"There's a whole generation that didn't come up in a craft-slash-maker's tradition," says Eric Woods, founder of the Cherokee Street letterpress and design shop Firecracker Press. "My grandpa knew how to cut wood, my dad knew how to cut wood — then here I am: Couldn't chop a log if I wanted to! But at the same time, I'm very curious about how to make something. If you look at something that's old — an old sign, an old print — you become curious how this thing, and knowledge of how to make it, came about. There's a certain group of people my age and younger that want to know how things are made. People still want something that's real, something that's physical."

Woods' activist bent seems to come from the same roots as Christman's own love for the medium. "Back in the '80s," Christman says, we were all involved in this thing called the Letterhead Movement. There used to be annual sign conventions, and maybe 50 people would show up. Then it grew to thousands of people, with international participants. (And golf tournaments!) Originally, though, it was much like a religion."

Bill Christman

Check out a sneak peek of the exhibition.
Jennifer Silverberg

Location Info


Ars Populi

6010 Kingsbury Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63112

Category: Art Galleries

Region: St. Louis - Skinker/DeBaliviere


Art of the Sign
Opening gala Friday, April 13, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at Ars Populi Gallery, 6010 Kingsbury Avenue.
Admission is $15 (suggested attire: spring 1963).
Call 314-862-2541 or visit www.artofthesign.com.
Regular gallery hours: Thu. 7-10 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 1-5 p.m. and by appointment.

Art of the Sign offers physical evidence that the human capacity for reverence can manifest itself in just about any form imaginable. A great big ice cream cone made of terra cotta, for instance, on loan from Larry Giles of the St. Louis Building Arts Foundation. (The brand, Rolled Gold, subsequently made a profitable switch, to pretzels.) A ticking neon clock, courtesy of David Hutson. A portly pastry chef captured in profile, midstride, beaming down at the chocolate layer cake on a platter that has perched for a lifetime on his outstretched left hand.

« Previous Page