Hello, my name is A. J. Tanguay…
I make “vintage inspired” designs with chalk/blackboard, and traditional sign painting techniques.
From classrooms everywhere, street A-frame signs, to menu boards at delis…chalk was/is everywhere. That familiarity seems to bring out warm and fuzzy nostalgic feelings… I know it does in me. I like the stark white against the black surfaces. I dig all that texture. I like the classic scripts and playful new fonts. I enjoy what I like to call ‘constructed lettering’ – designs that cram quite a lot of information in a relatively small space. Giving your eyes something to work on for a minute. I like the imperfections. I like the handmade feel of a good board. (I still don’t like the screech of the chalk.)
Now, I’m not a Buddhist, but I’ve always been drawn to one of the three essential doctrines of existence in Buddhism…impermanence. The term expresses the Buddhist notion that all of conditioned existence, without exception, is transient, or in a constant state of flux. I think it’s important to be reminded of this from time to time…both in terms of learning to enjoy what is now, and also not taking things too seriously. That’s chalk work in a nutshell. It’s here today to be enjoyed for a short time, then wiped away. I fully accept that all of this work is temporary.
The “sand mandala” is the perfect example of this. These amazing artworks are painstakingly created by Buddhist monks over a period of days, only to be dismantled when they are finished.
I started hand lettering after high school, working in a t-shirt/silkscreen shop. Five days a week, setting up the baseball script for softball teams and roofing companies makes you hone your skills for hand lettering very quickly. Sitting next to an industrial dryer, literally sweating over my designs – I learned to hand letter.
After leaving that extremely non-lucrative, noisy, sweaty career, I spent the last chunk of time as a computer graphics artist for TV, advertising, and movies. But in the last few years I’ve been drawn more and more back to hand lettering and scripts. I kept notebooks and pens next to my computer constantly to practice broad stroke scripting. I filled sketchbooks with words and phrases.
When a friend began to develop an artisan gelato business a few years ago, and needed constantly refreshed chalkboard menus, I knew I’d found a new love. I developed custom tools and methods to make the designs pop but be functional and flexible for her menus. From there, I moved into larger surfaces…like twenty foot long surfaces. Now I create designs for clients who want the fresh, fun look that chalk brings. It seems to be working, see…
You far exceeded our expectations!!Client, W. Harder
Please have a look around, and if you have a project in mind, please do not hesitate to get in contact.