There are two things I impulsively buy: chapstick and notebooks. The amount of journals and notebooks that are on my shelves makes me happy and anxious at the same time: so many ideas, thoughts, and sketches scrawled onto every page. I had a realization last week as I
barely passed completely failed my midterm: no more typed out notes. As simple and efficient as typing on a computer might be, the act of putting pen to paper makes a huge difference.
(I am also a Post-It addict. Scrawling and scribbling.)
After watching a calligraphy presentation on fully improvised art of spoken word to written word, one thing stood out to me: the idea of movement. When I write, I forget the cramped space I’m restricting myself into: a pivoting hand, back and forth. Scrawling, chicken scratching, creating a scribble of some print-cursive hybrid. Sometimes I forget how sore my body feels, as if what I’m writing actually influences how my body is contorted. After an hour, my face moves up and away from its position resting on my desk, eyes strained.
Allowing for movement in writing not only has the feeling of creativity pulsing through, but it’s an improv performance. It’s a painting. It’s art. Writing is art by the structure and ideas behind the words. Calligraphy looks at the words as the art itself.
Take what I’m doing right now for instance. I am sitting on the sidewalk, waiting another hour and a half for a show, typing this assignment out on my iPhone. Typing on a small lit up phone screen with the majority of my movement restricted in my thumbs is disorienting.
Is this kind of writing considered art? Is this standardized way of writing going to eventually drown out the champions of the written word? We’re already sucked into a world of short cuts in communication because we are all addicted to screens for the most part. But is still some hope out there for the pen and paper connoisseurs.
Another thing that stood out to me during the calligraphy presentation was how ingrained it was into our culture. Take tattoos, for instance. There are reasons why someone chooses a font or technical design. (It’s going to be on you forever, please choose wisely.) There are certain styles of writing that are associated with certain tattoos: block lettering, Celtic, Greek, Roman, cursive script.
I will never get a tattoo that looks like it can be found on a computer font selection. I’m that picky. For me, I still appreciate the organic imperfection of handwriting. While meaning is unique to everyone, the generic script seen in multiple tattoos that I have seen lately ruins the idea behind tattoos as an art form.
I’m the kind of person who would rather have a Great Gatsby quote as a tattoo copied from Fitzgerald’s own handwriting.
Calligraphy is not only an art form but a concept. To me it seems like more than an idea that inspires thought and spontaneous creativity. The tone of a movie, the idea of an album, the cover of a book, the theme of art. And it’s everywhere; it depicts everything.