The Full Dollar Collection of Contemporary Art is an initiative that aims to reconsider the tradition of public art through a collaboration between artists, sign painters, and business owners. Originated in Ecuador by artist and anthropologist X. Andrade, the project will examine how the fine art tradition intersects with the tradition of commercial hand-painted signs.
As Artist-in-Residence at Outpost for Contemporary Art in Highland Park, Los Angeles, Andrade will collaborate with Occidental College and KCET Departures in exploring the possibilities of using storefronts along York Boulevard as a canvas for engaging dialogue between artists, non-artists, and the community. Sign painters will appropriate works by fine artists, using their motifs to create works that not only will be pieces of public art, but also serve to advertise a business and become fixtures on the changing face of the community.
The Full Dollar site will feature content that will be updated several times a week. These include video interviews, guest blog posts, and a photo survey of hand painted signs across Highland Park.
The Full Dollar Collection of Contemporary Art is developed through a partnership between:
In our interview with artist and sign painter Brad Dutsch, he talked a bit about the process of his work and his desire to teach the values of painting to young children. Now he shares with us examples of his work. Starting this week, we will be presenting the Q&A with each artist in our Photo of the Week posts.
Arden Stern is a Ph.D. Candidate in Visual Studies at the University of California, Irvine. She has published and presented on 19th-century type design, street graphics in Zambia, and typography in film title sequences.
Designed to explore the intersections between artists, the built environment, and the Highland Park community, the Full Dollar Project has enlisted Los Angeles sign painters to illustrate the collaborative and constantly evolving identity of a neighborhood. While LA's rich history of muralism has helped construct the city's identity on a global scale, the distinctiveness of its painted signs can identify its landscape on an even more local level. Like facial features, signs are a vital part of how businesses distinguish themselves: appearing one after the other, mismatched awnings and stucco facades constitute a cast of community characters in their own right. Painted signs, of which no two are exactly alike, express the history of a place through a unique and often idiosyncratic language of images, symbols, and text. In this way, a street like York Boulevard simultaneously becomes a public art gallery and local history museum.
Last week we featured our interview with sign painter Agbey Hommey, in which he talked about his work as a sign painter, as well as his passion for watercolors. Now it's time to visualize his works.
See Agbey's sign paintings and his watercolors, along with answers to a few questions about his career:
Art Tapia is a young Highland Park artist who has created many murals in the style of graffiti art. He also spends his time on commercial art, painting signs with his own unique style. One of his representative works is the sign at Junior's Discount Party Supplies, which consists of colorful illustrations of cartoon characters on the outside walls.
Brad Dutsch is a muralist and sign painter whose work ranges from lettering for high school gymnasiums to an enormous American Eagle-inspired mural on the side of the Alhambra post office.
In this interview he shares his experiences working on public buildings and the inspiration for pursuing a career in art.
You've seen some of the work of Kimberley Edwards "The Window Goddess" in our last Photo of the Week entry--now hear our interview in which she talks about her struggles, inspirations, and the art of sign painting.
To further understand her work and her philosophy, we asked her a few more questions, answers to which can be read below.
She provided a caption for each photo, in which she explains the project and the methods she used to paint the sign. Enjoy, and stay tuned for our interview with Kimberley.
Agbey Hommey came to Los Angeles from Ghana in 2006 to further his education in art. In our video interview, he talks about enrolling in the sign painting program at Los Angeles Trade Technical College and how he maintains a career as a sign painter and a fine artist.
For the Full Dollar Collection of Contemporary Art, commercial sign painters will collaborate with fine artists in creating hand painted signage on select storefronts along York Blvd. in Highland Park, Los Angeles. Each sign painter will work to appropriate the style and/or work of an artist, using their unique techniques as a commercial artist to produce a piece of public art that will also act to attract attention to the collaborating business.
We interviewed each of the sign painters involved with the project; click on each of the links below to watch the video interviews: