Back in the 70’s and 80’s, Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel were altering billboards with obscure images for the purpose of documenting their work with photos. Often having no meaning at all, they were simply mocking advertising in general. Their work is often overlooked when crediting pioneers of “street art”, while their efforts were long before there was a label. Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel also produced a book titled “Evidence”, which is arguably on of the most influential books on the subject of using found images.
Beginning in 1973 and up until 1989, we worked together on open ended, allusive designs for outdoor advertising billboards, under the name Clatworthy Colorvues. The billboards were exhibited mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area, where we lived, but sometimes installed in other parts of the country, the result of workshops we led with graduate students, or exhibitions on appropriation and public art. With the billboard, we wanted to reach a larger and more varied public than would ever find its way into an art institution.