Josh Luke graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a BFA in painting in 2000. He then went on to apprentice and work at New Bohemia Signs in San Francisco, one of the most prominent hand-painted sign businesses in the country. In 2010 he moved east to pursue an MFA at the Art Institute of Boston and to open his own company, Best Dressed Signs, whose work is widely featured throughout Boston.
As an artist, I view my public works as a way to participate in and positively affect the visual landscape of my city. As a newcomer to Boston, it's great to know that the city has recently invested in beautifying its streets and storefronts. An investment in public art can not only help the city to progress aesthetically but also pay tribute to its rich architectural history.
As a sign painter, I enjoy cultivating the transition from line, to letter, to word, to overall composition. From a simple line of pencil on paper, the development from sketch to a fully realized sign in all its flourishes is the best part of hand lettering. Shaping—by hand and by brush—the lines and curves of letterforms, along with creating a balance between letters, is the most challenging and rewarding part of sign painting. The beauty of hand lettering resides in the inconsistencies created by the human hand, but part of the challenge and fun of hand painted signs is the goal of minimizing, as much as possible, these inconsistencies.
My academic work draws on my experience in public art, and bridges the commercial and conceptual realms through the application of a variety of materials and surfaces including glass, wood, and cement. My extensive experience in creating works of public art, both in collaboration with others and as an individual designer and painter, has led me to appreciate the value of the street as a canvas on which to reach the popular viewer and aestheticize public space.