Getting abstract, talking nonsense

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Calligraphy, type and color

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Calligraphy, type and color 2

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Calligraphy, type and color 3

 

I was trained as a graphic designer right during The Transition. I had to make countless exercises by hand, with traditional instruments, with ancient techniques, with state-of-the-art technology available at that time, which was not yet digital.

My frustration at not achieving perfection was equally state-of-the-art.

I had to design posters using transferable type. There was no transferable type available in the color or the size I wanted, so the final result never looked like the design I had in my mind. And somehow my (now gone) hoarder ways allowed those transfer sheets to survive almost intact for over twenty years. I decided I should use them for what I wanted to do now, now they would be a graphic element like any other. Far from trying to achieve a similar effect with a computer (which I try to use as little as possible) I transferred all the letters I could with all the anger of my accumulated frustration at not achieving a decently aligned text line in 1995.

And now I had inks and watercolors, and enamel plates, and a scanner. And eh, yes, a computer. But it does not dictate what I want to do. It only helps me to make images like the ones I have in my mind.

I like being able to mix it all up and make something more expressive and above all, pretty much like what I had in my mind. Something spontaneous and very colorful. I always wear black clothes, but I like color. I LOVE color. The more saturated and contrasting, the better. I think of all the colors that come in flowers, fruits, fish and birds. Color is a powerful force. Keep that in mind.

 

Gestural calligraphy series

rooster

Rooster

frigatebird

Frigatebird

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Abstract calligraphy

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Abstract calligraphy

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Abstract calligraphy

AfricanCrane

Grey crowned crane

lettercrow

calligraphic crow

head

portrait of a girl

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heart of letters

tulips

pot of tulips

birdsinnest

baby birds in a nest

 

This series was made between 2013 and 2015 to experiment with calligraphic textures that occupy more or less defined areas. They also proved to be a relaxing therapy by not having to think too hard about what to write with a pen. It is related to automatic writing exercises where you shouldn’t think before writing and the hand is not controlled by the conscious mind.

Probably a good way of telling what you do not want to tell anyone, putting it on paper but also hiding it to make it unreadable. Or, you can simply write what people say around you. And then you give the shape and composition you want.


One of my professors in grad school liked the abstract ones especially
. I guess the gestural and abstract elements are what caught his attention. I like gestural calligraphy because the hand flows without having to express a coherent language, but must also retain control so the strokes are aesthetically pleasing. And it could mean anything.

For someone introverted like me, it can be a way of express yourself without having to say anything.

 

Unknown Papers

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I lost count of how many waves of paper I had to cut!

One day it just clicked. I had to make it with paper.  This is one of the most famous album covers from a great band. Personally my discover route was through Depeche Mode. Their image maker, Anton Corbijn directed a movie called Control, which I watched when it came out in my country in 2008. I love New Order, too, but I had been oblivious to Joy Division. I know… that’s kind of unforgivable, but better late than never, right? I’ve discovered so many legendary bands way later than I should have, but I did.

The story of the cover of Unknown Pleasures relates to astronomy, a favorite subject of mine when I was in high school. Radio waves from a pulsar. It’s also quite interesting how our graphic representations of abstract things can carry beauty as well. White on white paper was the choice because this way, light plays a big part in the appeal of this piece. Depending on the light, the waves look different every time you look at them.

And of course, like every paper sculpture project, it always challenges my patience. It may take a lot of time to complete one of these pieces because of the amount of attention to detail they need. I end up exhausted and never wanting to make the same piece again. But it’s always worth it, at least in the sense of accomplishment!

You can buy the original piece which was made in 2014 here (Etsy)

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Series: The Rumi Birds

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The poems from Rumi are so simple and powerful, maybe because they are about the deepest emotions and true beauty. They go hand in hand with the imagery of birds because to me they represent the highest ideals and a connection to the whole Earth. These three short poems also resonate with me. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for many years and these words help, and drawing helps too.

The King Vulture is my favorite. With time I’ve come to realize no animal is ugly. Humans have associated human qualities with certain animals, which then carry a bad reputation and face real danger because of human misconceptions. Animals play a very important role in this world and they shouldn’t be associated with negative traits.

These drawings started as linear drawings with a calligraphy nib, but then color was necessary (watercolor and gouache).

But listen to me:
For one moment quit being sad
Hear blessings dropping their blossoms
around you.

Out beyond ideas of
wrong doing and right doing
there is a field:
I’ll meet you there


Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.

 

Moana the Albatross

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They say you can’t love what you don’t know. Ever since I discovered a webcam dedicated to albatrosses, I  was completely fascinated. I’ve loved birds since I was a little girl, and I also took care of three duck friends that I still miss dearly since they passed away. Ducks started my love for water birds. And now the albatrosses are the most magnificent creatures in my opinion! They are sleek, elegant, goofy, loving, affectionate. I watched the Royal Albatross cam this year, starring Moana (hatched on January 18th and fledged on September 6th). It was a delight to watch her grow and her parents taking care of their precious chick, in a very beautiful place, Taiaroa Head in Dunedin, New Zealand -which I now have to visit-. I can only wish her safe travels and a healthy and long life.

That’s why I made this paper sculpture, to honor the adorable Moana. It turned out to be a big piece (70 x 90 cm) and the amount of cuts and slices of paper required lots of care and patience. The process itself is also an exercise of consciousness and even discipline.

 

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You deserve what you dream

Mereces lo que sueñas

Mereces lo que sueñas

This sentence comes from Gustavo Cerati’s song Beautiful. It’s a powerful sentence… I mean… what do you dream about? There’s also a song from Gustavo called Al fin sucede (It finally happens) that goes: you wanted it so much that it finally happens… and you were so afraid of it that it finally happens. And sometimes it’s hard to think about what you really want instead of dreading what you don’t want.

To make this piece I drew the lettering with a pencil and ink and was imposed on a digital manipulation of photos of flowers I’ve taken here and there. Kew Gardens in spring comes to mind: it is indeed like living a dream. When you live in a concrete jungle with almost zero parks, you learn to appreciate nature too.

 

Buy this print: Etsy