Skip to content
CityLab
Design

Meet Mexico City’s Sign Painters

Seemingly replaced by vinyl-printed ads since the early 2000s, artists who can paint advertisements by hand are making a comeback.
Hand-painted publicity on the walls of businesses, schools, and government buildings is one of the defining elements of the Mexican capital’s urban image.
Hand-painted publicity on the walls of businesses, schools, and government buildings is one of the defining elements of the Mexican capital’s urban image.Gustavo Graf

Sign painter Bernardino Antonio Hernandez, 46, is sitting on a bench in a tree-lined avenue in Mexico City’s northern Gustavo A. Madero municipality and sighing.

“My problem is I think that I failed to keep abreast and learn new technologies. When I started this was a good job, but now it is difficult and instead of painting letters I am helping build metal frameworks for advertising,” says Antonio. “I need to learn how to design on computer.”