The Art of Lettering

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Contributor Carla Scheri recently sat down with Sign Artist Brian Denahy at Bent Water Brewing Company

by Carla Scheri

Brian Denahy
photo by Joe Legere

The Bent Water Taproom was full of energy on Trivia Night as I sat tipping a Pearl Wheat with local sign artist Brian Denahy. We both agreed the Taproom was a hidden jewel of Lynn, of which there are many. “I see such great value in Lynn and I’m definitely drawn to it”, Brian says over the din of trivia excitement.

After interning at the Downtown Lynn Cultural District through the Salem State EXPECT program, Brian was then hired as the District’s Communications Coordinator. He contributed to many initiatives, including the Ghosts of Lynn “big photo” installation that hangs in Central Square. Not only did he help plan the project, he painted the “Ghosts of Lynn” logo that you see on the wall.

Brian, a Swampscott native, is quite familiar with Lynn, having graduated from Raw Art Works in 2008. He enrolled in the Real to Reel Film School and as he puts it “it definitely informed my world view. Not only by meeting all kinds of different kids from different backgrounds, RAW gave me the encouragement and confidence to pursue my art.” RAW, of course is yet another jewel of Lynn.

Brian’s style derives from a love of vintage lettering, back when computers didn’t rule the day and when “letters had soul.” His preferred medium is oil based enamels, particularly the 1 Shot brand. While Brian has done many custom signs, he aspires to do bigger pieces such as murals on buildings and the like.

When asked how art improves the world, Brian expresses what a lot of us feel. “Art is what makes life worth living. It enriches and expands your mind, and saves you from the 9-5 grind of getting up, going to work, going home, going to bed and then doing it all over again, day after day. It is what separates humans from the rest of the species.”

Along with custom signage, Brian also does logo design, lettering and branding. He is actively taking on clients and does commission work as well. His website is

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