Friday, May 22, 2009

Thematic Photographic - Signs

For the next week, Carmi's Thematic Photographic will be exploring the theme of SIGNS:

I love the signs you find on Mexican and Central American businesses in Los Angeles. They are particularly wonderful because so many of them are hand-painted - the sign-writer's art is still prized in this vibrant immigrant community.

They are also amazingly creative, with depictions of food treats and dishes, and elaborate lettering and decorations.

One aspect of these signs that strikes me is the cartoon-like depictions of the raw materials of the food being served - that is, the animals themselves - enabling their own demise and service to humankind. It's the Charlie Tuna Suicide phenomenon - I've always wondered why Charlie's goal was to be killed and eaten by humans.

Here, happy pigs willingly stew themselves for our carnitas, while their heartless brothers cheer on the slaughter while serving tortas.

This sign shows the trauma as death comes to a chicken - you can see the fear and bewilderment as the poor creature accepts its fate. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has nothing on this profound depiction of life-and-death drama.

On the side of this taco truck a thrilling chase scene unfolds, as the dashing taco hero desperately attempts to escape his doom, only to be foiled by law enforcement.

There's no end to the assortment of signs you see if you visit East Los Angeles and other Latino communities in this city. It's wonderful to see the spark of human creativity expressed so vividly.


Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...


Carmi said...

I'm with you: these are works of art. I'm saddened that much of today's signage lacks anything approaching this kind of imagination. The focus is on uniform perfection, which of course dilutes any humanity out of the equation.

I'm glad you were able to tell a much different and more vibrant story. These rock.

Life with Kaishon said...

These signs are beautiful! I would LOVE to visit Los Angeles some day. I think there would be so many amazing things to photograph! And these hand painted signs would be one of them! I hope your Memorial Day weekend is very special!

Monica said...

Having lived in Mexico, I never gave it much consideration about their colorful signs with the animals. I loved your entry and I enjoyed the beautiful signs. :-)

Woman in a Window said...

Yes, down with uniformity and while we're at it, let's kill the cows, pigs and chickens and eat 'em! It's all good to me.

Jason, as himself said...

You've got such a good eye.

I especially love the bare chicken looking up between its legs wondering what happened.

cactus petunia said...

Those are great examples!

kcinnova said...

Those pigs!! All of the signs have incredible artwork, but those pigs!! I've got a big grin on my face as I remember my oldest boys' early years. They'd ask, while eating dinner,
"What is this?" and we'd answer
"Beef" (or ham/pork or whatever).
"No, no - what kind of animal?" they would want to know, so we'd reply
"Cow" (or pig or whatever)... at which point they would smile and break out into a chorus of "MOOOoooo" (or snorting & oinking, or clucking, or whatever...)

180|360 said...

I love these! Cool idea.

Sweetly said...

Wow! I like these a lot! so colorful!! ^_^