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The Spot: Artwork Underneath

Billboard for The Beatles' "Abbey Road" record circa 1969 on the Sunset Strip.

This week on KALW's showcase for the best stories from public radio podcasts and independent radio producers...

Rock n' Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip,” produced by Anny Celsi, April 2017.

Credit Ashleyanne Krigbaum
A painting from 1989 spotted on I-80 in June 2017.

Just a couple of months ago, I saw spotted something on my commute that I had never seen before. It was a billboard with its most recent image halfway removed, which isn’t especially exciting to me, but it’s what was underneath that caught my eye: an advertisement for a cherry red, Ford Thunderbird with no text around it other than the title “Motor Trend Car of the Year” (the year of which, I found out later was 1989).

And as I slowly pulled closer to it through the traffic, it was clear that the car and text were hand painted. Before printing and pasting billboards became the norm, artists were enlisted to paint each billboard, and I had yet to see one of these older artworks in the wild.

Independent radio producer Anny Celsi climbed above the Sunset Strip to find the story behind what would come to be known as some of the most inventive hand painted billboards of their time. You can find more of Anny’s work at annycelsi.com

Rethinking Ink: Lasers, Tattoo Removal, and Second Chances,” from the podcast Distillations, March 2017.

From the science and technology podcast Distillations, Sociologist Joseph Klett traces the modern history of tattoo removal through the stories of his father — a retired sailor — and ex-gang members in California

(An animation to accompany "https://vimeo.com/230047320">Rethinking Ink" from https://vimeo.com/chemheritage">ChemHeritage and Distillations.)

Each month, you can hear a new episode of Distillations exploring the intersections of science, culture, and history. Listen to them all on Soundcloud, or download the Distillationslistening app on iTunes and Google Play. You can also find more multimedia resources at their website

This week's episode featured music from: Black Moth Super Rainbow, Tortoise, Onra, and Vitamin String Quartet

If you have a suggestion for a podcast or an audio project we should feature, please drop us a line at thespot@kalw.org.

Tune in next week for another episode of The Spot, only on KALW San Francisco.