Thanks again for taking the time in your day to talk to us, can you tell us little bit about who you are and the work that you do?
I am a New Zealand artist with a focus on calligraphy, lettering and typographic illustration. My work takes on a number of forms from contemporary calligraphic artworks and commercial illustrations to large scale hand-painted murals.
In 2017 I established Scribble Me This a small design studio specialising in custom hand lettering for brand identities, advertising, signs and weddings.
My interest in type was sparked when I was studying design and illustration at CATC in Melbourne. We had one typography paper but it was all digital and it was my tutor Simon Ashford who encouraged me to start illustrating type by hand and learn calligraphy. I did a few workshops in Melbourne with Wayne Thompson and Bobby Haiqalsyah.
I started learning calligraphy at night school when I moved back to New Zealand and to start it was a hobby on the side of my graphic design job but it has developed over the last few years to come a key part of my art and design.
Who,what,where, or when influence your style and helped shape the way you work now?
There are several young calligraphers, mainly European, who I hugely admire and am influenced by on a daily basis. Luca Barcellona, Remrk, Pokras Lampas to name a few.
In 2014 I did a workshop in Arezzo, Italy with Italian Calligrapher Monica Dengo. That workshop introduced me to gestural contemporary calligraphy and has driven much of the expressive calligraphic work I do now. Two other workshops I have done, with Dutch calligrapher Elmo van Slingerland and Belgian calligrapher Brody Neuenschwander, have both helped shape my work and push my skills in a new direction.
I think there is a benefit to being able to use both analogue and digital techniques.
Generally speaking, I am always hand first and going digital depends a bit on the job. All my artworks are often a process of experimenting, I do a lot of gestural calligraphy using a range of different tools and materials. This is all done by hand and the final artwork will be done by hand. I do turn some of these into digital prints and risograph prints which involves them going through Photoshop. For client work again my process will often start using a range of pens and working the word or phrase over and over. From there I will often trace over that, correcting elements along the way and if it needs to be I will digitise it using Illustrator. I also recently purchased the iPad Pro and Apple pencil so there is a lot of trial and error going on with that, it is not the same as doing it by hand but is pretty awesome technology.
I think my background in architecture played a part in me being drawn to calligraphy, lettering and type. There are certain rules and systems around how letters are created which I think relates to the formal nature of architecture. What I enjoy now is the freedom to break those rules and experiment more.
I think being a calligrapher in New Zealand can be challenging because there isn’t the respect, understanding or history of the craft that exists in Europe or Asia.
I feel because of this I am split between my calligraphic work and creating more commercial lettering that appeals to the New Zealand audience. This was the motivation for starting Scribble Me This earlier this year so I could keep the two separate.
At the moment it is by trying new techniques and materials. Experimenting with new colours, or paint mediums I haven’t tried before. I try to push myself out of my comfort zone and experiment a lot and just see what happens.
I haven’t had too many bad clients or projects, but the ones that have been are very memorable! Which is a shame that one bad apple can be such a buzz kill when there are so many good apples around you! I think remembering that the worst situations are few and far between many great situations is pretty key, learning not to dwell to long, take it as a lesson learned and move on. The best advice I have been given is to “only work on projects that inspire you, with people that you aspire to.” I really try to consider that when I am meeting a new client, and knowing it is ok to say no if you feel the project, or person, doesn’t feel right.
Keep practicing your craft, try different styles, experiment, find what you love to do and work at it. And put your work out there, even if it is just a sketch or work in progress, even if you aren’t really loving the final product – show the world (Bobby gave me that great advice about 4 years ago!)
I think it is awesome that there seems to be such a renewed interest in calligraphy, lettering and type and think you guys are awesome for helping keep that interest going.