Thursday, June 7, 2012

Encouraging Signs

Since Opening Day, when the whimsical images of the Triumphant Bird (and his alter ego, Angry Bird) first appeared around the ballpark as colorful murals, I've been curious about their origins.

On close inspection, you can see they are hand painted and carefully worked into the architectural features around them.  They not only add a splash of color to the ballpark, but harken to the day when painted signs on building walls were part of the Baltimore urban fiber. 

You can still see vestiges of this bygone era in the downtown retail district, on buildings that have been repurposed. 

(My personal favorite is "Baltimore Bargain House" on the side of the Nancy Grasmick Building.)

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet the artist who gives our complex, which celebrates the traditional with the trendy, laboring outside our door.

MICA-trained Robert Merrell, who has painted maritime murals around Baltimore for many years, is carefully applying fine lines to one of the warehouse doors. 

(If you think painting on brick is a challenge, you should try taming the wiggles on corrugated steel.)

It's amazing to think this is all copied and sketched without the use of computer graphics.  It's a tedious process, but that is what gives it the traditional look we value here.

However, we also rely upon high tech devices to help us communicate with visitors in the most efficient way, which is why MSA, the O's, and the Ravens invested in a high definition video board to help direct traffic and deliver important messages at a moment's notice.

But alas, electronics being what they are, sometimes they go on the fritz.  (Such capriciousness is not a problem with Mr. Merrell's efforts.)

This may look like a major production, but actually just one little antenna needed replacing. 

Within a few minutes, not only had the weather brightened, but our new sign was flashing a message we wanted everyone to see.

The Sailabration is coming next week, bringing tall ships from around the world, a flotilla of US Navy vessels, and the Blue Angels, who will soar overhead on June 16-17.

Camden Yards is the place to park for all the activities downtown, Fort McHenry, and Locust Point.  Shuttle service will be provided, from June 15th through June 18th.  All the information you'll need is there on the sign, one message after the next.

So yes, technology has its advantages.  But I love the old handpainted artistry that Mr. Merrell brings.  Come by and see.

No comments:

Post a Comment