Visual art knows no boundaries, from a spray of graffiti to a mosaic of the Mona Lisa made of liquorice allsorts, there’s something for everyone. Through a series of articles showcasing various artists, AsiaLIFE looks at who is colouring our island. Words by Prim, Photography Shells.

Phuket Chalk Signs is the masterpiece of chalk sign-writer Peter Child. Stepping into his studio the variety and professional quality of his work is immediate. His chalk works are striking, bold and elegant.

Gifted as a natural artist Peter nurtured his talent at college in the UK (many moons ago). Living on Phuket for the past 11 years he has only recently (past 2 and half years) picked up his chalks again and with immediate effect become the prominent sign-writer not only on the island but across South East Asia.

His chalk effect is in essence a weather proof chalk based paint. This ‘old school’ style of sign-writing, which has been in vogue around the globe for some time now, doesn’t just lend itself to trendy bars and eateries. Peter creates antique or modern styles to be emblazoned on all types of surfaces: tiles in subways, glass and mirrors in hotels, on brickwork and wood for all manner of offices, outlets, retails, businesses… if there’s a sign required Pete will chalk it.

Always working freehand, he first sets out the design as a light sketch in chalk. There are no notepads or scraps of paper taped to the wall, he stores the necessary imagery in his head, along with all fonts imaginable. Next, he swiftly and accurately creates the outline and fills in the colour with paint, using an artist’s tool called a mahl stick to steady his hand and protect the surface. Techniques of scraping and scratching into the paint with a scalpel are often employed to produce various effects such as an aged look or intricate patterns on glasswork.

Simple billboard A-frame signs can take a few hours to a few days, with the more intricate detailed glass and tile work a week or more depending on how big the job is.

Chalk sign-writing is a quirky form of art and one possibly under-valued in the art world. Next time you’re out and about lend a few moments to appreciate the skill.

For the full interview, inclusive of Peter’s pick of tunes that inspire, take him back or just simply enjoys, plus the inevitable scotch egg question, you can listen here on: AsiaLIFE radio…

Listen to the interview on Soundcloud

Phuket Chalk Signs