Life and Education
Dana Tanamachi was born and raised in Texas, though she currently resides in Brooklyn. After receiving her Communication Design degree from the University of North Texas, Tanamachi’s career started with designing Broadway posters for SpotCo. She then went on to work under renown designer Louise Fili. After working for Fili, she opened Tanamachi Studio.
Tanamachi is know for her hand lettered chalk typography. Her design work is primarily featured on large-scale installations, book and magazine covers, and packaging. Her process of creating her chalk art installations is also thoroughly documented in time-lapse videos.
Tanamachi’s path to chalk lettering started with a friend asking her to draw with him on a chalkboard wall at a housewarming party. Her wall design was an instant hit, and she began creating chalk backdrops for more friends’ parties.
“These chalk backdrops gave me a good excuse to use my hands and continue drawing letters. I only considered it as practice because I thought, it’s just chalk—it’s so temporary and there’s no consequence. It was really freeing because I wouldn’t even sketch beforehand; I would just go for it. I would leave feeling full of creative energy and loved seeing my friends laughing, dancing, and celebrating with my work as the backdrop. I also loved working at such a large scale, which was something new for me. I suppose the “aha” moment came when I realized I had found the thing that could allow me to practice and improve my lettering skills, serve my friends, and have some fun in the process” (http://thegreatdiscontent.com).
Tanamachi notes that the physicality of chalk lettering is immensely satisfying for her. She also describes her general attitude towards both her life and her design work, as
“‘self-forgetfulness’. It’s all too easy to get caught up in what we’re doing or what’s being said about us. Let’s be honest—whether we tend to think too highly or too poorly of ourselves, either way we’re thinking about ourselves. The world doesn’t revolve around us; how can we look outside ourselves to speak encouragement, offer words of wisdom, or meet a practical need? I need help with this!” (http://thegreatdiscontent.com).
Links to Her Work and Articles About Her
Interview by Tina Essmaker
What’s in Your Toolbox: Dana Tanamchi by Ginny Stelling
Evoking the Past With Dusty Letters by Rachel Wolff
Interview on The By & By Blog