December 23, 2007 10:50 AM   Subscribe

"Wall Dogs" were sign painters that crafted ads directly on the walls of buildings (in time becoming Ghost Signs, previously posted on Mefi 1, 2, 3) and their craft is not dead.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (6 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Great post Brandon. Totally love knowing abut wall dogs and seeing ghost signs. Fascinating topic. I love it when the old signs fade.

As it happens I met a wall dog when I had brain surgery last year. A sweet old Chinese man, whose charming silk flower making wife had a stroke. As we accompanied his wife on walks through the hospital corridors he told me about his doing wall paintings all the way back to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies, ages ago. His main gig was ads for movies on a large wall on 42nd Street. Never knew there was an actual name for these wall painters. It always amazes me how they made things look photographic while painting it up close like that.
posted by nickyskye at 11:17 AM on December 23, 2007

Great post. In one of the interviews an old wall dog blames the shifr away from lead paint for being one of the reasons the craft has almost died out and I wonder if that is true. Just a few years ago 3-4 walls in my town were painted with historic scenes and they all look like crap now--faded, peeling, ugly.
posted by LarryC at 11:29 AM on December 23, 2007

I love the Belvidere paintings.

I wonder if fifty years from now there will be museums built to honor the geniuses behind the "punch the monkey" web banner.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 12:24 PM on December 23, 2007

an old wall dog blames the shift away from lead paint for being one of the reasons the craft has almost died out and I wonder if that is true.

I think that's likely true. I've used some old, heavily leaded sign paint on art projects and I have to tell you it's the nicest enamel I've ever used. It's a shame that it's so toxic - it's really nice, thick, rich paint, and it will last forever.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:42 PM on December 23, 2007

This is really neat. I love that style of ad mural like I love Burma Shave signs (intensely). Thanks for the post!
posted by chihiro at 8:06 PM on December 24, 2007

I've been taking pictures of painted signs in Rochester, NY for a couple of years. Surprisingly for a city this small, I'm not the only one. They can last an amazing number of years depending on where they are. Good to see that they're still being made.
posted by tommasz at 4:54 AM on December 26, 2007

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