|A street sign-board painter's self-portrait|
If you have grown up in India, I am sure you have marveled at the beautiful (not to mention colorful) handpainted signboards over the years. It seems to be a dying practice now with all those Flexboards and stuff giving advertisers cheaper (read less eco-friendly options) to publicize their businesses. The result ----> these painters who are proud and consider each of their work as a "labor of love" are rapidly going out of business!
A collaborative initiative called Hand Painted Type has been launched by Hanif Kureshi, and it is dedicated to preserving the unique typeface that these painters use. And since each painter has his (yes, I am yet to come across a female hand type street painter, but I would love to know they exist!) own distinct type style, the project aims to preserve these variants and feature as many artists as possible on their site http://www.handpaintedtype.com/
How is it collaborative?
|Painter Bindra's unique lower-case typeface|
Anyone can participate. You need to look out for roadside hand-painted signs and stuff, and check if the artist has left his signature and phone number (see image below). Then contact the artist, commission him to do a banner with his distinct type-face (yes you will have to bear the charges, around INR 500) and send this banner to Hanif (contact details are on the site).
|Old-Delhi sign board painter Kafeel's signature|
This is what Hanif says on the site, "...I’ve always wanted to become a street painter. I used to work with street painters during my vacations in school. My dad asked to me to join the Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda to become one and later I learned about graphic design and typography. Today I work with Wieden+Kennedy New Delhi which needless to say is a completely different world from that of a street painter. I now know both these worlds intimately and I felt that I should do something to link them before painters disappear from streets. I also thought it important to preserve this art form for future generations to understand and hopefully, appreciate."
|A hand-painted signboard|
There's a lot more information about this project on the website, and I urge you all to collaborate. Check out their FB page here.
All images courtesy handpaintedtype.com