Story by Julienne du Toit
Pix by Chris Marais
The world famous Route 62 stretch of Little Karoo is becoming well known for creative signage that inevitably seduces curious road trippers into towns like Montagu and Barrydale.
Regular travellers in the area will remember the sexy Marilyn Monroe billboard just outside Barrydale, advertising the Karoo Moon Motel at the Diesel & Crème Roadside Diner.
Marilyn, alas, is currently on a “sabbatical” and has been replaced by what looks like four alien spaceships kidnapping a bakkie somewhere in the Karoo. However, according to Diesel & Crème’s Arthur Pharo:
“She’ll be back.”
Credit for almost every beautiful sign in Barrydale (and a few in Montagu) goes to a 44-year-old local artist called Quinton Faro.
Born in Barrydale, he followed his father into the building trade after school in Cape Town. His father was a master cabinet maker.
Quinton loved drawing at school but never really thought much of it until one day he went to an Art in the Park event in Cape Town.
“Die gogga het my toe gebyt.” He poured himself into art, buying canvases and experimenting with colours.
“I figured it out quickly. Ek leer gou en vergeet nooit.”
Slowly he was drawn into the world of signwriting and murals. He found he had a gift for it – given a photograph “it’s as if my mind projects it onto a wall and I can visualise exactly what I need to do, the scale and the colours.”
He is quite versatile, taking on assignments as far as Worcester and Piketberg and Montagu. He works with speedy assurance, as if he can see what needs doing.
He also has a gift for putting across the feel of a place. All the Diesel & Creme signs are his – and most of the ideas for them are his too.
Quinton seems to be a serious kind of guy but he becomes animated when he talks about the Karoo scenery, his first love. “The Karoo! I hear it in my heart.”
When we first met Quinton Faro, he was signwriting something at a local winery. And when we left, he was painting streepmuise running over trompe l‘oeil brickwork over an arch opposite The Hub down the road from the Barrydale Art Hotel.
We can’t wait to see what his next Route 62 sign will be, and where it will pop up.
- Quinton Faro: Tel and WhatsApp 062 519 4971.