You have probably seen them before and maybe even wondered about how they got there. The faded, sometimes barely visible signs that are found on old barns and buildings from a distant era, a centerpiece of past farming communities or markings on the urban landscape. Often referred to as “ghost signs”, they promoted tobacco, milk, oats and companies whose histories are intertwined with that of American history. Created by “wall dogs” that often worked for major sign companies, they would travel across America, part craftsman part gypsy.
Angie’s List, Inc. is a company that provides customer-review services in more than 200 markets. Recognized by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce in 2007 and 2008 as one of the Best Places to Work, it is often cited as having a laid-back work environment with open communication at all levels of the company. Their corporate headquarters are located on the near-Eastside of Indianapolis in an old firehouse on East Washington Street just East of Interstate 65. The collection of older buildings that make-up the Angie’s List campus have, through cooperation and investment from the company and city of Indianapolis, seen some much needed improvements.
Considerate of the history of the area and in alignment with that historical vision, Angie’s List approached Blice Edwards to recreate a sign that was on one of their campus buildings. Blice Edwards was established in1993 by artists Chris Blice and Jon Edwards and has since developed into one of Indianapolis’ more recognized and premier decorative / mural artists. They are often chosen for their exceptional reputation and ability to tie key elements of the project to their clients needs, known for exceeding expectations not just meeting them. They have a well-developed process that includes collaboration with the client, listening to what their “vision” is and developing that into cohesive installation.
That is exactly what it took for the Angie’s List project. The Angie’s List team met with Blice Edwards in the Spring of 2010 and they collectively examined the ghost images. In the largest image, they could make out the predominant “Q”. The group debated on whether this was the Q in Quaker Oats or Q in Quaker State Motor Oil, ultimately deciding on Quaker Oats as it aligned better with the nostalgic look and feel they wanted to promote in the area. After researching historical Quaker Oats signs, they developed the mural and mapped out the implementation, which involved a dry brush technique to give a worn look. After seeing the transformation of the Quaker Oats mural and how well it fit into the nostalgic look of the building, the Angie’s List team decided to expand the project. Through more collaboration, examination and a little bit of serendipitous discovery the team laid out plans for the other murals. The faded images also provided the “Stocker Drugs” mural. Historically, the building had also housed a bee keeping supply store and a candy company and both of these were incorporated into the final mural. The last piece came about when Angie’s List CFO Bill Osterle was looking around in the building’s basement. He came across an old coffee can with the original label from “FFF, The Fishback Company”, which had been an Indianapolis coffee company. These would provide the final touches to the mural that now adorns the Angie’s List building and creates a nostalgic centerpiece for the Angie’s List team build on.Share post