Inspiration: Hand Painted Signs

As an avid traveler and graphic enthusiast, I’ve always been obsessed with the art of sign painting. I remember traveling around Vietnam 20 years ago and seeing fantastic hand painted signs advertising local companies. Always bright, flat colors and simplified shapes painted against more bright flat color.


Photo by Meena Kadri


Collection of Joel Montague

I took photographs and began collecting African barber shop signs, a collection that is still growing.
Then I noticed these began to influence my own art and the way I tackled typography. I began using more hand drawn type in my work and my painting style became flatter and more graphic.


Illustration found in laundry mat in my neighbourhood


Illustrated by Burkina Faso


Photo by Polar Inertia

It was such a joy last year to be commissioned by Giovanni Rana, an Italian food mogul who was launching his first US restaurant in Chelsea market. I illustrated the menu, bags, stickers but the part of the job I enjoyed the most was the sign painting on reclaimed barn wood.





Quite a challenge as the wood grain was rough and I had to work out a technique to transfer the type and drawing on to the wood before I started painting. I plan on painting more signs for them and hope we have more projects together up our sleeves. Stay tuned!