Seeing the Signs

International Artist|June - July 2020

Seeing the Signs
A love of typography led Stephanie Schechter to paint signage that can serve as reminders of a place and time
Stephanie Schechter

Why signs? I am often asked this question. The answer is partially a love of typography and design, but also a need to document history. I majored in industrial design at RISD and settled in Rhode Island after graduating in 1994. Around the time I graduated, I noticed some of my favorite old buildings were being demolished for new development, which sparked an interest in historic preservation. I was also at the beginning of my design career, and soon realized I had more to express than is possible with design alone. I longed to make art.

I began to paint and quickly focused on using painting as a medium to document the buildings that I loved. As my painting progressed, I started to hone in on the signs on these buildings. I’ve always had a love of typography, and I began to develop an interest in vintage signs in particular. As my interest in signs grew, I began to see commercial signs as symbolic of more than the words on their surface. I started to recognize them as reminders of a community’s culture and history, the evolution of commerce, design and manufacturing trends, impermanence and obsolescence. I also developed an appreciation for the artistry of the sign makers.

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June - July 2020