Calligraphy: then and now

Any day we should have copies in our hands. I know it has been a long time. So much has happened in the past six years; I cannot believe the changes since 2007! When I started the book, the world had never heard of Facebook or Twitter (not to mention all of the other social channels like YouTube). And Google was competition for Yahoo, Lycos, and Alta Vista. In the last couple of years I wondered if anyone would even care about a book that had anything to do with writing by hand. I know it is important to not doubt yourself, but these changes are unprecedented. Add to that, a world economic collapse.
My thoughts and priorities had changed (as I am sure yours have too). So, does that leave any room for calligraphy? The biggest shift I see is in two areas:

1. As a therapeutic endeavor

2. As performance art.

I have seen these two areas increase the most. Very fine calligraphy seems to have been hurt the most in that it is very hard to capture on film/video. This “fine” calligraphy was the result of thousands of years of evolution. We now think more in terms of image than in craft; of inventing more than preserving. In times like now, change is the only constant and most of calligraphy was backward looking. (I do not mean that in a negative way—traditions are important.) I hope we can change the perception of calligraphy as anachronism. My feeling is that the word calligraphy needs to be updated or eliminated completely. I hope that “living letters,” as Warren Chappell called it, will continue to have a life and that the skills of the fine calligrapher are not lost in the mistaken notion that everything has to be new. There will always be new worlds, but my hope is we don’t lose what has been accomplished in search of the new.

Please read “LetterArts Museum”

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One Response to Calligraphy: then and now

  1. I do calligraphy as a performance art in public at farmers’ markets and other market venues. I do enjoy seeing performance of calligraphy on Youtube. Yes, the economic collapse did affect many or all of us. There is not the demand for names and meanings of names in public like there was, say, 10 years ago. As hand-calligraphy becomes rarer, it will probably be more valuable, I believe. And yes, calligraphy is very therapeutic, especially if used in correspondence with loved ones, the feedback is valuable, to say the least.

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