Artist brings “ghost” promoting again to life in Carbondale | Illinois

CARBONDALE, Illinois (AP) – Where some saw a fading wall in need of a coat of paint, Gail and Linda White saw potential in the building on Washington and Jackson Streets in Carbondale, Illinois.

They saw it as an opportunity to capture history and an opportunity for people to reminisce.

Town Square Market is now a tenant there, but many businesses have come and gone over the years, such as Seibert’s drugstore.

And as many people in the community remember the drug store for its inventory, appearance, and service, they probably also remember the advertisements on the side of the building – promotions for Coca-Cola, tobacco products, and even Kodak films.

To preserve some of those memories, the Whites are working with local artist and sign painter Christine DeShazo to highlight several of the former advertisements in a collage mural on the building that the Whites bought in 1989.

“When we got the building, there were fragments of the various signs that had been painted on the east side of the building along Washington Street. We always wanted to make an interpretation or collage of the different signs that were painted there at different times in the building’s history, ”explains Gail White.

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“It’s all part of the history of this building because it was the location of Seibert’s drugstore in the early 20th century when the area was the center of commercial activity in Carbondale,” said White.

From the start, White said the plan was not to recreate just one of the ads that had appeared over the decades, but rather to fuse many into a single mural. He said he didn’t want a restoration, he wanted an old-fashioned re-creation.

Deshazo, owner of Spectrum Graphics in Murphysboro, said she had wanted to work on the wall for years – even before she met the whites. She called the project a “dream job” for her, but it required a lot of preparation and research.

“It had so many layers of paint over it and such a large area of ​​effect, but you couldn’t read anything,” she said. “Every layer of paint and primer hid what was underneath.”

White said that while traces and “ghosts” of previous signs, displays, and lettering remained, none was complete. They worked with DeShazo as some kind of amateur archaeologist, photographing the wall in different lighting conditions, sifting through old photos and stories to piece together some of what the wall had seen over the years.

They discovered advertisements for companies based in the building and for products available from Siebert – from flour and cigars to film and Coca-Cola. DeShazo’s design of the new mural includes many of these advertisements, often in the places on the wall where they originally were.

“Everything that is on the wall is as close as possible to its original position,” she explained. “As with the 1937 Coca-Cola ad, I only found part of the first C and a line probably no more than 1/64 of an inch that had been on the wall for years. It was like doing archaeological work on the surface of a wall instead of digging into the ground. It was a project to recognize all layers. “

The wall collage that DeShazo plans to finish this summer takes logos and signage that would have covered most or all of the wall, 4.50 m high and about 25 m wide, and brings them as a smaller part of one larger displays.

She says when she’s done she’ll have put almost 150 hours into the collage. She called it one of the most rewarding projects she’s ever done.

“It was so much fun meeting the residents of the community and seeing what they said,” she said. “So many neighbors came by while I was working and told me how they remembered this or that and that would lead to stories. It was a pleasure.”

Source: The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan,

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