Richard Tipping, road signs and visual puns

Sing, Richard Tipping

We are surrounded by signs in our daily city existence, sometimes we notice them when driving or crossing the road but often they meld into a melange of street scenery. The growing abundance of signs in our urban landscapes as the side effect of the commercialisation of life is captured nicely by photographer David Mist in the 1960s.

Street signs, Surry Hills, David Mist

Street signs, Surry Hills, David Mist

Artist Richard Tipping has taken the ordinary directional street sign, isolated it and played with its imagery and language to create visual puns.

Tipping, known as a ‘visual poet’, describes his work as ‘concrete poetry’, or poetry which appreciates words and even letters for the way they look, their aesthetic appeal as art objects. He enjoys a unique commentary on Australian character through the use of signage and public space. These manipulated road signs are a continuing theme in Tipping’s visual punning and urban commentary.

Form one planet, Richard Tipping

Form one planet, Richard Tipping

In the hands of Tipping, otherwise standard street signs, are completely altered within the space they occupy. Using a standard design format as template he creates fresh meanings and offers a different way of seeing our directional landscape.