Art of Words is the creation of Philadelphia word artist Dan Duffy. He recreates images of iconic places and moments in history by meticulously handwriting relevant words. Between skylines, sports, history and musicians-there’s a piece for everyone.
Duffy has previously worked with TED Talks, Footlocker, the University of Maryland, NBC Sports, the Philadelphia Flyers and more. Additionally, his work has been featured by ESPN, NY Daily News, USA Today, and the Today Show.
He began in the suburbs of Philadelphia under the name Philly Word Art, creating art of Philadelphia sports figures and landmarks and selling them at various flea markets and craft fairs.
There are now 5 holiday stores as they are in NYC for the first time this year at the Union Square Holiday Market. Fans can purchase them online (link below) and they make great holiday gifts.
When did you realize word art would be your career choice?
I wouldn’t necessarily say there was once defining moment….once I created one, people just started making suggestions for the next pieces and it grew from there!
What inspired you to create word art?
My girlfriend at the time was a big Phillies fan and they had just won the World Series in ‘08. I wanted to do something special and creative for her, so I wrote out every score from that season to create an image of Brad Lidge.
Can you share how you impressed your future wife with your art?
What is the process for creating a word art?
First I research the data (names/scores/song lyrics, etc.) and compile up to 10 different images. Using those as reference, I sketch out a new original image and just start writing out the words line by line.
What was the first word art you created?
2008 Phillies Road to the World Series
The decision to take your art to a new level and create a business model — how did that come about?
This had all started out as a grassroots movement, selling in tailgate lots & flea markets. I’m lucky to be in a city like Philly that takes its sports teams and city pride very seriously because that helped the word of mouth grow. We started booking more and more craft fairs which ended up growing into holiday stores in Philly, NYC and Baltimore.
How do you choose the images/people for your projects?
I try to pick images that do the best job of representing a specific moment or place. For example, Jose Altuve was chosen for the 2017 Astros World Series, he was the MVP and just an overall great player to watch.
What project are you currently working on?
Currently working on an image for Soldier Field — it will be handwritten with every Bears player in history!
Do you make custom pieces?
I don’t typically take on custom work, but occasionally a team or company will reach out with an idea that could be mutually beneficial! I do enjoy getting to make these images come together for others!
Duffy’s music pieces include Bruce Springsteen, Jerry Garcia, and Frank Sinatra. His history collection includes the Liberty Bell, Abraham Lincoln, and the American Flag. The cities featured include Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.