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Draplin Design Co., North America

Dusty Signs from Hunter Johnson on Vimeo.

I was chipping away at my bloated, festering Inbox late last night, trying like hell to get down to the mythical, mystical, unattainable “ZERO INBOX” status. I usually hover around 150 messages, and as of 12:59 in the AM late last night, I was down into the 50s! The 50s! Proud. I do my goddamn best to answer EVERY email. It might take me a couple months on the fun/fan/good vibes stuff, but I get around to it.

So last night I was going through all the emails I blew it on in November and December. Shit was just too busy. And one of them was from a Dan Madsen in Minneapolis, Minn. He’s a sign painter who had a great grandpa pioneering this ancient art generations ago. That’s some serious DNA.

My great grandfather ran a bar in Detroit, so the story goes. Anyhoo.

Now some time back someone sent me a cool video of Dan applying his craft. I think I might’ve tweeted it, but hell, I can’t remember. That’s what you are seeing up above. So awesome.

Be sure to check Dan’s site: Dusty Signs.

And his impressive Flickr stash: Dusty Signs’ Photostream

This, precisely, is the stuff that gives me hope. In an overly incestuous world of graphic design trending and style wars, here’s a guy with a brush and some paint. The basics, and fuck if it isn’t some of the most refreshing shit going. His great grandad made a living at it. I hope Dan can too.

Someday, “Signpainting” will be added to my list of services. Count on this. I’ve been chasing carrots on sticks for a decade, doing my damnedest to make a hearty living, take care of those around me, and love every bit of it. I feel thankful to have been able to pull it off for a decade. Defies the odds.

Thank you, Dan Madsen.. Keep up the good work! Holy shit man, please come to the Walker in March! I’ve got a front row seat for ya at my halfwit speaking fiasco I’ll be jawing to the Minneapolis design community. Details, soon.

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ONE WEEK FROM TODAY, PHOENIX!: DDC vs. PHOENIX! We’re coming for you! Our first speaking fiasco of the new year, and it’s gonna be a real motherfucker. Southwest style! Tarantula fangs, scorpion tails and rattler bites! Let’s do this, desert people! Here’s the official link. If you live in Phoenix, or hell, Arizona at large, you need to come to this. Seriously.

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THE GREATEST OF LAKES: Tim Kapustka knows Michigan. Check out his “A General Chart of Lake Michigan” poster. Great stuff. Tim wrote me forever ago, and I’m finally getting his links up on my site. Keep up the good work, fellow Michigander!

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There Are 4 Comments

Its so badass to hear a story like this… So inspiring and well just cool as shit to hear someone’s story about carrying on a family tradition. Makes me want to start screen printing again after a 2 year break, i miss the blood, sweat & satisfaction from doing it man.

Props to you both - Dan Madsen and DDC!! Keepin shit creative, period.


Posted by: Justin Cantwell on 02/05/12 at 1:51 AM

I’ve been getting back into lettering lately. I even stopped back in at the old sign shop I worked for in Ogallala, NE when I was back seeing the folks before SIA. Good stuff, thanks for posting that.

Posted by: Styk on 02/06/12 at 3:05 PM

WOW some great looking work getting done there!

Posted by: Adam on 02/21/12 at 3:08 PM

The world is a better place, my day has been made better. Thanks Aaron

Posted by: Nick Rhodes on 02/24/12 at 6:16 AM
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