Hand Painted Building Advertisements

I’m sitting in my office watching two guys in a window washer platform finish up an advertisement painting on the side of a building. The picture changes approximately monthly, and the replacement is always done the same way – two guys; window washer cart.

My question is about the process. Am I to assume that these two men are artists who have a really keen eye for perspective, or is there some automated procedure they follow, like a paint by numbers computer based on their current height and location? If the former, I’m really impressed, and if the latter, I’m really curious as to how it works.

There are no visible sketches on the building while they’re working (at least none that I can see from here). It looks like they just cover the previous advertisement with white paint and then go to town.

Anyone have any information on how this is done?

I took a picture of the nearly completed work:


The link works for me, but if it doesn’t for you, this picture should give you a general idea of how the finished products look (ads for Inception):


Are you sure they aren’t just applying a pre-printed image to the wall?

I can clearly see them using paint brushes (hard to make out in the photo, but they’re working on the bottom left of the mural). I suppose it’s possible that they’re placing small pieces of pre-printed material on the wall, and then painting a coating of some sort over it to hold it in place. Doesn’t look like it to me, though.

Seriously, they do ads like that by hand? I assumed it was some sort of giant vinyl thing. Even if it’s a tiny multipart vinyl thing it’s amazing.

If it’s the same as the process I’ve seen locally they have strips they apply something like wall paper, that are preprinted.

Presumably if it was separate printed sheets, vinyl or whatever, they wouldn’t paint over it when the time came for a new one. They’d peel it off.

It could very well be pre-printed sheets. Unfortunately, I always catch them working on it well into the process. I’ve never seen the transformation from full ad to white background. All I can say for sure is that when they apply, the previous ad has been rendered white and they use paint brushes in the process.

I did find this article, but it doesn’t give much in the way of details: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4182/is_19990816/ai_n10131487/

I’d love to believe they actually paint it on, but the speed at which they go up implies that there’s something more at play. If it’s vinyl sheets of the size pictured in my photo, I’m surprised they can fit them all on the platform. Anyway, if I catch them at it again, I’ll try to watch them more closely and for a longer period of time. Getting fired is certainly worth finding out the truth, right?

I actually have the difinitive answer here. I spent about 20 years in the billboard business.

Before we went to almost all vinyl, we had bill posters and painters. Billposters put up the paper strips and created a sign with almost photo quality work. But it didn’t last long .Rain and wind destroyed their work soon after it was posted and had to be replaced.
We used mainly painters in our company. Paint lasts longer and is more adaptable to changes after original artwork is presented.

Here is how it goes.

First the original ad is blocked out with a white background. The painters (Who REALLY are artists) is given a sketch exactly to scale of the size of his work to be produced. He will then break it down to whatever scale he needs to reproduce the art on the wall or sign or whatever.

Then it’s almost a paint by numbers situation. Some will even take the time to draw the whole ad first with charcoal. then do exactly the paint by numbers thing.

Realy simple when you watch it. BUT is VERY dificult without much training. I really kinda hated to see so many very talented people lose thier carreers due to the advent of the vinyl signs you see now.

Kinda hard to explain in just a few words. Hope it helps a bit

I’d put large amounts of money on it being pre-printed sheets, applied with a kind of wall paper paste with brushes. There is simply no financially sensible reason in this day and age to paint it by hand. What’s more, you would see the texture of the wall through the paint, and the skills required are just to rare these days.

They cover the old ad with white (paper or paint, more likely paper) so the old ad doesn’t show through the paper of the new ad.

It really looks painted to me. You can see the texture of the brick through the color, but my camera phone is not good enough to pick up that level of detail.

So it sounds like the two options are vinyl sheets or actual artistry, and from what I’ve seen it looks like artistry. Very impressive to me.

San Vito your assertions are correct in a matter of speaking. However I can tell you from experience that most murals and probably most bill boards you have seen in the past are indeed painted, As was most likely the one that LTL is asking about.

A lot of signs were indeed paper postings but as stated earlier in my post they don’t last long before the paper peels.

Now, a lot of the time they stretch vinyl over the face of the sign. It is re-useable and lasts almost forever. It is also desireable because it is photographic quality. Painters can almost do that but not quite.

There is no way to attach vinly to a flat wall. Therefore I am sure that what LTL is seeing is a painted bulletin. You would be amazed to watch some of these guys work.