I am beyond impressed.
While searching on Pinterest for ideas for chalkboard menu for a friends wedding, I stumbled upon Dana Tanamachi’s chalk lettering. I was blown away by the skills she has and the precise execution she is able to exhibit, even with the use of chalk, a material in my mind that is nearly impossible to work with.
Dana Tanamachi is a graphic designer and custom chalk letterer living in Brooklyn, New York. She first moved to New York City, after receiving her BFA in Communication Design from the University of North Texas, to design Broadway show posters at Spotco – a leader in live entertainment branding. Not long after her start there, she took a job working under Louise Fili specializing in restaurant and food packaging. She now works full time as a custom chalk letterer and has been commissioned by clients such as West Elm, Ralph Lauren, Google, Adidas, Every Day with Rachael, and much more.
I am impressed and inspired by her work, and was especially blown away after seeing her process. She designs not only for the practical use of a chalkboard but also for print publications and even clothing! Check out her process on Vimeo , it is truly unique.
The lack of stencil, and size of most of these designs shows you how truly impressive her work is. It is neat to see someone take a medium that most view as childlike, or a scribbling tool and carefully use it to craft something. I think she sums up her work perfectly:
“A big inspiration behind my work is the idea of community. It brings me great joy to see people dancing, eating, and laughing with my chalk pieces as the backdrop. Even the idea of creating these pieces was birthed out of my community of friends here in Brooklyn. I find that I am continually inspired by so many of the creative people that I live life with—it’s those friends who initially saw my love of letterforms and encouraged me to explore that passion even further.
What I love about chalk is that it is such an ephemeral medium. We use it to scribble or doodle with, but rarely do we consider carefully crafting something with it. Maybe it goes against our practical nature—why spend time on something that will be gone in a day, week or month? But that’s why it’s the perfect medium— because for me it’s about the process. I love starting out on a clean wall, climbing up on a ladder, sketching with broad strokes, refining the letterforms, adding little details, etc. It’s a chance for me to take a break from the computer and create something purely by hand. I’m such a crafter at heart!”
Design is a process and I hope by everyone seeing this they can be motivated by the time and effort she puts into a single piece, and realize that the computer is not our only means of expression. Working with our hands is how we learned as a child, and sometimes I think people need to step away from technology and return to their roots. The images our hand can produce are what we know best, and one of our greatest creative tools.