The Pre-Vinylite Society is a loose network of sign enthusiasts and advocates for a renewed interest in craftsmanship and the aesthetics of our built environment. The aim of the Pre-Vinylite Society is to encourage sign painters, sign enthusiasts, artists, writers, documentarians, business owners, and the general public to be more aware of their aesthetic surroundings and take pride in their neighborhoods by creating, commissioning, documenting, and appreciating quality signage, art, and architecture. 

The name “Pre-Vinylite” is derived from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of 19th century English artists and writers who rebelled against the academic conventions of their day. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood defied the tradition passed down from Raphael that taught a strict approach to producing paintings. They felt that merely conforming to the conventions of previous masters made for art that was devoid of emotion because it lacked a sense of humanity and creativity. 

The Pre-Raphaelites detailed their ambitions in four simple declarations:

1.      to have genuine ideas to express;

2.      to study Nature attentively, so as to know how to express them;

3.      to sympathize with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art, to the exclusion of what is conventional and self-parading and learned by rote;

4.      and, most indispensable of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues

The Pre-Vinylite name also connotes the period before vinyl technology nearly decimated the hand-painted sign industry in the 1980s and serves as a commemoration of this pre-vinyl era, but not a wish to return to it. Despite the emphasis on a bygone era that “pre” suggests, the Pre-Vinylites are not a society of Luddites, shunning technology or advocating for a return to a simpler time. Pre-vinyl does not equal anti-vinyl. The Pre-Vinylite Society is a forward-thinking organization, dedicated to a future informed by the past.

The Pre-Vinylite Society aims to inspire a sharper cognizance of the built environment and a desire to create and appreciate new, forward focused art that respects the traditions and techniques of the past. Much like the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood from whom we derive our name, the Pre-Vinylite Society is made up of members who are observant of the aesthetic world around us and resistant to traditions that dictate easy, quick, and careless ways of making our art. Also like the Pre-Raphaelites, we Pre-Vinylites are writers and artists, striving to make our mission heard as well as seen.  

Ultimately, the Pre-Vinylites believe that artistic vigilance in the face of mass conformity can deliver us from a homogenous existence.