Reverse glass gilding is said to be the pinnacle of the traditional signpainter’s work. It’s painstaking, delicate work, using fine sheets of 24 carat gold-leaf to create a brilliant, luxurious feel. Here, one of London’s leading proponent for the art, artist Archie Proudfoot, explains why independent businesses in the East End are seeking out his signs and why he’s supporting the East End Trades Guild.
Traditional hand painted signs are enjoying a renaissance in the East End. It’s a beautiful way to express individuality and everyone from café owners to creatives are using bespoke images or luminescent lettering to demonstrate their distinctiveness.
It’s this originality that gives the East End community its appeal and attraction, with visitors and locals shunning the chain stores in favour of traditional or innovative products and services. We all share common values – which is why I was keen, alongside Baddeley Brothers, to support the East End Trades Guild. Independents Day in December will shine a spotlight on lots of different, independent businesses and it’s a chance to celebrate what’s unique about each of them and showcase their personality and story.
Which is what I try to do for each commission I receive. For the architecture and design studio, acme, in Shoreditch, I completed a two-tone window gilding, which used 23-carat gold leaf in both a mirrored and matte finish, enhancing an opulent brand identity.
Named after the Battle of the Standard in 1138, the Standard Pub on Streatham High Street celebrates England’s fighting past in contemporary way. Using traditional techniques, I painted large scale lettering in bold red typography along its 12-metre-long fascia, with detailed crests at each end, creating an eye catching bespoke façade.
As part of a design house for London Design Fair 2016, the interior design studio 2LG asked me to gild multiple panels of the front door, playing with the traditional positioning of the numerals in the fanlight, as well as incorporating geometric shapes that recurred in the wall paper in the interior of the house.
The East End is a creative community with an appetite for uniqueness and I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with companies like Baddeley Brothers to promote the Guild’s work. And when London’s spotlight turns to the East End on Independents Day, all that glitters really might be gold.