When artist Mark Madden first took a look at Brawler’s Deli’s‘ (at Pearl Street Bar & Grill) iconic effigies – the brawler and his maiden – he was shocked to see the havoc that the weather had dished out upon them. The mascots were chipped, worn and faded, as were the accompanying signs.
It was business owner Earl Ketry who had first called upon Madden, to see if he could bring the figures and the signs back to life. It turns out that Madden had originally gone to school for this type of work, and before moving to Buffalo he interned at Seneca Designs in West Virginia, which specializes in these types of restorations.
“The signs were barely legible,” said Madden, who points out that there are a lot of other signs around Buffalo that could use some love and attention. “In order to work on the brawler and his maiden, I had to Spiderman my ass up the building to get to where they were perched. Then we took the signs down to work on those. I’m happy to be a part of the revival of this type of old world sign painting – we’re seeing this movement come back in cities across the US. Instead of people just slapping some vinyl signage up, they are actually caring about what their signs look like, and the message that they convey to customers. It’s all about being prideful in what you do. I take this stuff very seriously – the signs were extremely weather worn, as were the figures… it doesn’t take long for these types of hand painted works to get weather worn. That’s why I’m adding clear coat to everything, so that they get an extended life that will last years and years. I got married at Pearl Street Grill and Brewery… now I’m back here ten years later helping to restore these fun characters.”
Along with preserving the original integrity of the original works, Madden likes to add his own little “pulses” and “flavors”, which he calls his Madd Seal of Approval. For example, he’s painting the maiden’s shoes red, because he thought that she resembled Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Currently, Madden is in discussions with businesses along Amherst Street to spruce up some faded and worn signage in Black Rock. He’s already worked on refreshing a number of old signs around the city (such as Terrapin Station), and is looking to get his name out there for this type of work.
It is interesting to note that before Madden opened up a tattoo studio in Buffalo, his initial startup was more of an urban design agency. Now he’s getting back to his original roots, because he loves to see these old works restored and given prolonged life.
If you’re in the market for a commercial sign sprucer upper, contact Madd Graffix at 716-783-7652.
Brawler’s Back Alley Deli | 76 Pearl Street | Buffalo NY | 716-939-3670