Window shopping in L5P
Passing through Little Five Points, it's hard to miss bustling indie record shop Wax 'n' Facts' three large display windows emblazoned with painted CD cover art reproductions. But how do they determine which CDs get space? And who paints them?
According to co-owner Danny Beard, it's a tradition the store started about five years ago. "That's still kind of a record company promo thing, but we do it with local bands," says Beard. "It's really more of a consciousness-raising item than a sales tool, although we certainly try to have those records in stock."
The spaces go for $100-200 a month (slightly less for the smaller window); "locals get a deal," manager Sean Bourne adds. Painting is not included in the cost, so bands often paint the windows on their own. Bourne cites Mike Hunter of the Skylarks and Jeremy Wilkins from Underwater as Atlanta musicians who "really got into the spirit" of doing it themselves.
Bourne advises bands that it's best to paint directly on the glass. Stevie Tombstone's Acoustica, rendered on a separate board, slowly warped and peeled off, revealing Queens of the Stone Age's art beneath it. "So that one was up there twice," he notes.
Some musicians defer to the expertise of local sign-painter Diirga Brough at Gravity Graphics, who prices his services according to what bands can reasonably afford. While he earns considerably more from deep-pocketed customers such as Sony, he says, "If you can only pay me $50, I'll only do $50 worth of work."
Brough says he enjoys the work so much, he'll even drop by and offer advice when musicians are doing it themselves. "I ran right over when I heard Big Fish Ensemble were painting theirs," he recalls, "just so I'd get to meet them."