and the companies behind them:


Also, there's a new augmented reality app called Adelaidia that focuses on the history of central Adelaide. Read about it here:


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Next Thursday - 'take two' for our seminar on our Lewis & Skinner community ghost signs/signwriting/archives project. All welcome.

Next Thursday at 4pm I'm running a seminar in Footscray about our 'Keepers of Ghosts' signwriting exhibition and mural painting project. Everyone is welcome. We were due to do this seminar in May, but last-minute family stuff got in the way and so we've rescheduled.

Here's the official blurb: 


The Keepers of Ghosts seminar will feature key people from the project Dr Stefan Schutt, Dr Lisa Cianci and professional sign artist and historian Tony Mead.

The Keepers of Ghosts project began when 10,000 records from a former sign-painting company were rescued from a demolition site in Footscray, Melbourne.

Beginning with the creation of an online document archive (www.lewisandskinner.com), the project has since developed into an experimental community research project involving sign writers, shopkeepers, local history aficionados, students and people interested in ‘ghost signs’, or the remains of painted advertising signs. Activities have included a seminar, a blog, an online survey, student projects and a 2013 exhibition in a local cafĂ©, the wall of which was used as a canvas for the communal painting (by Tony Mead and helpers) of a signwriting-related mural. 

Over 200 people visited the exhibition, and the project featured on the Channel Ten news, ABC Radio, The Age and local newspapers.

In this presentation Stefan and Tony will discuss a number of interrelated threads:

  • Tony’s reflections on the project from the point of view of a sign painting professional
  • the widespread and growing use of sociable mediato informally document and share otherwise-forgotten aspects of urban memory, generating a form of ‘network sociality’ connected to place and belonging; 
  •  the proposition that the interplay between digital and physical archival activities can be harnessed to involve and connect diverse groups of people with shared interests, invoking the notion of a ‘museum without walls’;
  • some preliminary findings from the project interviews, written comments and surveys

Date: Thursday 2 October 2014
Venue: Room T109, Bld T, Footscray Nicholson Campus
 (cnr Buckley and Nicholson Streets, Footscray)
Time: 4.00pm to 5.00pm

As numbers will be limited please RSVP by Wednesday 1 October to polly.probert@vu.edu.au. Please feel free to forward this to anyone who may be interested.

Time: 4.00pm to 5.00pm

Henry Richards, saw maker...revealed in LaTrobe Street (thanks Sarah)

Here's a great cobalt blue sign revealed during a demolition in the CBD...it's probably gone by now (thanks Sarah for sending through the pic):

The Paragon Printers sign that sat in front of it has also gone, as seen in Leisa's pic from a couple of weeks ago:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A collection of brilliant Melbourne signs from Leisa

Thanks so much to Leisa for passing on these pics of signs I haven't seen before. I'm sure I've been past some of these locations and haven't noticed them:


Heidelberg - nice bit of Bushells sign spotting with that first one:

Front of Heidelberg building:

Some others at the rear: