A Toast to the Host of a Double-Ghost in Glassport

ghost sign of hand with extended index finger and shirt cuff painted on brick wall, Glassport, PA

These don’t come along every day. Oh sure, The Orbit has covered its share of ghost signs–we see them all over the place. But this long brick wall along the side of a retail space facing a vacant lot in Glassport is something special.

First, it’s got this absolutely terrific disembodied left hand. Its index finger is fully pointing that way. The fingernails are in need of a trim, but still well-groomed–this is not the hand of a working (wo)man. The pointer’s shirt cuffs are linked under the arm of a what must be one spectacular red suit jacket–this blogger imagines it’s crushed velvet (but he would). The painting has to be six or seven feet wide.

That’s great, but what makes this ghost sign really unique among its faded brethren is the weird multi-layered levels of advertising that have survived and outlasted their respective backgrounds. The effect is one that makes the wall look like a giant test sheet for a print run, or of a very Radar magazine/Photoshop-era layer-through-layer effect, because we can.

layers of ghost signs on brick wall, Glassport, PA

Mother’s Bread 100% Pure / Ward’s Bread

Back then–whenever then was–the sign painters couldn’t (or wouldn’t) have executed anything like this on purpose. But with the hindsight of a couple dozen decades of modern art and graphic design, we can’t help but think how incredibly “of today” these just happened to end up looking.

The fantastic way the layered letters blur and melt into one another, the ghost-within-ghost mutations of form, the collision of type faces, the barely readable text–it all looks like a grand version of something you’d see silk-screened and framed on an Unblurred Friday night. Hell, you could turn these into t-shirts and sell them for twenty bucks to the indie craft crowd–nobody would bat an eye.

And thus, Little Orbit Kitty Fashion Productions was born.

layers of ghost signs on brick wall, Glassport, PA

The Real Kind! / Made for Practical People!

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