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Food, Glorious Food

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Being a Blackboard Artist and mainly working for hospitality related businesses, one great perk is every know and then, you get offered a delicious plate of food.

One thing every sign-writer can relate to whilst working, is that when you're concentrating on perfecting those letters and you have a lot to finish off in one day, the hunger slowly creeps up on you!

I will be showing you the best food I've come across so far in my work for the people I work with. 

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Here's a close-up of their Mac 'n' Cheese Croquettes, served with Hot Sauce. These are mouth-watering. 

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@nannybills

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Sonia’s Kitchen @sonitaskitchen

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Wingmans @wingmanschicken

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EF BROTHERS @efbrothers

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Toucan Signs Paint Jam

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A couple of weeks back, Chris from @toucan_signs and @donelondon very kindly hosted a bunch of sign-writers and letter enthusiasts to paint on their walls for the day and I was one of them.

There's a lot of conversation about letters, letters and more letters. Beers, great music and good vibes is the perfect mixture for a good Paint Jam and they certainly pulled it out of the bag!

Archie from @irregularsigns and I did a big mural together and Josh @theaboarddude gave us a hand later on in the day.

We had @jakesamueltyler and @coleman_signanddesign working on the left and @mia.warner.signpainter, @hanasunnywhaler and Jay from @greateropacity working on our right side. 

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Here's Chris from Toucan Signs reppin' a Done London print. It was a great day and a really cool studio to work in. Big thanks to the hosts for a great Paint Jam! 

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Colossal Media and NYC

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I recently visited NYC for my cousin's 30th and I had to make a visit to Colossal Media, based in Brooklyn. 

After watching the 'Sign Painters' film which was released in 2014, made by Faythe Levine and Sam Macon. I remember when they featured Colossal Media, it made a real impact on me in terms of how much of an operation they really are and it was inspiring.

The equipment they use and the amount of skilled painters they have is so impressive. When I knew the dates of NYC, I got in contact with Colossal and asked if I could just have a look at the place. They nicely gave me a tour of the main complex and it was great to have an insight into what they do. 

Seeing the spaces where they have their meetings for inspiration, their incredible organisation with materials and even where they have a few beers at the end of the day overlooking the big apple, was pretty cool to see!

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'Sky High' and 'Always Hand Paint', is painted on all their trucks and vans going to jobs around the city. I spotted one of their trucks driving past me in East Village, Manhattan. There was also quite a few of their large mural jobs in the very trendy Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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This was a large room with a glass window roof, as you can see in the picture below. This is where all the paint for the jobs is mixed before the start of a project, they use this space as it needs as much natural light as possible to create the right shades. 

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Daniel who is the handy man for Colossal, building storage for heavy equipment and organising the materials immaculately, also showed me a lot of different signs around the building and ones that the owners had collected over the years. They were all attached to the ceiling which created a really cool visual in itself. 

He also has a passion for UK Grime which is good to hear!

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The outdoor mural which has covered the whole building, was painted in 2 weeks by the painting team at Colossal. This was the perfect way to enter the building by seeing this work of art when you walk in. 

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If you live in NYC and you're reading this, keep your eyes peeled for these stickers dotted around East Village...

If you're visiting New York for the first time and you want a big night out, definitely check out 'The Ides Bar' which is a rooftop bar In Williamsburg and the nightclub 'Output' if you're into underground music. You won't be disappointed.

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Last but certainly not least, check out Katz's Deli, located in East Village. This is perfect taste to New York when you first arrive. They serve huge pastrami sandwiches with complimentary plates of pickles and a great selection of other dishes as well. It's open 24 hours and it's always rammed!

 

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Sri Lanka

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If you want to escape somewhere that's hot, tropical and has great food and great people, Sri Lanka is where you should go. Such a beautiful country and so much to see.

In terms of nature it has it all and the variety of interesting things to see is endless. Including whale watching, visiting Temples, tea plantations and much more. 

I highly recommend it and here are some photos of places, food and some hand-painted signs I came across on my 2 week travel!

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Kurupt FM

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Kurupt FM

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If you're into underground music and have a love for old skool Garage and early Grime then you need to watch BBC's Bafta award-winning, 'People Just Do Nothing'.

Based in Brentford in West London, this mockumentary portrays the journey of a few friends who run pirate radio station 'Kurupt FM' 108.9 on your dial. You see their highs and lows through out the seasons and in my opinion, this is the best British comedy to come out for years. One of the funniest and cleverest programmes I have watched for a long time and being a former DJ myself, this is a programme I really enjoyed.

If you want a good mix to listen to while you need to blast out some work as well, definitely listen to Kurupt FM's Lost Tape. It brings back all those Old Skool garage vibes and will make you laugh as well. 

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Being a fan of Kurupt FM, I wanted to do some art pieces based on each character and create a theme running through the pieces so they could be easily recognised between each other. I decided to keep it to their logo colours of Black, White and Yellow to have good continuity. Kurupt FM certainly have a very solid brand.

The blackboards I used are called tombstone boards, which you will find in most bars & pubs. They're the boards which you'll find on the corners of the bar promoting a special offer.

Using a small board, I wanted each piece to really capture each character with a memorable quote from them in a style that would suit them best.  I had to put my signature in each piece of course and now I will let the pictures do the talking...

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After sending the pictures over, I then got a S/O on Kurupt FM's official Instagram page twice, Decoy's Instagram and a Kurupt hoodie posted out to me. 

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After finishing the boards, I met up with DJ Fantasy AKA 'Fanta' @therealmarvinjay in person. I was working at Sourced Market Marylebone at the time,  painting a large Breakfast/Brunch menu on tiles which was a challenge.

Marvin told me a bit about the humble beginnings of Kurupt FM, being a slow burner and building a cult following over a long time. Kurupt dabbled into Pirate radio themselves and all have passion for underground music which definitely plays a big part in why the series is such a success. It was very interesting to hear the humble roots of it all and inspiring.  

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After getting my new Logo patch t-shirts sent over from October Textiles, which will be on my online shop launching in 2018, I sent MC Grindah a couple of tees accompanied by some Molotow markers and a pair of Alien glasses!

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Last but not least, MC Grindah wearing the The Blackboard Artist logo tee.

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S/O to all the Kurupt FM crew for giving me all the promotion, keep it Kurupt!

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Damien Hirst in Venice

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In April I was watching the News as you do and Damien Hirst was talking about a future exhibition that was opening in Venice later in the year. After missing Hirst's exhibition a few years back at the Tate, I've only heard good things and I've always wanted to experience one of his exhibitions. 

'Treasures from the Wreck of the the Unbelievable', which has 189 odd objects made out of silver, gold, crystal, marble and bronze costing more than £50-100m of Damien Hirst's own money. The idea was based on a collector from 2000 years ago who was a freed slave who begged, borrowed, stole and commissioned a massive collection. He built the biggest ship of his day, called 'The Unbelievable', he packed the treasures in it and the ship sank. 10 years ago, they found the treasures.

Damien Hirst based this all on belief and wants to show that you can believe what you want to believe. He believes in this story of the collector from 2000 years ago which is a story he created. 

After watching this interview with Hirst, I had to go and it was the perfect excuse to visit Venice and enjoy the linguine, coffee, gelato and wine as well.

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Here are some sneak peak shots of the Hirst exhibition. i can honestly say this was the best exhibition I've ever been to. The attention to detail was phenomonal and it was spread over two locations which was hosted at the Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana. This exhibition is on until December 3rd. If you fancy a spontaneous getaway from the daily grind, I would highly recommend going to see this!

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Gelato and a Gondola has to be done in Venice if you haven't done it before!

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Irregular Signs

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Irregular Signs

Archie Salandin is the next person I will be talking about. Based in Clapham, owner of Irregular Signs and definitely introducing a very unique look. We met at Letterheads in Oslo, Norway earlier this year which is a sign-writing conference/workshop/piss-up where everyone will talk a silly amount about signs! It's on every year in a different part of the world and if you're a letter enthusiast then it's an event you must go to.

After visiting Archie's studio I asked him what his inspiration is, his goals and how he became a sign-writer. These are normally the questions we forget to ask a sign-writer when we meet, we get carried away talking nerdy about letter forms and what we enjoy doing most on a job. Every sign-writer has their own way of doing their work and a wacky path on how they became one. 

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How did you become a Sign-writer?

I made my first set of signs at Art School as part of an installation I was working on. These were made with vinyl cut Helvetica lettering. My Dad, who is a Grainer, watched me laying down my vinyl in his workshop and quietly said ‘You know you could paint that by hand if you wanted…’ I Didn’t really think this was an option that would yield the neat results I wanted so I carried on laying down the vinyl. It was not until I became obsessed with the artist Bob and Roberta Smith, who paints art in his own casual style using OneShot and signwriters' brushes that I went back to my Dad and asked him to show me what he meant. We then spent the afternoon with a mahl stick in hand, trying to paint a roman style of the word ‘Rose’ as that was the only Pounce he had. I was not very good. And I really hate not being good at things. I had a go at imitating Bob and Roberta Smiths Casual style and this seemed a bit easier, so I set up an easel above the pub where I worked and started practicing. I later attended Joby Carter’s Sign Writing course; being surrounded by the incredible wealth of styles and colours for five days which was amazing. I met people there who I still share tips and techniques with. From there I practiced and practised, I made panels with phrases hand-painting them on and surrounded myself by them. I started wandering into businesses and asking if they needed any signwriting or chalkboards. It was a long time before I could quit my job to pursue signwriting full-time, but when I did finally take the leap I knew I didn’t want to do anything else.

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What are your influences?

I try to stay up to date with my Contemporaries, the first guy that properly blew me away was Bristol based Sign-writer Dapper Signs, I loved his bold colours, styles and fuck-you attitude. Like probably most other Sign-writers I know, I spend hours scrolling through Instagram seeing what new things work people have made. Other than Sign-writers, there are a number of text artists I love, Lawrence Weiner, Ed Rusha, Wayne White and the forementioned Bob and Roberta smith.

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What do you plan to do as a later goal with signwriting?

I named my company ‘Irregular Signs’ because I wanted to make work that was something a bit different from the shop faces I saw day to day. I try to make every aspect of my signs interesting; as much as possible I use Graining and Marbling techniques as backgrounds and I have started using gold leaf to make the letters really pop, I love learning new skills and I am always practicing traditional letterforms and working on my own faux effects. I would like to continue in this direction, making more and more detailed signs, treating each one as a work of art.

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Since Letterheads Archie and I have been working on a number of collaboration art pieces which will be online soon, so keep your eyes peeled...

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Board Building

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Board Building

Hello there! This is my first blog post and I hope you enjoy the journey of learning about the weird and wonderful lifestyle of a blackboard artist. Throughout my blog, I will be showing you my inspiration, the variation of  jobs and sharing some tips and tricks to really get you started if you're interested in ever becoming a blackboard artist...enjoy!

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Custom made boards is the newest edition to The Blackboard Artist expansion recently and it's a lot of fun! An old school-friend of mine who goes by the name of Bradley Sills, is a really skilled individual when it comes to creating something from nothing. He does it with his bare hands and he even built his own house a few years back. 

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Bradley and I have worked a lot together before, we once had the opportunity to build a pop-up bar at Glastonbury, which was the year Kanye West was headlining. Bradley built the bar, decorating it with bamboo sticks, creating the DJ booth and hand-cutting the signs for me to paint on. I took care of the cocktail blackboard menus and all the other signs leading the festival-goers into the bar, serving 'Gold Digger' cocktails. We built and sign-painted the bar for exchange of a couple of tickets and DJing at the booth for a couple of days, which was pretty intense! One thing we learned is if you play 'Flowers Sunship Remix' by Ceri Evans, then you're guaranteed to have the whole crowd dancing!

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Bradley has been helping me create some very bespoke pieces this year for various clients. Reclaimed timber double-sided a-boards, white boards with white frames and even blackboards with curved edges. Every client is pleased so far and we're always endeavouring to up the game with new techniques and different types of finishes. The goal is to make the boards look as unique as possible and deliver a creative and reliable service, for anyone who's interested in having a bespoke piece for their restaurant or even their home. 

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Listening to the radio is a great way to crack on with the day, Radio 1Xtra and Radio 6 is what we listen to whilst we work. 1Xtra is good for the underground music that you've heard of before and finding out about up and coming talent. Radio 6 is definitely an all-rounder, good for the afternoon when the suns setting on a Summer day. If you do a physical day of work building boards all day, make sure you have a couple of cold bottled beers waiting for you in the fridge when you finish, you'll definitely need them!

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Last but not least, the finished board and we were accompanied by Maggie all day who is definitely a bit cheeky. She ran around in the garden all day, chewing on off-cuts, bits of unused ropes and sniffing all the tools, but she gets away with it though!

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