Rite-Spot, 2015. Oil on canvas, 18 x 36 in.
This painting is part of a series in a project to document old signage in San Francisco's Mission District and beyond. These signs are living documents of a past social and economic life that is disappearing from the city. My practice in painting is parallel to the processes required to create and fabricate the signage. Just as there were many hands involved in the construction of signs, from designer, metal fabricator, painter, neon-glass blower, electrician, etc., my process pays homage through multiple steps of scouting the signs, photographing, transferring drawing to canvas, and then oil painting the portrait of the sign. I use photorealism to provide the effect that a viewer would experience if she were standing directly near the sign. The portraits are personal but also slightly monumental in style because that is how I experience them; looking up from the sidewalk and taking in this material announcement of place and social space. Before cell phones we relied on such monumental signage to not only indicate but to suggest what was possible, what was available to us if we took these signs "at their word." I paint these signs because I trust in them to show me the way.