This caught my interest, "photo-taking, model-making obsessives are documenting the state’s vintage signs before they vanish"

This caught my interest this morning,
Meet California’s Nerds of Neon
These photo-taking, model-making obsessives are documenting the state’s vintage signs before they vanish.

by Jody Amable October 4, 2019

... And Raley isn’t interested in doing what everyone else is doing.

His workshop—a spare room in his tan, two-story Fresno home that’s painted yellow and filled with thrift-store finds—attests to this fact. Standing atop a table are several unique acrylic models of commercial signs, most less than 18 inches tall, that you won’t find in Vegas gift shops—signs advertising the Safari Inn, Western Appliance, the Sun N’ Sand Motel, and more.

Raley, an affable, soft-spoken 48-year-old who favors a T-shirt and jeans, has been building these miniature signs for the past two years. He belongs to a loose fraternity of Californians who are obsessed with vintage signage. Sometimes referred to online as #signhunters or #signspotters, these sign geeks congregate around photo-sharing sites like Instagram (and in the earlier days of the Internet, Flickr) and bond over their love of the big, bold, over-the-top signs of the mid-20th century—the glory days of roadside advertising.

But that was then. These days there aren’t many neon beacons beckoning to drivers on California thoroughfares. As the state’s population swells, and its once-funky places gentrify, a small community of signhunters (the sign geeks who visit vintage placards in person) are racing to document the signs they love—taking and sharing photos, rendering skillful sketches, making miniature scale models—before they get knocked down to make way for condos and Walmarts.


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