Mr. Bill(board)

 
While we are worrying about the specter of print’s demise, the death of hand-painted billboards and wall paintings is happening right now. Fortunately, the brewers of Stella Artois beer have funded an excellent short documentary about the arts and crafts persons who climb high to make monumental images. “Up There,” directed by Malcolm Murray, is based on an idea by the ad agency Mother New York and produced by Mekanism with music by The Album Leaf. Shot over two months, the film tells the stories of the New York painters who are struggling to keep this method alive.
 
“Up There,” which you can see right here, was filmed high above the streets of NYC and chronicles the painting of a five-story Stella Artois billboard known as “The Ritual Project” in NYC’s SoHo Cast Iron Historic District. The project featured the painters from Sky High Murals. With many billboard companies turning to digital printing,  this is a welcome chronicle of the daredevils who make these spectaculars. 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 


About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes a weekly column for The Atlantic online and is the "Visuals" Columnist for the New York Times Book Review. He is also the author of over 160 books on design and visual culture. And he is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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  1. Hhhmm. I was just in Chicago for the FUSE conference and noticed the giant billboards on the sides of their lovely brick buildings. They caught my interest, but they are… advertisements. I have a fascination with street art and graffiti and I noticed that the River North area of Chicago is graffiti free. Except for one doorway that I found and photographed. It was actually quite beautiful and graphic for spray painted letters. What I love about Los Angeles is the giant art murals that I randomly come upon. Also the art walk in San Diego with everything from giant wall murals by Rafael Lopez to painted converter boxes, meant to draw attention and keep the drug dealers away from those spots. We do have the ability to bring art to the streets. Personally, I’d like to see more of that, versus billboards, but I do have great respect for people that keep the old traditional ways alive. Interesting commentary Steven.

  2. Hhhmm. I was just in Chicago for the FUSE conference and noticed the giant billboards on the sides of their lovely brick buildings. They caught my interest, but they are… advertisements. I have a fascination with street art and graffiti and I noticed that the River North area of Chicago is graffiti free. Except for one doorway that I found and photographed. It was actually quite beautiful and graphic for spray painted letters. What I love about Los Angeles is the giant art murals that I randomly come upon. Also the art walk in San Diego with everything from giant wall murals by Rafael Lopez to painted converter boxes, meant to draw attention and keep the drug dealers away from those spots. We do have the ability to bring art to the streets. Personally, I’d like to see more of that, versus billboards, but I do have great respect for people that keep the old traditional ways alive. Interesting commentary Steven.

  3. Hhhmm. I was just in Chicago for the FUSE conference and noticed the giant billboards on the sides of their lovely brick buildings. They caught my interest, but they are… advertisements. I have a fascination with street art and graffiti and I noticed that the River North area of Chicago is graffiti free. Except for one doorway that I found and photographed. It was actually quite beautiful and graphic for spray painted letters. What I love about Los Angeles is the giant art murals that I randomly come upon. Also the art walk in San Diego with everything from giant wall murals by Rafael Lopez to painted converter boxes, meant to draw attention and keep the drug dealers away from those spots. We do have the ability to bring art to the streets. Personally, I’d like to see more of that, versus billboards, but I do have great respect for people that keep the old traditional ways alive. Interesting commentary Steven.