Sign o’ the times

elote en vasoThis guy’s from the elote en vaso stand at Fiesta Mart South. I’ve never caught it when it’s open. Mr. corn-on-the-cob who’s decorating the corn-off-the-cob outfit has hair or a tassel that’s applied black electrical tape, I think.

Austin will never be the big, important city that it seems to have aspirations to be until it’s open through the night and until there is the fine-arts presence that we’re far from even close to enjoying. But we’re right up there when it comes to talent as represented by hand-created commercial, religious, and merely ornamental folk art. There are still people trained in classic lettering and sign-painting. Magnetic signs haven’t taken over everywhere. Handsome examples of ornamental welding work and hand lettering and hand pin-striping are to be seen on some dump-trucks and other commercial vehicles.

I try to keep one of my toy pocket cameras with me so that these ephemera that enliven our streetscapes can be recorded. Favorite examples can and do disappear overnight. Some just plain vanish when a building is demolished or a cart or trailer is moved; others are painted over.

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