Raised in a small New York town, Jack Kohler Byers says his fascination with typography began when he observed the fading letters of hand-painted signs during his family visits to a nearby industrial city.
“These fragmented messages activated my imagination to speculate about the day they were freshly painted, who painted them, and the different events that led to their decay,” Kohler Byers shared with Art of Choice. “These century-old letters formed a dynamic contrast with more contemporary letters being painted around the city by its younger occupants.”
As he grew up, these century-old fragmented messages didn’t fade out, but rather engulfed him. And so, he decided to use this as inspiration to jumpstart his art. Wholly self-taught, he learned his craft by reading and picking up wisdom from others. “When I first started getting serious about making artwork, I put a ton of emphasis on making something finished and perfect each time,” he recalled. “This led to occasional successes, but much more frequent periods of frustration and burnout. As time goes on, I’ve learned how to walk away and let time work on a piece for a bit. Instead of tearing up a drawing that wasn’t coming out the way I want, I now roll it up and stick it in a tube. Months later I come back to it and have none of the prior frustration, and it becomes a kind of game to resolve the chaos into something I like.”
Living and working in New York City, he makes both personal and commercial art. Most of his pieces are created with ink and paper, but he also cerates incredible murals – all revolving around letters that sometimes form words and sentences but most always fade out to nothing.
Here are some of our favorite: