chat bubbles representing people discussing mural and sign painting matters

Looking For Mural & Sign Painting Info? We’ve Got You Covered

As we all know, mural and sign making is a small world, one that’s been made even smaller through the internet. Now, muralist and sign painters can find each other online in various forums and websites, and that’s where they can learn new tricks, show off their favourite pieces, discuss the business, and even pick up work. But finding these hallowed places online can be a challenge. So where are the best sites for getting the info and community you need? Well, we have a few that we absolutely adore, and we’ll share them with you right here, right now.

1. SignCraft Magazine

SignCraft is an amazing magazine, that’s the first thing you need to know. The magazine has been an amazing resource for thousands of sign painters around the world, sharing tips on not only how to do the work, but how to run the business, an aspect of sign painting many of us don’t necessarily know everything about. But don’t take our word for it, take theirs, straight from their website:

“Since 1980, SignCraft has delivered the straightforward, hard-to-find information that sign people need, not only to survive, but to succeed in this competitive, changing industry. Sign makers around the world count on SignCraft to make their work easier and more profitable.“

On their community boards, you’ll find a whole bunch of people who know the sign painting business, and are more than excited to share their knowledge and experience. And since it’s on a website for an actual magazine, the information is debated and discussed by people with the right credentials to back up what they’re saying. That’s a great thing to have, no matter what stage of the game you’re at.

2. Creative Signmakers of America

A heavily moderated and closely watched forum website, the Creative Signmakers of America take their chosen profession very seriously, and expect the people using their site to do so as well. This website is members only, so you will need to sign up, but once you have, we doubt you’ll regret it. Each forum is packed with great info by people who really love their job, and are very passionate about keeping the craft alive and well respected. If you want serious advice, this site is the right one for you.

3. Signs 101

Finally we have Signs 101, the Reddit of sign websites, a place where you can find topics on just about anything related to signs, and people at all stages of sign making. This site is one that’s equal parts informative, funny, and perhaps ill-informed, so it’s best to be left until you have a grasp of what you’re doing. That being said, it’s an invaluable resource for people who want something a little off-kilter, or for anyone who wants some ideas on how to distinguish themselves from the competition.

There’s plenty of places where you can go online to connect with other sign painters, but we recommend you start with these three. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, but we’re confident you’ll get some much-needed info at each one.

hula sitting on surfboard infront of watery mural

Hula Bio

Graffiti has a long history of being done in precarious places. In New York, street artists have climbed higher and higher to avoid clean up crews, often climbing twenty stories and painting with ropes and harnesses to covey their message to the world. In parts of Nevada, billboard vandals climb fences and scale tall poles to spread their messages of anti-consumerism. But in Hawaii, one artist is getting his street art out to the world in a precarious place, and it all looks amazing.

exterior mural painting above waterline by artist hula

But what Sean Yoro, aka Hula, does can hardly be called street art. Probably a more appropriate term would be “waterway art.” Instead of climbing or traversing or hopping, Hula paddles out on his surfboard, scouting locations that are visible to the casual passerby but are difficult to approach. And, with his board fully loaded with paints and brushes, he sets about giving the sea-line of Hawaii something beautiful.

Hula is a master of the female form and almost every single one of his surfboard murals features a bathing woman. Each one is completely unique, a bust of a woman enjoying the warm ocean, and they are all singularly beautiful. Hula’s attention to detail to a point of near-photorealism gives the murals a certain depth and allure. He also frequently incorporates small symbols on the women’s bodies, a callback to his Hawaiian roots.

artwork by hula

Hula is now based in New York and turning much of his attention to indoor art, art that requires just as many paints and brushes, but a lot less paddles and surfboards. His indoor work avoids the usual canvas of, well, actual canvas, and instead uses unusual surfaces as a base. It only seems appropriate that a man who made his name painting the sides of docks would not be comfortable painting on normal surfaces. In some cases, Hula uses wood for his paintings, allowing his figures to flow over the natural ebb and flow of the rings. In others, he uses surfboards for cool and unique designs, a way he originally made money when he career was just launching.

Hula’s art is beautiful, focused, and turns up in the most unusual of locations. It speaks to a few histories: Hawaii’s rich cultural heritage, Hula’s own personal history as a surfer and painter, and to street art’s ongoing relationship with the spaces they choose to paint and alter with their artistic designs. In the case of Hula, he uses all three to make docks and other water spaces striking and, well, quite a bit sexier. Worse things have happened than having a beautiful woman swimming in the ocean in Hawaii. And all it took to get there was a surfboard.

indecline's largest graffiti piece in the world

Indecline Renders The World’s Largest Illegal Graffiti

In Nevada, a mannequin in a business suit hangs from the side of a billboard in a classic noose. The billboard reads “Dying for Work” in all-caps. Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the country.

In Utah, a billboard for the National Alliance, a white nationalist, anti-semitic, and white separatist political organization, was vandalized. The original message, “Securing the Future for European Americans,” now reads “for Racist Americans.

Indecline is not the movie production studio that made national news in the early 2000s for its pitted fights between homeless people. Now, it is a loose collective of guerrilla street artists who are messing up billboards across America.

Not much is known about Indecline in terms of their scope, membership, or history. In fact, we don’t even really know that the people who identify themselves as Indecline are in any way related to the video producers of the early 2000s. All we know is they’re, for the most part, white, angry, and well-funded.

That last piece of information comes as a result of their latest stunt: what they are calling “the world’s largest illegal piece of graffiti.” The mural covers an entire landing strip on an abandoned California airbase. It reads “This land was our land” and it cost Indecline, according to an anonymous interview, cost $20,000. The phrase comes from a Woody Guthrie song often sung in American schools and events.

“Most people don’t know the lyrics to it—and we all grow up in America singing the modified version,” the anonymous interviewer said over at Vice, “So there’s a kind of a message behind that, so we wanted to tie that in to the message that we were all given this earth and we’ve let people take it from us.”

The piece took six days and eight people to complete, often working up to 20 hours a day. The closest supply store was a Home Dept located about 90 minutes away, so most of the required materials were taken out in their RV that housed everyone. When they were about 90%, they caught the attention of the Air Force, who circled overhead but ultimately decided not to act. Everyone got away without consequence. Although, there is now a much larger lock on the gate that Indecline broke to get to the landing strip.

Indecline, in many ways, represents the dark side of graffiti and street art, the part that conservatives and opponents use to decry the decay of contemporary culture and the need to police and prosecute such vandals. But they also represent something that is so amazing about street art: its public access, its visibility, its political messages, and its refusal to participate in the dominant systems that are used to control, take up space, and spread messages of consumption. And whether or not you agree with their political commentaries, they are getting heard and seen, and that’s an important aspect of any street art.