The Signspotter: Eleanor Holmes Norton
Candidate: Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, seeking re-election to Congress
Colors: Red, white, blue
Graphic elements: Abstract American flag
Slogan: OUR CHAMPION Bringing D.C. Jobs/Demanding D.C.'s Vote
Spotted: Georgia Avenue NW and Randolph Street NW
Signspotter says: It's easy to pass one of these on a streetlight and write it off not as part a large-scale print job, but an arts-and-crafts project from an eager supporter with a new gouache set at home. The "Eleanor" that sweeps over most of the sign is unusually baroque for political lettering, and the curlicued script an assertively feminine touch. It presides oddly over the handwritten font that runs along the sign's bottom, which delivers its own confusing message. Is Holmes Norton "demanding" that Congress authorize "D.C.'s vote"? Or is this her own hard-edged appeal for election-year support: Other candidates may ask for your vote, while Eleanor demands it?
Riffs on the District's stars-and-stripes flag are popular with city candidates, but as Washington's only federal official, Holmes Norton paints on a national canvas with the US version. But it is an unusually childlike rendering, stars reduced to abstract squiggles and stripes tapering off into meandering strokes. It's as if our woman in Congress is trying to say that the notion of statehood represented by the 50 stars is an imperfect one, and that the sovereignty project of the 13 colonies remains unfinished business.
Photo by Mike Madden