A couple of cinema related items for this post. The first are a series of hand-painted poster cards featuring some amazing lettering and illustration by U.S. signpainter Ira Coyne, whose work featured prominently in the Sign Painters movie and book directed by Faythe Levine and Sam Macon.
The second item features the work of highly regarded Dublin signwriter Kevin Freeney. These are some of the signs he hand-painted for the Ambassador cinema in the eighties:
It’s hard to imagine something with as quick a turnaround as a cinema sign actually being hand-written, especially considering the scale of these; which is why, along with the obvious artistry on display, I find these photos so astonishing.
For more examples of Kevin Freeney’s work please follow the link to the Gentleman Of Letters Flickr page.
Completely by accident I recently made email connection with Matthew McGuinness and, one clicked link later, arrived at the Gourmandizing London website, a street art project he is currently orchestrating.
An artist originating from Brooklyn and also a trained chef, McGuinness is currently combining these two worlds in a vibrant project involving beautifully painted murals in South East London based upon recipes provided by members of the local community.
Please visit the Gourmandizing website for more info (including recipes!).
A small diversion away from signpainting. My friend Darryl Bennett, alias Sinna One, has been working on this mural on the Prince Albert pub in Brighton along with fellow artist REQ, posting some nice work-in-progress photos on his facebook page along the way.
Darryl is a commissioned street artist and, although he uses spraypaint instead of the One-Shot enamel favoured by most of the artists featured here, I was so impressed by the scale of this piece I had to share it.
Check out his page for more photos and examples of his work and exploits.
“…bemoaning the sad fact that most signs are either digitally printed onto or digitally cut from stickyback vinyl. It always looks so noncommittal to me, as if you don’t really intend to keep your shop open for more than a year or so. A good handpainted sign shows that you plan to stay, and are serious about your enterprise – you MEAN it!”
The words (and work) of Jim Medway – a Manchester based man of many talents who I happened upon just this week while browsing the Pre-Vinylite facebook page for inspiration. Much as I’m reluctant to dismiss vinyl completely, after all it does pay my bills (and probably will for some time), I do agree with the above sentiment.
Medway is, from the information gleaned via his website, first and foremost an artist and published cartoonist who also runs educational workshops in schools and community groups. He also seems to be increasingly involved in hand-painted signwriting.
I’m enjoying his work very much. Take a look for yourself……
The Southbourne Cliffs was a pub that I lived very close to for a few years in my twenties and frequented from time to time without ever stepping up to becoming a full-blown “regular”. A few years back the pub closed and was torn down.
Last year I saw the original pub sign for The Cliffs in it’s new home – hanging upon the wall in a lovely barbers shop in Southbourne that we were working on. The barber shop owner had happened upon it at a car-boot sale and managed to obtain it for a reasonable price, thinking it would sit perfectly amongst the vintage stylings of his new shop. It did.
Last weekend, while leafing through a book about pub signs by Paul Corballis that lives under my dad’s coffee table, I happened upon this photo of the very same pub sign in its infancy, being worked upon by staff at Brewery Artists, a subsidiary of Whitbread brewery:
I couldn’t find the date for the photo although, going by the beards, perhaps the seventies. But I loved seeing these two photos together – the pristine new sign with glossed frame being painted under close professional scrutiny; against the later version with its scuffed frame and still-bright but blemished and time-worn featured image, now taking it’s rightful place as something of value, an antique.
It’s always good when your interests overlap. Already something of a regular on these pages, Steve Powers has been busy painting walls for the latest Kurt Vile & The Violators album “Walkin’ On A Pretty Daze”, released on Matador records.
This follows his previous foray into the music world, with the sleeve art he illustrated for the JJ DOOM album last year on Lex Records.
Ornamental Conifer, otherwise known as Nicolai Sclater, is a London based artist whose signwork has recently caught my attention. I can’t quite recall where I first happened upon it but after several clicked-links I was on his page, exposed to the full extent of his work…….Signs, logo design, typography, illustration, screenprinting, T-shirt and leather jackets, zines, flyers and posters, helmet and bike tank work…..the man has an embarrassment of strings to his bow.
Take a look at the vast portfolio of work (including videos) on his page…..
Ira Coyne seems to be a name held in particularly high esteem with any folk interested in striking sign work. As well as being a signpainter by trade he has also contributed his work to galleries and exhibitions throughout the United States.
Here are some shots from an exhibition he staged last year in Portland, Oregon featuring these beautiful hand-painted ouija boards: Spirit Universe – Talking Boards Of Ira Coyne:
You can see more here along with other examples of his work.
Some fine xmas reading this year, courtesy of Steven Heller and Louise Fili’s “Scripts: Elegant Lettering from Design’s Golden Age”.
Steven Heller has released several volumes on typography and design. This one will take its place on my shelf alongside his excellent “New Vintage Type” book – inspirational stuff and essential reading for this fledgling type geek!