Over the last weeks I’ve been once more exploring calligraphy. I love handwriting and the handwritten, it’s like drawing only with words.
These are a few examples of my calligraphic experiments from the last two months. At first I wanted to create beautiful handwritten texts that also work as an image. Soon I found this too boring, and I did what I usually do when I work with colors: I began to add layer oveer layer, and I try to achieve something deep and unusual. At this point I started to like what I did.
I used nibs, Chinese and normal brushes, brush pens, pipettes and different can pens (Make your own!) on any paper I could find. I used inks, watercolors, gouache, bleach and wood stain as writing liquids. When it comes to handwriting, I’m often a traditionalist – I like blue, greyish and black inks best. But! Bleach looks really awesome on colored paper. It creates an impression of written light when I use it, but you have to handle it carefully since it’s pretty hazardous stuff. I also enjoyed unusual colors like orange to accentuate elements.
I’ve always been writing. I loved those learning to write exercises in kindergarten, I loved to write essays in school and I still have two real pen and paper pen pals. I write a diary. I use written words in my paintings as well. Writing comes naturally to me. I just enjoy a writing tool dancing smoothly over a sheet of beautiful paper. I’ve always been playful with words. And yes, I’m a bit geeky about those things.
In calligraphy, you usually look for a nice piece of text, an aphorism or a poem when you start playing with its possibilities. I don’t. I just write down what’s on my mind. Sometimes it’s poetic, sometimes it’s a reflection of the writing process, and sometimes it’s pure nonsense.
These are all experiments, and I’d only call a few pieces “done”, but I much like all of them. I still collect ideas of what I could do next with them. My favorite writings are those with at least three layers of color or words. I like the depth of these images, and I love to discover what’s behind the next layer.
As much as I like the handwritten, I also like hand-lettering and typography. I think this is because I’m genuinely interested in communication, and how to communicate beautifully and well.
These are all preparations for something I don’t know yet. It is important to work on these pieces right now, and I’m pretty curious where this may lead to. I sometimes dream of animated words and I want to incorporate even more words into my paintings and my installations. I let my intuition guide me.
I’m now thinking what I could do with all those little calligraphic experiments. There are not like finished artworks yet, and they’ll probably never be. I could use them within another project as I did before or I could make a book of them, because I like books. I don’t know yet, but I’ll let you know for which option I went.
Which is your favorite?