Lost Art – Hand Painted Shop Signs

Lost Art- Hand Painted Shop Signs

Imagine in the 60s until perhaps early 90s when opened up a shop/company in Vietnam or Cambodia and wanted to make signs for the shop where did people turn to?

Of course, the printing tech was then too far away, even what we considered now basic one as hiflex printing and fancy signs with led lights and laser cut as we see today were by then not even in the imagination.

All had to be made by hands and through the hands of local painters, artists shop signs were created and they could be considered as the very early/primitive form of modern advertising today. The image and message were often direct to the point and the artist interpreted nature of business though his lens of imagination or exposure and with common senses. A shop selling pigs must have pig(s) in the sign and with some plain words to explain what it is all about, e.g. pigs for sales, male pigs for rent and mating service, often of direct and easy to understand. This structure applied for all the businesses or shop types and the artists play mostly with the image to draw, basic colors from oil paints which used to paint doors, text fonts, and the base materials often wooden panels or metal (tin) boards of various sizes.

With the development of printing and signage tech we can have today all what we can imagine with sharp products and images, wide range of colors and endless font types. However the hand painted one always has their own values with the reflection of the drawer’s view and understanding, sometimes with fun and down to earth translation and most importantly direct to the point and need not to imagine.

Not easy now to find such a service or painters who are still doing this job and make good living. All replaced by the hitech but here and there we can still find shops with signs made decades ago and still in good conditions.

What seen below are the ones we found on a trip to Nga Nam floating market in Soc Trang, we spotted the signs in a local restaurant and traced the address of the painter name Anh Minh Artist of the Gold Star Studio.

Cosmetic shop

Tailor shop specialized in Vietnamese and Western clothes

Hair Saloon with pride make up service

Watch shop - fix all types of watches

Artist's dream girl

Behind the velvet curtain - named by the Artirst

and finally here is the artist who created all the signs and paintings.

In front of Gold Star Studio. Anh Minh Artist of Nga Nam Market on the left