Graffiti Artist Rooted in Hip-Hop: Meet the Signtologist


The influence of graffiti looms large on the art world at all times, from a street artist like Banksy being hailed as master by traditional art critics to a graffiti artist like Barry McGee transferring his work from a wall to a canvas. There are also artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, who brought the street art directly into the gallery. Dan Ericson, better known by his moniker “The Signtologist”, is one of these artists.

An Artist with a Focus on the World of Hip-Hop


(image via: ARTST)

The Signtologist’s niche in the art world is one of those “so simple I wish I had thought of it” ideas – he paints portraits on street signs. The mostly monochromatic portraits tend to be of figures important to the world of hip-hop – one that’s deeply important for The Signtologist. In fact, as the artist told one journalist, it was a hip-hop artist (Black Thought, the rapper from The Roots) who gave him his monicker.


(image via: ARTST)

The Signtologist’s most famous piece is his bullet-ridden Stop Sign portrait of slain rapper The Notorious B.I.G.


(image via: ARTST)

This piece is emblematic of both the weaknesses and ultimate strengths of The Signtologist’s works. While a piece like this, with its obvious political undertones (as he mentioned in an interview) seems like it SHOULD matter, but it doesn’t.


(image via: ARTST)

And what raises The Signtologist’s work well above the “mere novelty” of street signs being used as canvases is the quality of the work – the hand-painted portraits are expertly and beautifully crafted and, no matter what your opinion on street art may be, you can’t seem to take your eyes off the works.



(images via: ARTST)

That’s the brilliant part about painting on signs that are designed to be seen by distracted drivers – you CAN’T miss them.


(image via: ARTST)

If you’d like to see more of The Signtologist’s work, head over to his profile on ARTST, the brand new online community for artists started by The Neptunes’ Pharrell Williams.