News / Winnipeg

Reviving ghost signs: U.S. artist to light up Winnipeg history with one-night show

Craig Winslow, an experience designer and 3D artist from Portland, Ore., digitally recreates old building ads and projects them on to the originals.

Craig Winslow, a digital artist from Portland, Ore., is bringing old building signs back to life in Winnipeg's Exchange District July 29.

Photo by Jon Duenas

Craig Winslow, a digital artist from Portland, Ore., is bringing old building signs back to life in Winnipeg's Exchange District July 29.

If you’ve never seen a ghost ad before, just visit Winnipeg’s Exchange District and look around. 

Winnipeg urban archeologist and ghost ad enthusiast Mark Cohen says they’re everywhere.

“A ghost ad, or ghost signage, is an old ad painted on a building that has been worn over time, and there are at least 150 of these signs within a span of 20 blocks in the Exchange,” said Cohen.

Some of them will come back to life once day turns to night on July 29.

Cohen has invited Craig Winslow, an experience designer and 3D artist from Portland, Ore., to come to Winnipeg and participate in a self-guided event called Painted in Light this Saturday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Winslow revives old building ads by digitally recreating them and then projecting them on to the originals. He plans to illuminate five signs on three buildings located at 165 McDermot, 281 McDermot and 185 Bannatyne.

“This is probably the most ambitious of these installations I’ve done,” said Winslow, who has illuminated over 30 ghost signs during his year-long stint as an Adobe Creative Resident.

He said the Exchange has been on his radar because of the concentrated number of ghost signs in the area.

“This is going to be like a one-night-only restoration project,” Winslow said. “Doing something like this gets people to become more curious about their local surroundings.”

Cohen said over 20 volunteers are helping to make Painted in Light happen.

As part of the event, a group of travelling sign painters will be reviving the art right below the “Milady Chocolates” sign on the rooftop of Forth at 171 McDermot. Forth is also where Winslow will discuss his year-long experience working on his ghost sign project. That takes place Thursday, July 27 at 8 p.m.

To learn more about the July 29 event, visit paintedinlight.ca.

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