Reviving a Lost Art Form in Out-Of-Home

Craft Ads - Handpainted Billboards

Verde Capital Ad 1

Until the late 1980s, skilled artists conceptualized and hand-painted most billboards. These large-scale advertisements were a work of art that created a 2 way connect between the brand and the viewer. Back then, you could tell a lot of time and energy went into creating a billboard, each stroke of the paintbrush placed with purpose. Nowadays, with digital and print used for almost every medium, that connection between art and ad has unfortunately been lost… or has it?

Meet Craft Ads, a boutique art studio out of Pasadena California run by David Lawrence and Amber Easton. They specialize in crafting unique hand-painted billboard campaigns for their clients. Craft Ads is on a mission to create a new renaissance of hand-painted ads. Bringing back the beauty and excitement of this old-school medium. Tasty Ad had the privilege of speaking with Craft Ads about their mission and process.

David has worked as a Studio Production Artist and Color Mix Artist for top independent muraling companies in the U.S., with clients like Intel, Netflix, Google, and Hinge. He has contributed to productions nominated for an Academy Award, an Obie, and a One Show finalist.

He holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Production Design from the AFI Conservatory in Los Angeles and studied painting at Art Center in Pasadena. Inspired by James Rosenquist’s F-111 at MoMA, he pursued a career in large-scale commercial painting. David developed Craft Ads in 2022 and launched the studio full-time in January 2024.

Amber is a Los Angeles-based painter and muralist. She began mural painting for bars and restaurants in 2013 while working as a bartender.

She has since joined film and television productions as a scenic painter and commercial advertising groups as a muralist with brands like Google, Converse, Nike, Gucci, Netflix, HBO, as well as local projects with the city of Los Angeles, LAUSD, non-profits, and small businesses in collaboration with local artists.

“By creating hand-painted billboards, we get to create a moment between the brand and the viewer. When you see a hand-painted billboard, you can tell it’s not a mass-produced concept, the imagery and color are simple, the colors pop, and the overall piece draws you into the ad. It’s that experience that creates a connection between the brand and the viewer.” Said David Lawrence.

LandRover Hand Painted Billboard

The hand-painted billboard concept above incorporates local imagery that people in Pasadena are familiar with. The San Gabriel mountains in the background, along with the wild flocks of parrots that call Pasadena their home. It’s like an inside joke between the brand and the local viewers. “We try to create strong and central advertisements where the viewer has a part in the process… making the connection between the art, the brand, and themselves. We show them, not tell them, and they make the connection”.

How long does it take to create a hand-painted billboard campaign?

About 2-4 weeks from concept to installation. The design process is exciting and collaborative.

What is one brand or company that you would love to work with?

We’d love to collaborate with The National Parks Service of Yosemite.

If you’d like to learn more about Craft Ads. Visit their website here.


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