August 10, 2011 at 10:10 AM

How to Save the World One Sign at a Time

"Now I have spent lots of my 'valuable' time semi-obsessing about street signs..."

By Thor Sigstedt

Thor’s Hammer

Thor Sigstedt is an artist in wood, words, cameras, bronze, cast iron, glass, notes and steel; a homesteader from Spirit Valley specializing in forest diversity and “land ethics” and a dabbler in practical and non-practical non-zero new paradigm complexity in the multiverse.

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Now I have spent lots of my “valuable” time semi-obsessing about street signs, of all things.  Well, darn it, I just think that the backs of signs shouldn’t be so darned ugly….and blank looking…and prominent after you realize what is going on, aesthetically.  I can’t spend the rest of my life mentally photo shopping out that grey part of the picture and frame that should be up against a wall and not turned around half the time, as if that were some art-form (which I guess it is).

So I have thought about armies of artists tastefully painting them with cool shapes and motifs that would be, at least, better than what they are.  That has some potential, but is fraught with problems of management and who decided what to put there and, in my mind, could be extraordinarily cool; picture a motif or color scheme that reflects the surroundings or adds to it in some amazing way, be it abstract or more realistic or the equivalent of photo shopping and dubbing, etc. 

I keep going back to my favorite sign, which is on the Old Las Vegas Highway because a now-large cottonwood has draped its branches around the back of the sign so that it cannot be very well seen from the opposite side. The front of the sign is framed and in a background of wonderful leaves and branches and twigs. I had thought of growing vines on the signs and having people trim them for visibility, which is a cool idea. I had thought of growing trees on the back side (as long as they could bend over or break easily if a car hit them). Then I thought that, actually, the “Do Not Pass” sign that I like so much is probably one among the best ideas; plant a tree in a location far enough away from the sign to be “out of the way” if need be (many signs in town don’t need the offset, as there are many trees nearby that would poses a threat but don’t) and let its branches do the same thing that my sign scenario is doing already. 

So there you have it; a marriage of tree planting, shade creating, green scenario that we could all get behind (ha ha) and have fun with and create jobs with.  Next obsession; the electric wires that my camera detests so much as I try to get “that shot”…….every time.  Next obsession; the sign posts with all those ugly holes in them. 

Next obsession…….landscaping stones.

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