Saturday, February 22, 2014

Letter lust

Oh, our passions, our obsessions, enthusiasms. They are not voices that shriek or whisper for no reason. They call us to ourselves.  Hand-lettering as a form of expression is hissing at me in its outdoor voice.  It is the match no dating service could top - words and drawing.  And, of course, pens or pencils.  Not really a couple, more like a small tribe of perfect things brought together.  Love objects and the wild happiness of being their playmate.
Hand-lettered art by Lisa Congdon, from her 365 Days of Hand-Lettering.  Some work included in her newest book, due April 1.
As a junior in high school, I felt my career vision derailed by an imperfectly executed (so I was told) commercial art assignment of words and brush lettering.  I switched to journalism where the encouragement was more robust.  A good choice.  Yet here I am, 53 years later, lusting and hankering and sketching in the small hours, scribbling in the dark phrases like "giant billowing underpants" so I don't forget them when I am marginally more alert.  Don't ask me what sort of home the underpants would find but don't let me see it turn up elsewhere.  I claim it as my own.

In Facebook roaming a few days ago I found a statement from Azucar Magazine, "There is an awakening going on.  You know that."  At first I took it as a reference to the spiritual, then watched it widen to mean all matters of the spirit and heart and mind and hand.  Yes, I do know that.  I live it, the transformation of a discouraged art-class drop-out into a model of five-alarm besottment with what had always appealed to me.

Today I may practice writing "captivated" and "ensnared" and "infatuated," though I do believe it is beyond those.  It is true love, misidentified too often before, this time here to stay.


Antares Cryptos said...

I like those prints and typography. There is a resurgence of hand lettering, which is wonderful as writing stimulates our brains more than typing.

Anonymous said...

YES! hand lettering is thundering through the minds of The Creatives at an astonishing rate! happy that later, even THIS much later, you're back at it because we all know: anything that catches YOUR attention will be oh so good.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Antares - I like Lisa's work. The day I discovered it, I know I spent hours there. And as you and I have discussed, the tools of hand lettering are every bit as seductive as the art itself. Jet Pens may be the devil's storefront. So good to see you here, thank you. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Lisa - Thank you. I have "played" with it for many years, one of the few consistent forms in my sketchbooks but here of late the grip has become tighter. I was thinking of the quote from Walt Whitman I shared somewhere recently, that "nothing is ever really lost." We are called home to our authentic selves. I know your Rumi journal is about, among other things, hand lettering. As one of my former husbands used to say, "Fools seldom differ." Hah. Foolish and glad of it. xo

Melissa Green said...

Love it, love it, Marylinn. "Giant billowing underpants' gave me the first hoot of laughter for over a week, I think. It's yours. Whose else's could it be? Our passions do call us to ourselves, and as for 'five-alarm besottment', well, I defy anyone to describe our loves better than that. Love Lisa's work very much. Thank you for this repost. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Melissa - There they are, on the clothesline in my mind, giant billowing underpants, a sail for the escape vessel, the parachute for a family of airborne porcupines. I, too, love Lisa's work and letter forms do seem to be the voice on today's wind (which also billows the giant underpants and waves the palm fronds). I spent some time gliding around Pinterest earlier, the haven with no agenda other than inspiration and food for the soul. The artist Cate Edwards, I found, has wonderful boards, places to become truly lost. One has the sense that a rope has finally been thrown down into the well where I've been held captive and I may be able to climb out. xo