"Comply with traffic regulations; Obey police command"
"Cross only at the striped crossing"
"Beautify Guanzhou, Everybody abide by the 'Six don't and six does'"
"Follow the socialist path and uphold the people's democratic dictatorship, leadership by the Communist Party, and Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought"

China in Transition, 1985-2007
12 sets of 2x2 polyptichs: 48 images total in series
Digital color inkjet prints, 2 editions: 40"x60", and 80"x 120"

"China In Transition" consists of 12 sets of 2x2 clustered images (polyptychs) of photographs I made in China in the summer of 1985 that document handpainted billboards randomly found by wandering in the cities of Guangzhou, Xian, Beijing, and Shanghai. These billboards were all handpainted by sign painters with varying degrees of skillness, mostly of mixed results. My interests lay in the impact of the interplay of these messages as a form of cultural narrative, and the inscription of narratives resulting out of the relationship between the content of the billboards and the stylistic rendering of hand-painted industrial signage.

The China we know today underwent tremendous transformation at every level in its development since the late 1970's to become the superpower it is today. These photographic images are cultural documents that provide us with a glimpse of the first moments of China's transition from post Cultural Revolution to industrial modernization financed in part through outside capital.

Billboard Groupings & Explanations
Perspectives from a Chinese signpainter from the 1980's

"International Economy Cooperation Company"

  Shandong bulldozer factory   "Zhong Yi company of Guangdong province"   "Jiangsu Yangzhou air condition and purification equipment factory"

"Boys and girls in good age (July 8)," "Bloody Black Valley (July 1-4)," "Guide Dog Hasidi (Japanese film, July 5-6)," etc.

  Lingnan Art Press   "China seasoning, Long history of Culture Innovation up-to-date, Spice the World."   "Shandong flavor, Various hot dishes, Cold dishes, cigarette and alcohol, roast duck, private room inside, Whole table order. Thoughtful service. Welcome."

"A bottle of blood can save a life."   "To beautify Guangzhou, to promote activity of 'three guarantee' and qualification."

  "To procreate less and educate better, to train elite for four modernizations"   Ad for Meiduo radio cassette recorder
Shenzhen modern science and education equipment sales center   Ming Auto mechanics factory   Management Department of Shanghai Equipment & Meter Industrial Corporation

  Guangzhou Huanan cable plant
"Arrest command on hand" Film poster

  "Cheer, female soldiers" Film poster   "Misshapen moon" Film poster   "Broad Sword Wang Wu" Film Poster
"Chen Geng's crucifixion" Film poster   "Code 213" Film Poster   "Broad Sword Wang Wu" & "Strange Case of Mei Mountain" Film posters

  "To develop computer technologies, to promote 'four modernizations'"
"Local and Guest Clients, welcome to purchase our products by visitng, phone, or mail"   "Color floppy disk, intimate partner of computer support rewritable more than 100,000,000 times"   "Daermel shampoo" & "White cat detergent"   "The best...
capacitor, transmission, transformer...sold to all over the country"

"Keep up vigorously working on family planning"   "Procreate Less and Rejuvenate Better the Chinese Nation   "To rejuvenate the nation, need population control"   "Everybody participate in eradicating mosquitoes, flies, and rats. Prevent the spread of disease"

"Cherish Youth, encourage late marriage"   "Chen Geng's crucifixion" & "The Melody of My Hometown"

  "Er Mei flying theif"   "Keep up the vigorous work of family planning"
"Guangzhou Electric Iron, A good helper to beautify your life"   "To comply with traffic regulations is a virtue that every citizen should have"

  "Your blood saves others' lives"   "Happy family makes for a prosperous country"
"Look left, then Right when crossing the road"   "Drive carefully, Ensure safety"   "Bikes are not permitted to carry people"   "Be observant when crossing traffic"