Mr. Sign

Guest Post by Amy Johnson of Puces POP

One of the things I love about Montreal is how clearly old it is. With much of its beautiful architecture still untouched there are clues everywhere as to what happened on these streets a hundred years ago. Like any other major city though it is developing and modernizing everyday and some of those little clues, like hand painted signage, are starting to vanish. Last week one of my favorite old painted signs was taken down as the cafe it belonged to went under a renovation to be more shiny and slick. The sign depicted a 50's era waitress and advertised The 'New' Navarino Cafe. With older business owners tossing these beautiful relics in hopes of appearing more contemporary it's nice to see a large group of young business owners doing just the opposite and embracing the classic look of a hand painted sign. Enter Mr. Sign, Dave Arnold.

I first heard of Dave while working as a Visual Merchandiser at one of the Urban Outfitters in town, he worked as the Display Artist at the other. From what I had heard he was a pretty wild guy with strong carpentry skills which was why I was so surprised to learn that he was the man behind all of these elegant and (dare I say) dainty hand painted windows popping up all over town. After leaving UO Dave set to work to make a name for himself as the go to guy for the beautiful and classic look of a carefully hand done sign, learning as he went.

Working mostly from a traditional palette of colors Dave's signs are in high demand and are adding a little nostalgia to the contemporary business windows that they fill. His upcoming projects include Montreal's very first taco truck ( I can't wait!) and signage for Olive & Gourmando, a very popular bakery in the more touristy Old Port. With more and more boutiques, bars and restaurants wanting a Mr Sign original window it looks like the hand painted tradition will carry on in Montreal after all. As for the beautiful old signs being taken down I suggest you pay close attention to alleyways and garbage piles in Montreal, you never know what piece of advertising history you might come across.

Guest Post by Amy Johnson of Puces POP
Puces Pop Craft Fair
POP Montreal International Music Festival
Celebrating 9 Years of POP Montreal,
September 29th - October 3rd, 2010

Top photo credit: Magalie L'Abbé

Jan Halvarson

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