Sign wars: Dunleavy signs up the ante



A new “gorgeous sign campaign” is rolling out from the Dunleavy for Alaska political action committee and it’s setting a new standard for political signs in Alaska: Political signs as collectible art.

The Dunleavy group rolled out its signature sky-blue sign with a salmon-colored bear and a floatplane early this year and they’re now seen along highways and streets across the state, from Ketchikan to Fairbanks.

But it was just the first in a series by Alaskan artist Paxson Woelber, who is a well known graphic designer and artist, at least in political circles.

Woelber’s work has been found in other campaigns. For example, before working for the Dunleavy for Alaska political action committee, he designed the Hawkins for Governor sign with the flying hawk on an mountainous background:

The Dunleavy for Alaska campaign has excelled in its creative endeavors, perhaps because it’s an all-Alaska team made up of people like chairman Terre Gales, Matt Larkin, Mike Porcaro, and creative talent like Cale Green, Corey Mulder, and Woelber.

“Every single person in our group is Alaskan,” said Larkin, who has team meetings every week with the loose-knit band of creatives. Most of the funds for the group are coming from Alaskans, he said.


The original “bear and floatplane” blue sign has been joined by a “red salmon red” sign with the image of a woman fishing from a skiff, a green sign with two hunters and caribou, and an orange sign featuring a pod of orcas and a salmon seiner.

Asked if he’s worried people will want the signs for their man caves or hoard them as collectibles, Larkin said he’ll just keep printing more, and actually hopes people will put up more than one sign in their yard.

Dunleavy for Alaska is a group separate from the actual campaign, which is named Alaskans for Dunleavy. The Alaskans for Dunleavy signs were designed in house, said campaign manager Brett Huber.

Mead Treadwell, who just launched his campaign for governor two weeks ago, also has a collectible sign, although not one of Woelber’s creations.


Bill Walker for Governor is using the more traditional colors of red, white, and blue, and an old-school look with the Big Dipper logo. His logo is recycled from his 2014 run for governor, although he has removed Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott’s name from his sign since both are now off the Democrats’ primary ballot and are gathering signatures to run as a petition candidates in the General Election:


Woelber has been doing political artwork in Alaska for eight years and has branded campaigns as wide-ranging as Marilyn Stewart for House, Amy Demboski for Mayor, and Jeff Landfield for Senate. He’s also designed logos for Jennifer Johnston for House, Mia Costello for Senate, and Bill Evans for Assembly, to name a just few.

Born and raised in Anchorage, Woelber attended West High School, Middlebury College in Vermont, and art school in San Francisco. He worked in Chicago before moving home in 2014 and he now makes a living as an artist in Alaska under the banner of Paxson Design LLC.


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