Dusty Signs, Done Beautifully

August 24, 2012

“Apparently we’re getting some guy to hand paint all the signage for Augtoberfest.”

I froze when my boyfriend, who is a cook at Tilia, told me this.

In my opinion, there are phenomenal letterers (Chank Diesel, and Jessica Hische to name a few), there are sub-par letterers (ya know, the ones that make you make this face), and really no in-between.

To my great satisfaction, though, I soon discovered that none other than Dusty Signs was in charge of the project. Dan “Dusty” Madsen is a wildly talented, 22-year-old, highly impressive, 3rd generation sign painter. And lucky for us, he calls Minneapolis home.

Madsen grew up playing in his grandfathers studio, a medical illustrator and letterer, and would practice writing with his calligraphy pens. After he passed, Madsen came across old books and materials for sign painting, and immersed himself in the craft.

I first learned about Dusty Signs a number of months ago via a beautifully composed mini-documentary by Hunter Johnson.

Dusty Signs from Hunter Johnson on Vimeo.

His 90-second video captures a bit of Madsen’s process, gently sketching letterforms, meticulously mixing paints, and elegantly painting each letter.

Madsen’s heart and passion really comes through in each stroke of the brush, resulting in some truly stunning pieces. The care and authenticity of the craft comes to life in his signs. The traditional, hand-painted approach he takes is such a breath of fresh air in the painfully digital world design has become. Seeing his craft really makes my heart sing. Bottom line: I’d love to have one of his pieces proudly displayed in my apartment along side my antique printers drawers.

Take a look at some of my favorite pieces Madsen has painted, below, all from his Flickr page. Be sure to check out his website, Facebook, and Twitter for more. And finally, here’s one more beautiful process video for the Real Estate door shown below.

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