Winnipeg's ghost signs will get a temporary facelift next weekend thanks to an American artist who uses Photoshop and projectors to "reanimate" historical signs.
Craig Winslow uses Adobe software to create light projections that give new life to so-called "ghost signs" (historical, fading signs on old buildings).
"The projections are more than just projecting the old sign on the wall. They're actually brought to life through [Adobe] After Effects and a program called Mad Mapper … We're also incorporating the actual products that are used so we have 360 views of them rotating. The letters on the sign flash like marquee signs," said Matt Cohen, who runs Ghostsigns.ca and asked Winslow to come to Winnipeg. "It's not just a straight projection on a side of a building."
Winslow's light projections have appeared all over the United States and the United Kingdom, but Winnipeg's project will be his largest and most ambitious.
"He was really drawn to the fact that we sort of have one of the largest concentrations of ghost signs in North America, and that he was able to bring to bring multiple signs back to life in a block span versus having to go 10 to 20 minutes away for sign to sign," Cohen said, adding the Exchange District has special protections for the signs.
Winslow will tackle five ghost signs at three spots in the Exchange District.
Organizers hope to draw thousands
Cohen contacted Winslow almost immediately after he began his project Painted in Light, and after rallying support from Travel Manitoba and a number of local businesses and volunteers, the artist will is finally be able to make the trip to Winnipeg.
"This project is kind of merging my archival research with projection mapping as a new way of exploring ghost signs that's non-invasive. You can sort of bring back the sign to life even if it's for a short amount of time," Cohen said.
The signs will go up July 29, just as the Winnipeg Fringe Festival ends and the Canada Summer Games begin. Thousands of people are expected to be in the city, and Cohen hopes they'll take the time to check out the installations.
"It's sort of a self-guided tour. You can go and explore on your own terms," Cohen said.
The free event will be held from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.