Recently I was contacted by Colossal Media Advertising to represent them at a NYC Landmarks Commission hearing about the 60 Grand Street Coca-Cola ad space being used for a modern ad site. Here is the letter I had read during the hearing since it was scheduled while I was teaching school.
The New York City
Landmarks Preservation Commission
One Centre Street
New York, NY 10007
December 11, 2007
Good Afternoon Chair Robert B. Tierney
& Representatives of the Landmarks Preservation Commission,
My name is Frank Jump and I’m speaking on behalf of Colossal Media Advertising. I’ve been documenting vintage painted mural ads on NYC brick-faces for over a decade. My websites (Fading Ad Campaign and Fading AIDS Gallery) and the Fading Ad Blog have received critical attention and their unique take on vintage advertising continues to be exemplified as a metaphor of survival since my diagnosis with HIV in 1984. In 1998, the N-Y Historical Society exhibited twenty-four photographs of what I call fading ads (as opposed to ghost ads)- representations of the impermanence of life. These remnants of our advertising past have since become symbols of shifting demographics, urban renewal and development.
Recently on Bill Maher’s HBO Real Time, Gloria Steinhem stated, “Nostalgia is another form of obstructionism.¹” At first, this comment seemed reactionary, but when given some further reflection, its implication within the context of the political banter became transcendent. Progress is thwarted when we hold on to feelings of what we perceive as “the good old days.” Today’s classic fading ads were once yesterday’s eyesores. Back in the heyday of hand-painted outdoor advertising, a tradition we owe to ad pioneers like OJ Gude, much of the public debate was over the unsightliness of these oversized ads. Not much has changed in a century.
Colossal Media produces modern ads that are visually exciting- ads that will become tomorrow’s classic fading ads. With the hand-painted brickface ad medium, Colossal Media is continuing the tradition of the painted ad that has become an indelible symbol of New York’s urban landscape. Tourists come to New York, the mecca for world commerce- and expect to see both the historic and modern- the old classic and the new classic. Sign enthusiasts all over the world, like Sam Roberts UK Brick Ads Blog² marvel over Colossal’s painted mural ads, which have become a tourist attraction. No one expects fading ads to last forever. Just like fashion trends, they come and go. I’d rather see a vintage ad covered by a classic Colossal modern work of art than with one of those crass outdoor illuminated billboards or a dingy nylon fabric hung ad. The pride Colossal Media takes in their work is evident in their finished product.
Frank H. Jump