Having two uncles who painted signs on mom-and-pop storefronts, I feel at home in a world colored and shaped by human hands. That means one of my homes these days is the road, as I wander and photograph the vanishing landscape of hand-painted signs and icons once gleaming and immaculate, now gauzy and fading like ghosts.
I love surfaces bearing phrases and rendering styles that reveal homespun spirits—be it a healing, advising, hand-gesturing Jesus, or a still-life of chicken and ribs on a cinderblock exterior. And I love nothing more than roaming around a new place and opening myself up to all of its details and characters. Not a place that’s new, not a place pocked with Anywhere, America signage, but a place impressed by the handiwork of its enterprising men, women, and children.
Some people gravitate toward church. I am drawn toward the ritual of setting out to discover, say, a sun-bleached, paint-crackled portrait of middleweight boxing champ Marvelous Marvin Hagler on the façade of a Las Vegas gym.