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Thursday 7th December, 2017

an image of a ghost sign

What is a Ghost Sign?

You might be mistaken in thinking a ghost sign is something more sinister, or spooky, than it is; a ghost sign is actually a hand-painted sign, usually placed upon the side of a building, that has been preserved since its creation (likely for up to 100 years).

Here at Shirley Industrial Painters, we are interested in anything that combines the art of industrial painting with historical significance, and ghost signs are certainly an example of this.

Wall Dogs

Not necessarily always a term of endearment, the artists painting the (now) ghost signs were referred to as ‘wall dogs’ due to their dog-like work ethic, and the fact that they were attached to the sides of buildings by a ‘leash’. Underpaid and underappreciated, these artists possessed the poise of a rock-climber and the steady hand of a fine artist. What’s more, these paintings were often done on the fly, sometimes 30+ feet in the air.

Modern Resurgence

Although these artists and their work lost favour to technological advancements in the 1950s, lately there has been a nostalgic resurgence in the popularity of appreciating the work done by wall dogs, with talented artists restoring the paintings in a variety of projects – two of the most significant being in Fort Collins, Colorado and Philadelphia.

There is also a group called ‘The Walldogs’, who host an annual festival to celebrate the art and breathe new life into local communities by restoring ghost signs and creating new murals.

Experience for Yourself

Many of the ghost signs still visible today are spread throughout America, Canada and France, with there also being guided tours across London to appreciate the historical significance – in terms of both local craft and advertising history – of these signs.

Shirley Industrial Painters

Although we don’t utilise the strong lead-based paints of the sign-painters of old, our industrial painting service will withstand the test of time just as efficiently. If you’d like to hear more about the services we can provide for your business, please get in touch. You can either call us on 03333 660 408 or fill out our simple contact form.