Mexican calligraffiti artist Said Dokins combines calligraphy writing with graffiti techniques to create public murals that address conflicts of power, destruction, and control imposed by both historic and contemporary regimes. His latest project, Heliographies of Memory, uses luminous tools to explore displaced memory, creating light paintings that use famous historic buildings or other iconic sites as temporary backdrops.
“‘Heliographies of Memory’ consist in a series of photographs that capture the calligraphic gesture, the very moment where the action of inscription is taking place,” said Dokins. “…The texts are written with light, so the words disappear as soon as they were suggested by the moves of the calligrapher, invisible to the simple eye, they just can be captured by a process of long-exposure photography, that reveal what happened, even though no one could see it.”
Dokins collaborates with photographer Leonardo Luna to capture each of his ephemeral interventions. Together they opened the 2017 OASTRALE Biennale of Contemporary Art in Dresden with a choreographed calligraphy presentation. You can see more images of their project Heliographies of Memory on Dokins’ Instagram and Facebook. (via I Support Street Art)
Calligraphy master Seb Lester (previously) has been sharing quick videos of watery handwriting experiments on his Instagram account. Each word or phrase begins with a scribble of water or an array of droplets to which he then uses a dropper to apply color. Seen here are some highlights but it hardly even scratches the surface. Much more here. (via Quipsologies)
French street artist Astro brings an interesting sense of perspective to his public murals that turn flat surfaces into portals that appear to recede into another dimension. Already known for his wild calligraphy-inspired patterns, the artist has begun to incorporate 3D illusions with the help of shadows to create tunnels and voids at the center of his works. Astro’s latest piece was recently completed as part of the Loures Art Publica project in Loures, Portugal. You can see more of his work on Instagram. (via My Modern Met, Designboom)
Istanbul-based graphic designer Tolga Girgin (previously) continues to experiment with 3D calligraphic letterforms by adding shading and photographing his pieces from just the right perspective. The effect is uncanny as the logos, words, and figures seem to curl up and hover just above the page of his sketchbook. See more by following along on Instagram.
With just a few strokes of his calligraphy pen, illustrator Andrew Fox creates everything from animals and insects to people and robots—figures that seem bristling with personality despite their simplicity. We explored Fox’s work here on Colossal last year, and if you’re tempted to try these yourself he’s since published a book: Learn to Draw Calligraphy Animals. You can see more of his work over on Behance and Society6.
All images courtesy of Cambridge University Library
The earliest example of multicolor printing is now available for the public eye, digitally available through Cambridge University Library’s Digital Library site. The 17th century book, Manual of Calligraphy and Painting (Shi zhu zhai shu hua pu), is so fragile that it was previously forbidden to be opened, its contents a total mystery before its recent digitization.
The book was created in 1633 by Ten Bamboo Studio and is the earliest known example of polychrome xylography, invented by Hu Zhengyan. The technique, also referred to as douban, uses several printing blocks applied in succession with different inks to achieve the appearance of a hand-painted watercolor. The Cambridge site explains that the although the skill required to achieve such douban prints is admirable, the gradations of color within the book are what led to its reputation as “perhaps the most beautiful set of prints ever made.”
The manual contains eight categories showcasing birds, plumbs, orchids, bamboos, fruit, stones, ink drawings and miscellany. All of these sections of the manual are contained in the original “butterfly binding,” and has been identified to be the finest copy in the original binding by a leading scholar.
In addition to Shi zhu zhai shu hua pu, the library has also digitized other selections from its Chinese collections including the oracle bones (the earliest surviving examples of Chinese writing anywhere in the world), a Buddhist text dated between 1127 and 1175, and a 14th century banknote that threatens forgers with decapitation. (via Hyperallergic)