Interesting Ideas

Roadside Art Online: Signs - 1

Little Pigs
This Little Pigs was in Asheville, N.C., though there are others. Elements that could seem obtrusive, like the light pole and wires, add geometric abstraction that complements rather than obstructs the sign's own imagery. The cannibalistic theme, common especially with BBQ restaurants, adds the frisson of victims gladly sharing in their own oppression.
Fill frame 8K/28K JPG
U.S. 45, central Illinois. This guy was lying in a junk pile beside the road near Champaign-Urbana. Presumably it was about an annexation battle. The sign was way to big to fit in the car, but way too unusual to pass up. The rust around the edge makes a great framing device.
Please Mr. Balch
Enfield, Conn. Balch Pontiac was a big advertiser in the Pioneer Valley "Please Mr. Balch, keep doing what you're doing," the jingle went. This picture is from the mid-80s, long after the heyday of barn advertising, but this artist knew how to make use of the canvas.
Sims 5K JPG
I should know where this is, but I lost track. Note the weird anthropomorphic barber figure.
Betts Big 9K/21K JPG
Highway 19, Chiefland, Fla. The truck image and the arrow make an exceptionally fine piece of neon, and the pink is rich.
Smiling pitcher
I-70, Kansas. The Smiling Water Pitcher beckons from Ellis, which to most of us would seem the middle of nowhere. The sign features nice typography, but is highlighted by the vaguely disturbing takeoff on the Kool Aid man, who was always pretty disturbing.
Roadside Art: Fork -N- Cork
Fork -N- Cork in St. Charles,
Illinois, has, sadly, long
since replaced its wonderfully
anthropomorphized utensils.

Signs and meaning

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Copyright William Swislow 1995