Passing on the Art of Sign-Writing: A Lesson from Master to Student


Sign-writing, an age-old craft, is being passed down from a master sign-writer to a young apprentice. As the trade faces the threat of disappearance, 70-year-old BJ Graham teaches 21-year-old Halle the art of sign-writing, emphasizing the importance of preserving this tradition.

The Art of Sign-Writing: An Old Tradition Faces Uncertain Future

Sign-writing, while ubiquitous, is often overlooked by younger generations. The intricate processes involved in creating sign-writing letters demand patience, perseverance, and precision, making it a craft that requires careful nurturing to pass on.

BJ Graham: A Lifelong Passion for Sign-Writing

BJ Graham, a 70-year-old retiree, has been devoted to sign-writing since he began at the age of 19. Self-taught and dedicated, he is committed to sharing his craft with younger generations, fearing the disappearance of this art form. He emphasizes the benefits of hands-on learning and aims to preserve the vast knowledge of sign-writing for the future.

Halle’s Journey into Sign-Writing

Halle, a 21-year-old visual communications student, recently discovered the art of sign-writing and is captivated by the craft. Under BJ’s mentorship, she is considering sign-writing as a potential career path, highlighting the impact of intergenerational knowledge transfer.

The Importance of Preserving Sign-Writing

BJ stresses the significance of passing on the trade to younger generations, expressing concern over the potential decline of the sign-writing industry. He believes that without the involvement of young people, the industry as a whole may face deterioration.

Embracing Tradition and Learning from Elders

Halle emphasizes the value of learning from older generations and expresses gratitude for the opportunity to observe and learn from BJ, drawing parallels between the experience and her interactions with her own grandparents. She reflects on the power of picking up a brush and the emotional impact of witnessing the lineage of a single brushstroke.