Visual Arts

Kevin Hennessy on making folk art and other signs of the time

Once you recognize Kevin Hennessy's singular style, it's hard not to notice his work all over Denver. "I used to do the specials on the chalkboard at City, O' City when I worked there -- they'd leave me on the clock and let me (design)," says Hennessy, whose official job at the restaurant was much more kitchen-oriented.

Now that he's making art full-time, Hennessy's hand-crafted font graces the sign that greets customers outside the remodeled incarnation of City, O' City. Hennessy's work is retro without being contrived; instead, the wild style of his graffiti upbringing has merged with the American folk art he's come to respect in a way that looks authentically vintage. The imperfect curves and wiggly lines in his lettering are impossible to reproduce without human hands -- and Hennessy likes it that way.

With Hennessy's Summer Mumbo solo show hanging at Ironwood through the end of the month, Westword caught up with the artist to talk more about bad fonts, good signs and a love for a time gone by.

See also: - Q&A: Chuck Dorsey's old-school window painting reanimates South Broadway - Best of Denver 2012 - Best Eclectica: Ironwood Collection - Artist and writer: An interview with my brother, painter Evan Kutz

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Bree Davies is a multimedia journalist, artist advocate and community organizer born and raised in Denver. Rooted in the world of Do-It-Yourself arts and music, Davies co-founded Titwrench experimental music festival, is host of the local music and comedy show Sounds on 29th on CPT12 Colorado Public Television and is creator and host of the civic and social issue-focused podcast, Hello? Denver? Are You Still There? Her work is centered on a passionate advocacy for all ages, accessible, inclusive, non-commercial and autonomous DIY art spaces and music venues in Denver.
Contact: Bree Davies