In a row of shops with neon or plastic signs, Chris Mackenzie-Gray’s hand-painted signs make quite a statement. Ranging from very small door numbers to large-scale murals (and everything else in between), his work combines typography with design, adding that extra oomph to his otherwise bland surroundings.
“There are a few different ways of doing it,” says Mackenzie-Gray. “You can draw a design, print it up on acetate, project it onto the wall, trace it onto wrapping paper, and then use the pounce, (or pounce-wheel), running it over the design perforates the paper, and then use a chalk pad. You put your design on the wall where you want it, bang the chalk pad through, take the paper off and you’ve got a dotted line. A lot of these methods are hundreds of years old; things haven’t changed much at all.”
After graduating with a degree in graphic design at LCC, with a focus on typography, Mackenzie-Gray took a leap of faith and opened his business, Toucan Signs. His intuition seemed to have proved correct. Working both digitally and by hand, his signs can be seen at Honest Burgers and the Museum of London, with his painting surfaces varying to include brick walls, gloss, shop faces, and glass.
But you can also follow his creative thought process on his Instagram page: