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August 26, 2011 / Raffy Pekson II

The Almost Lost Art of Chalk Lettering Reborn

Sample Chalk Art by Dana Tanamachi

One of the things you hardly see anymore are hand lettering on chalkboards at cafes and restaurants offering today’s specials. It’s been replaced by neon lights, plastic, aluminum and probably even whiteboard and markers. Then, I landed on this sight and spent a good hour or two touring its album of what I’d like to call “chalk art.”

Hey! Didn’t you do this in school or the concrete pavement? I know I did! A lot! Growing up without desktops, iPhones and the World Wide Web, my generation was pretty much left alone to wander with our creativity on what to do with existing materials, like chalk. (I wanted to mention pagers but dreaded kids asking, “What’s that?”) Fine, in high school my classmates and I would have a “chalk fight” (worse was eraser fights – ouch!) or throw used chalk at the rotating ceiling fans and running for lives before the projectile shattered into dozens of pieces like shrapnel; but we’d end up drawing graffiti upon lettering on the pavement streets of our house, my neighbor’s house, my classmate’s house, the school, and every place I’d end up being bored.

Dana Tanamachi

“Dana Tanamachi is a graphic designer and custom chalk letterer living in Brooklyn, New York. She currently works at Louise Fili Ltd.” That’s what the home page says about the author. Her “About” page describes her more as a graphic designer and custom chalk letterer who enjoys crafting, reading, walking, and especially listening to Country music from the 1990s. But creativity lies as she moonlights as a custom chalk letterer, from simple menu blackboards to large-scale chalk art on indoor and outdoor walls. Truly gifted; truly amazing.

Though not as complex and trueform as Dana’s work, I scoured her website looking at the beautiful graphics and admiring her work while reminiscing of decades-old time of childhoodness. Sigh. Maybe you store and restaurant owners reading this can revitalize the art in chalk again.

You can view Dana’s chalk art albums, and even some time-lapse videos showing her at work at her website.

Source: Dana Tanamachi Website

Images and photos are from



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