A History of CLASSIC Artist Oils™
“They were a rugged lot in the tradition of cowboys, mariners and arctic explorers. They painted signs on walls, great and small, and they worked like dogs. So they were called walldogs.” – From Ghost Signs, by Wm. Stage
Everyone has seen them. After all, that was the point. They are found across America and in Canada. Ghost signs, faded ads. The sign painters, who were affectionately known in the advertising industry as “wall dogs,” because they were virtually chained to the wall by their equipment until the job was finished, arrived in town unheralded. After unloading ladders and scaffolds and mixing their colors, they would, in a few short hours, transform drab, burnt-umber brick walls into 40-foot loaves of sliced bread, sweating bottles of soft drink or shoelace-selling cherubim. Many ghost signs still available for public view are from the 1890s to 1930s but by the second half of the 20th century, with the advent of digital printing, the industry practice had all but disappeared and we are left with fading remnants offering a glimpse into the past and the values that supported this hardworking culture …a photographic tribute to unexpected survival.
CLASSIC Artist Oils™ was once very much a part of this golden era for pictorial artists and continues to work with some of those self styled “dinosaurs” that have been using our paint for close to 50 years now. Although many faded from the scene entirely, many found work on the fantastic murals found in Casinos, malls and hotels and continue to thrive. We even find ourselves “returning to our roots” as the rich tradition of hand painted signs is being revived in the New York City area and is now spreading across the US.
Many that have used our paint for years have not yet heard our story – so we decided to finally share our rich history with its roots in the hand painted billboard age. We have been providing quality paint to professional artists for over half a century, our formulas – with their rich creamy texture and superior quality sprang from the need of those tireless and time honored painters who knew quality, demanded it and came to expect it from those paints we now manufacture for the studio artist as CLASSIC Artist Oils™. We go well beyond the non-technical producer of artist oils to provide the highest quality in economical sizes and affordable prices.