The sign series focuses on an aspect of urban life that can be both beautiful and ugly. I am most interested in signs that are handlettered, weathered, imperfect. They have a personality and a history. They can be welcoming, enticing, straightforward, humorous. Sometimes they have been painted over and repainted. The traces of former signs show through and form a kind of palimpsest. All are transitory… the vanitas scenes of the city street.
About my process:
These prints are based upon photographs that I took while wandering around the streets of Oakland and Berkeley. (Many signs I glimpsed repeatedly in passing, usually from a city bus window, before returning with a camera to capture them.) Once I have an image that I like, I draw it out using pencil, brush, and ink, and decide how best to translate the image to the woodblock medium. I then carve the image into a block of wood. (I use shina, birch plywood, or basswood.) There is a separate block of wood carved for each layer of color used in the design.