Winslow Old Wall

Can You Find The Words in This Sign?

Old wall signs are a glimpse into the background of the companies that once occupied those old buildings. You see them all the time in many areas and many photographers take pictures of these buildings, but have no idea about the business that was inside.

Demolition is removing a lot of them, so their history is slowly disappearing. One artist Craig Winslow from Astoria, Oregon is determined to figure out who was there and recreate the hand painted signs as they once appeared. He uses research to help him figure out what is missing.

Winslow Research

The writing on many is faded, but still letterforms are still lightly recognizable, but others are hardly visible.

Winslow Old Wall

One of Winslow’s first stops was Astoria’s Heritage Museum.

“With the Astoria project, I was sort of finding my process,” he says. “The sleuthing and detective work really became a focus, and I was surprised at how much information was out there—part of what I’m figuring out now is just how long I want to spend on research, because it could really go on forever.”

The museum’s archive of Sanborn maps provided valuable clues about the signs’ original contents. (Starting in 1867, Sanborn, a U.S. publisher, created detailed maps of U.S. towns and cities—originally, the maps helped insurance companies estimate fire risks.)

So…how does he do it? Here is the link to the video to watch the transformation:

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The Creative Tablet Staff

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