Go Outside

Inspired by Anthony Purcell’s Pennsylvania wall art, I decided to dabble with some pictorial typography of my own.

The original idea came with a sketch, before trying out some further ideas in Adobe Illustrator, culminating in a hand painted version.

The final effect is a little more cartoonish than perhaps originally intended – it reminds me of the Simpsons opening titles – but, at the same time I think it works for this project and now I’ve had time to live with it for a couple of weeks, I think it works better than if I had gone over the top on detail. After all, the main feature are the words and you need to strike a balance between the image and legibility.

I’m still deciding what to do with it. These projects are always intended as practice, with the intention of perhaps selling them on if they come out well. But I usually end up hanging them up at home. So I’ll never make much money, but at least I’ll have a good looking house!

Here are some photos of the process along the way……


Berlin & The Museum Of Letters

Picture 028Kicked off 2015 with a few days in Berlin to see in the new year and celebrate a friends’ birthday. Although we’d previously visited the city a few years ago as part of a European Inter-Rail trip, we needed little persuasion to revisit, Berlin is one of the best!

Situated a stones throw from Checkpoint Charlie on the border of historic Mitte and the slightly scuzzier but no less charming area of Kreuzberg, we took in cold-war history at the checkpoint museum and Karl-Marx-Allee, the Jewish museum in Kreuzberg (worth it for the architecture alone and an excellent gallery of poster stamps – early advertising stamps featuring exquisite illustrations and typography), excellent German food and flea markets in Freidrichshain, the overwhelming crowds at Brandenburg gate for New Year’s Eve, street art at the East Side Gallery (and most other places!) and some fantastic bars (again, mostly in the Kreuzberg area).

A late highlight for me was a visit to the Buchstaben museum. Here’s some explanation from the museum literature:

“The Buchstabenmuseum (the museum of letters) was born out of a passion for typography and for rescuing threatened letters from public spaces.  In 2005 Barbara Dechant and Anja Schulze founded the non-profit organization……dedicated to preserving, restoring and exhibiting signage from Berlin and around the world.  The museum researches and documents the stories behind the signs, exploring the letters’ unique typographic qualities as well as delving into the manufacturing process.”

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The museum was small but held a wealth of interest. The main gallery featured exhibits based on some of the salvaged signs, often with additional notes on the history of that particular sign and, in some cases, archive film footage and interviews with those involved in the production. For someone in the industry and with a general interest in the field, this all proved fascinating, but the look of the exhibits themselves held a more general appeal to those beyond type-geeks and graphic designers.  For a start many of the signs were neon, so walking through the dimly lit museum with these brilliantly illuminated letters was an impressive sight in its own right, regardless of the history and production details. But on closer inspection many of these letters, beyond the glow, had decayed beautifully, all sporting the many signs of ageing and exposure to the city – rust, peeled paint and bird shit. Many of the letters had collected years worth of dried leaves and cobwebs, coating them in a decrepit natural patina that seemed at odds with the still-strong modern glow of the neon.

In a city full of attractions, a type museum may not jump out as an obvious way of spending precious time, but it proved an odd and endearing attraction. Here are my highlights:


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Take a look at the links……



Gourmandizing London

FATHERS_SKETCH_04Completely 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.

FATHERS-UPDATE_03FATHERS-FINAL_01-960x637Please visit the Gourmandizing website for more info (including recipes!).



Prince Albert

988608_630482500304183_1459895780_nA 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.

1002406_615734628445637_657010132_n942636_622572284428538_21598036_nCheck out his page for more photos and examples of his work and exploits.

Sinna One


Yet more Powers!

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.

Wakin-on-a-Pretty-DazeThis follows his previous foray into the music world, with the sleeve art he illustrated for the JJ DOOM album last year on Lex Records.



I Goat - by Kenny Hunter with Christ Church in the background.

I Goat – by Kenny Hunter with Christ Church in the background.

A pre-xmas solo trip to London inevitably ended up with a mooch around Spitalfields and, while I didn’t achieve the somewhat fanciful goal of wrapping up all my xmas shopping in one inspired lap of the market, I did find inspiration both in the stalls and on the street.

Featured in a previous post, Peter Hardwicke is a London signwriter who has worked on several of the small shops in the streets around Spitalfields. I’d seen both the examples here as photos but it was good to get a good up-close look at his work – it is very fine!

Also took the opportunity to snap some vintage work and a ghost sign before jumping on the tube to Oxford Circus.

The English Restaurant by Peter Hardwicke

Emin International by Peter Hardwicke P1010906 P1010907 P1010908


One highlight from a recent jaunt to Spain (albeit a fleeting one) was an overnight stay in Saragossa. Intended only as a way to break the six hour plus road trip from Bilbao to Barcelona, we managed a good couple of hours of wanderings around the old town (mainly in a quest for food!) and took in amazing buildings, statues, fountains and happened upon these lovely pieces adorning a small shop tucked into a side street. If it weren’t for a fairly tight schedule I would have stuck around in Saragossa.

Ghost Signs

On a brief stop in the Dorset town of Bridport at the weekend, I happened upon the above ghost sign, a wonderful term which applies to those faded, scuffed old signs that you sometimes catch sight of above eye level on forgotten walls.  It reminded me of another example i photographed while visiting York two years ago.  The Bile Beans sign is a fairly iconic local landmark and was apparently restored by the York Arts Forum in 1986.

In case you were wondering I think Bile Beans were a mild laxative, similar to liver salts.

Upon further investigation online I found an entire website dedicated to the documentation of ghost signs where you can find some interesting archives and articles on the subject.

Ghost Signs