Sign Spinning and Other Thoughts

Sign spinning.  If you live in an area where the car is a popular mode of transportation then chances are you’ve seen a sign spinner.  If you don’t know, sign spinning is a new practice that consists of throwing around a piece of advertising in a way that is part street art, part break dance, part testosterone-fueled-version of synchronized gymnastics.


Some sign spinners are savants.  Some of them are just sad.  I believe, all of them earn a fairly low wage for spinning that sign.


Here’s a quickie vid to give you an idea of the sign spinning world if you don’t know about it:



I don’t know how I feel about the sign spinner.  On one level, I feel like his talents are exploited to sell more Little Caesar’s Pan! Pan! pizza or a new model home when maybe he should be using those skills to form some kind of dance troupe that expresses his inner city feelings.  On the other hand, everyone needs to get paid and maybe Jack-Sign-Spinner doesn’t give a sh*t about his urban rage.


Yet, when the sign spinning performance is lackadaisical, I can’t help but feeling, “Man this is worse then giving out flyers for a tittie bar.  There has got to be a better way to make a living than this.”  It seems degrading and demoralizing.


The arts, in my mind, are supposed to be a thing that is free of commerce.  Right?


I worry today’s sign spinners are tomorrow’s singing billboards.  Tomorrow’s singing billboards are the future’s corporate-paid-for graffiti taggers who only tag, “Nike” and “Kraft” all over city buildings for a fee.  None of it done for the love, all of it done for the money.


Whatever happened to doing something for the feck of it?  Like throwing around a frisbee.


(My older cousin is in this video, I think. Seriously.)



Oh, crap.  They monetized that too.


Blogging.  Is that the last untapped landscape of doing something for fun, your way, expressing yourself without spinning some words around for an advertiser in the heat?


I doubt it.  Plus, if you can make a little dough and do it YOUR way, why not?  This girl does and she’s brilliant.


I don’t know if I feel bad for the sign spinner when I see him or good for the entrepreneurial spirit.  I have mixed feelings about it, as I do when I watch Wipeout.


I am only clear about the fact that I don’t want to spin any signs for $10 per hour in the heat.  I see the sign spinner and I’m happy to be in my car.  So, I guess I wrote this post to say, “Sorry, Sign Spinner.”  You’re an artist and I’m sorry the world did that to you.


Now, I’m going to go write some paid stuff and I’m going to think about how different I am from him.  Right?  As I begin the 50th revision, I’ll realize…


Wrong.  Oh, how wrong I was.


Enjoy this.  It was bound to happen.  It’s the World Sign Spinning Championships.  Oh, yes, it was. It was destiny!




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Photo cred:  Sign Spinner