Sign Painters

Played at
  • Directed by Faythe Levine and Sam Macon
  • 2013USA120 minutesEnglish
  • Prologue by Leif Norman, photographer

Sign Painters celebrates the hand painted sign industry, an American tradition and stylistically explores this unacknowledged art form through anecdotal accounts from artists across the country. This documentary explores a fascinating insight into a highly specialized underground trade, emphasizing an appreciation for a balance between art and commerce.

“What a terrific movie Faythe and Sam have made! Sign Painter’s engaging
telling of this important American story should have good legs.”
—Ed Ruscha

The Advertising Association of Winnipeg has launched a new research project aimed at creating a digital archive of Ghost Signs in Winnipeg’s Exchange District. The year-long undertaking will focus on cataloguing ghost signs in the area, developing a history of the products and documenting the painters behind the work. This research will be compiled and launched in the spring 2015 as an interactive website at

Ghost signs are hand-painted, outdoor ads that have been preserved on sides of buildings. They are also known as fading ads or brick ads and were prevalent from the 1890s through to the 1960s. As outdoor advertising mediums evolved, ghost signs became a less popular way of advertising products and services and were replaced by billboards and vinyl banners.

The screening will be followed by a free tour of “Ghost Signs” in the Exchange District, led by Matt Cohen, President, Advertising Association of Winnipeg.