What is a walldog?
Walldogs were artists who painted external signs and murals used as advertisements throughout the United States in the 1890s through the mid-1900s. These artists were known for working like "dogs" through the heat of the summer, sometimes in very dangerous conditions. Although the term walldog was originally considered derogatory, that's no longer the case. These days, the term has been openly adopted by wall sign and mural painters who are embracing this old tradition.
Some old hand painted advertisements still exist today. These "ghost signs" have been preserved on buildings for an extended period of time, some of them over 100 years. The signage may be kept for its nostalgic appeal, or simply indifference by the owner.
Hand painted murals are making a big comeback, as advertisers look for something that draws more attention than the typical digitally-produced billboard. Going back to these roots is what inspired Immaculate Baking to commission Andy to paint a billboard in downtown Minneapolis, at 930 Hennepin Avenue. The idea of a "made from scratch" billboard went along perfectly with their "made from scratch" products. For four days, Andy was suspended 60 feet above the street. Pedestrians and commuters could watch the creative process as the billboard came alive.
Back in the old days, walldogs would be chained to the exterior of a building or suspended from a rooftop to paint their signs by hand. The Immaculate Baking project felt considerably safer. A professional crew brought a lift and harnessed Andy to it, as to prevent him from falling to his death. I genuinely appreciated their concern and care.
As mentioned, Andy was interviewed by CBS Minnesota. Watch the video below to hear more about this project.
Some photos used in this post are from Immaculate Baking and were used with permission.