Filmmaker Danny Cooke just uploaded this short doc two days ago, but it’s such a fascinating piece, I can’t stop watching. Cooke profiles David A. Smith, a traditional sign-writer and designer who specializes in ornamental hand-crafted reverse glass signs and decorative silvered and gilded mirrors.
In this piece, Smith has been commissioned by Sony Music/ Columbia Records to create the cover of John Mayer’s 2012 album Born & Raised. The footage shows Mayer and Smith talking about the inspiration for the piece, turn-of-the-century trade card ads – also referred to as ‘gaslight style‘ as well as Smith’s painstakingly intricate process from sketch to final project. While the album cover comes together quickly (digital time lapse) – the side project Smith labors over is two pieces of reverse glass panels created as a thank you for Mayer.
As captivating as it is to watch Smith in the midst of his creative process, it’s presented in equally captivating measure by Danny Cooke. You really have to appreciate the kind of intricate process Cooke orchestrates that makes this piece feel more like you’re actually in the shop, going in for your own close-up, rather than watching a short doc.
If you’re as enamored as I was with this piece, there’s another one! “David A. Smith: Sign Artist” focuses on other work, techniques and visions Smith incorporates working as a glass embosser. Truly great work.