The name, The Pre-Vinylite Society, is inspired by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of young English artists in the 19th century who were tired of the contemporary trend in art that venerated and imitated Raphael’s classical model. They held that the kind of rote, mechanistic replication that permeated the paintings of their day corrupted art and made it devoid of emotion and humanity. In a similar vein of rebellion, The Pre-Vinylite Society proposes to subvert the recent convention of lifeless vinyl signage as a digression from the time-honored institution and rich history of hand-painted signs.
The craft of sign painting has survived through the tradition of mastery and apprenticeship and The Pre-Vinylite Society Sign Art Show highlights the skills and techniques that have been passed down through the ages. However, though The Pre-Vinylite Society’s signs serve to represent the classic signage of yesteryear, they are nevertheless very much products of the present day. While the signs in this show reflect many traditional techniques of sign painting, such as letter design, gold leaf, and glue chipping, they also push the boundaries of sign making as a solely mercantile art and assert the art of sign painting as a gallery-worthy endeavor. The Pre-Vinylite artists challenge the idea of sign painting as purely commercial by combining fine art mediums such as oil painting and sculpture into their works and employing ironic materials for their surfaces such as polyurethane and vinyl records.