THE STORY OF THE VANISHING ROADSIDE PAINTINGS
A celebration of iconic roadside Americana paying tribute to glowing neon colors, quirky signage, and powerful designs elements. These treasures that flourished for decades are now fading further and further into our past.
My interest in the visual iconography now known as “mid-century modern” began in Los Angeles where I studied at Art Center College of Design. L.A. has always been home to kitschy signs and buildings from the 50’s, 60’s, and early 70’s. These playful, humorous, often animated signs contained strong graphic elements like giant arrows, sputniks and tributes to our space age culture, and depictions of people at work. Sadly, many of these treasures have been demolished and replaced by box stores, strip malls, and generic signage with little to no personality. As a way of celebrating and preserving these unique, whimsical and highly personal signs and scenes, I created vanishingroadside.com to share the images that have compelled me the most.
I started painting these treasures in the 1980’s when I had the opportunity to travel frequently to south Florida. The buildings, the signage which expressed such a sense of humor, the colors, and the sensibilities overtook me. When I returned I created a series of motel watercolors which were exhibited in a Soho Gallery.
I was hooked for life! Whenever and wherever I traveled, I photographed my favorite signs and scenes and when I got home, I worked them up in the studio as oils on canvas.
I’m also fascinated by the stories about the people who have created and run these businesses. When did they start? How did they survive this long? Or sadly sometimes (more often) how did they fail? These are the tales that define our unique American roadside culture. I’ve come to realize that my passion for preserving these treasures from the past is truly my artistic legacy.
These paintings are part of an ever-evolving body of work. I hope you enjoy them.