Have you noticed a growing number of gilded logos on cafe windows around Sydney? It’s likely that they’re the work of Sign-painter Will Lynes, of Lynes and Co. Will is one of only a few glass-gilders in the country. His work has an air of well-established quality that is all the more impressive when you consider that he has only been gilding professionally for a few short years. This week, Will was kind enough to answer a few questions for us: Who did you learn the craft of traditional sign-painting & gilding from?
When first starting out I looked into courses at Tech but they were mostly geared towards vinyl and computer based signage, something I wasn’t really interested in. So I got down to practicing…. having no one to learn from first hand I jumped straight into trying to paint letters and quickly realized there was a lot more to it than just banging out painted letters. I started reading as much as I could and drawing loads.
About a year into it I came across the work of now good friend Dave Smith from Torquay in England. I was familiar with Glass gilding and had tried some of the techniques but his work just floored me… So technically on-point and awesome to look at! So I saved up for a while and went to see him for a week-long intensive gilding course which was unreal.
I learned so much from that one week and have just been excited to keep going and try and progress in every aspect of it from there. I really enjoy the whole process of glass work, the smell of the size, laying of the leaf, blending colours. The list could go on!
Which projects are you working on now?
We have just finished up fifty mirrors for Stella Artois that had their logo etched into the glass and then water gilt with 12 Karat White Gold Leaf. A couple of bars and cafes around Sydney, and a few commissioned glass panels in the workshop.
Are there artists or sign-makers who you take inspiration from, for your work?
Absolutely. I think there are a lot of great artists and sign painters out there who are doing great things! Its inspiring to see the differences in approaches and techniques from these guys, they are all using similar mediums and processes yet the work produced is vastly different due to their individual style.. it blows me away sometimes the creativity that people have! Just to name a few…. Dave Smith, Nathan Pickering, Ken Davis, Shannon Peel, Revok, Josh Luke, Greg Heger… these guys really inspire me and keep me driven to keep pushing and working hard!! There’s too many to name really though.
How much of your work is self-initiated, as opposed to commission work?
I guess most of my commercial work is commissioned. I’m constantly working on my own personal artworks and signs in my spare time though… not that I really have any so I guess that stuff is all self initiated. I think that answers the question?
You did a piece for Colossal Media in NY. How did that come about?
We follow each other on Instagram actually, and my partner is originally from the states. We were there a couple of years back for Christmas seeing her family and I contacted Paul from Colossal to catch up and check out their workshop. He took me on a shop tour and introduced me to all the guys there.. even bought me lunch! Those dudes are super nice and their work is really on point. Its amazing the scale they work on. A month or two later Paul contacted me asking if I was interested in doing a bespoke glass panel for their shop… I was stoked! He gave me creative freedom with it so I just had fun with it and it made it there in one piece!
This is a funny one. I think unfortunately a lot of people still don’t see the relevance and importance of a hand-crafted sign. A lot of small businesses are really going back to that hand-crafted aesthetic and putting a big investment into their fitouts. Real timber floors, copper piping, hand made tiles…and then a nice vinyl sticker for their shopfront signage! There doesn’t quite seem to be that connection made yet in a lot of cases that a hand crafted sign is beautiful and lives in that world. It too deserves that same attention to detail and respect.
I think having a hand-crafted sign really makes such a huge difference in engaging people on a daily basis. It’s not sterile and lifeless like vinyl, you can really see a human connection to it and I think that’s what draws people in and makes them feel comfortable which ultimately is what a business is after and besides that they just look cool!
Do you see a growing interest in hand-made signs in Sydney?
Yeah there is absolutely a growing trend in Sydney at the moment. Its worldwide. Both businesses and craftsmen/artists are engaging in it more which ultimately I think is a positive thing.