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Blog – Ode to typography: Interview with Will Lynes

Posted on Feb. 14, 2017 by Claire Hastwell View Comments
Will Lynes of Lynes & Co. is a Sydney-based decorative artist and designer, who specialises in traditional hand-painted signwriting, murals, decorative glass art, and a variety of decorative painted finishes. Last month Will painted the text ‘Everything Else’ on artist Agatha Gothe-Snape’s work Emotional Wall with Everything Else, (2012–13), currently on display in Primavera at 25: MCA Collection, a 17-metre long wall painting in the MCA Galleries. We jumped at the chance to talk to the celebrated signwriter about his work and influences.

In the work of Emotional Wall with Everything Else, Agatha Gothe-Snape invites a signwriter to hand paint the text 'Everything Else’ in a font of their choice. How did the project with Agatha Gothe-Snape come about?

Agatha and I have worked on a previous project together. She contacted me to see if I’d be interested in working together again and I jumped at the chance. Such a great opportunity to work on a larger scale and at the MCA of all places!

Is this the first time you have collaborated with another artist on their work

I’ve worked on several projects with type-based artists like Gemma O’brien before. Most of them have been commercial jobs where we have been engaged to execute the artist’s signage/ mural works at a large scale.

You have created beautiful typography using traditional signwriting techniques for popular Sydney haunts like Brickfields and Coogee Pavilion. How important is typography for conveying the emotion or identity of a brand or place do you think?

I think typography is key in showcasing the identity or emotion of a brand. Businesses often place so much importance on the fitout of a venue, paying special attention to everything inside such as light fittings and custom made timber benches, only to use a vinyl sticker for their signage with lettering that has been typed out in Word rather than designed. I have nothing against vinyl and it has its place, but it just doesn’t reflect a lot of the same values that businesses are trying to portray. Lettering and signage if done correctly, and with the same loving approach and thought behind it as the interior, will actually make the business more money. While the inside of the venue is what will keep people there, it’s the exterior branding and typography that will draw them in.

Are there any famous works of typography in art, history or popular culture that have been an influence to you?

I’d have to say the work of Keith Haring was pretty influential. While most of his work is accompanied by imagery, his lettering work was great. His Crack is Wack (1986) mural in New York was amazing. His lettering and style has really influenced a lot of artists that are around today.

We noticed you had earphones in while you were painting. What do you listen to while you work?

Everything really. That particular day was a rap mix tape by Eli Escobar. But I love blues, Stevie Ray Vaughan and BB King. I listen to most types of music really… I could go on for days

If you were a font, what would it be?

Mmmmmm that’s a tough one. I’ll get back to you.

Would you say fonts have personalities?

Yeah, for sure. There are definitely certain type designers who you can see their influence or style coming through in their lettering. I guess it’s kind of like people, you get a wide range personalities, sizes, shapes etc… lettering can be the same.

Agatha Gothe-Snape’s Emotional Wall with Everything Else (2012–13), with Will’s hand-painted text, is currently on display in Primavera at 25: MCA Collection until 19 March 2017. Learn more about Agatha’s work here.

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Claire Hastwell
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Claire helps grow online audiences for the MCA. Listening to them, talking to them and understanding them. When she is not working she is hunting for the best scoop of gelato. Real Italian gelato.

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