Since the art of handwriting letters has been reduced to texts and Facebook posts, I wonder, have we gone too deep into a digital world?
The information we read everyday, is sanitized of emotion. A sea of Sans Serif and Arial.
“Fonts are a lost jewel in the modern world.” –Paolo Ferraris, Artist
This Artwork Monday, we’re diving back a bit, into Americana, one of Paolo’s first projects. Why? American politics is stressing me out. I need a break from fake news and divisive Facebook arguments.
So today, we’re revisiting a time Paolo found creative freedom in a curiosity. An art form he noticed had gone missing in the all digital world. Typography.
In his Americana series, Paolo combines photojournalistic images with typography. In doing so, he gives voice to his thoughts and feelings in, and of, a moment.
Paolo started working on Americana in the Summer of 2012, from our first home together in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. At the time, I remember him buying font catalogs. I was curious but left him space to explore his new muse.
We were finding our footing, living together for the first time. Balancing curiosity and privacy.
Occasionally, passing through the room, I’d catch a glimpse of him working. I’d see his screen and he would shoo me away. In that time, I learned Paolo never shares his work half finished.
I knew Paolo had a budding project. I asked a few questions and got evasive answers. “A new project. It’s not ready.”
The anticipation was delightful.
Americana Series by Paolo Ferraris
There was a time, not long ago, when letters were handwritten and typography conveyed feeling in written word.
Paolo had recognized we were missing the art of Typography in our daily lives. He saw an opportunity to bring attention to the absence through his Americana series.
“We read almost all of human knowledge on screens that offer the same selection of banality every day. Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, Courier, Sans Serif, Georgia and a few boring others. Typography is a great art, nearly forgotten by the digital generation. What a pity. — Paolo Ferraris, Artist
The Definition of Typography
Taken by the letter, Typography sounds rather boring.
The style, arrangement, or appearance of typeset matter.
According to Merriam-Webster, Typography word popularity ranking is in the bottom 40%. Yet, Typography is an art that captured Paolo’s imagination and attention.
“In the series “Americana” fonts are not superimposed like on billboards, brochures or magazines, they are morphed into the photograph. They become part of what you see, indissoluble. They are not written on the background, they emerge from the depth of the image.” –Paolo Ferraris, Artist
I asked Paolo why the fonts themselves were so important. Why he poured so much time into researching and selecting just the right one for each image.
“Fonts are creative and suggestive. Fonts are subtext, they communicate before you even read the first word. Fonts have moods, personality and quirks. Handwriting bears witness to the growth of our character and the flickers of our determination. To write is to draw a thought. Cursive is the curves of our soul on paper. ” — Paolo Ferraris, Artist
Through Typography, Paolo found a way to share his observations as an immigrant artist in America.
Every font in this series has been chosen to be in harmony with the pictures’ texture and to enhance the true meaning of the words. With a touch of irony.
New York Inspired Art
To me, Paolo’s art is bright, alive and hopeful. It reflect the way he sees the world. It’s magical. Much of Americana reflects an inspired life in New York. In his art, Paolo allows his youthful enthusiasm to outweigh the educated cynicism of adulthood.
With the increasing reliance on digital communication, a beautiful art is subtly being lost. Typography.
Perhaps by revisiting Typography, we can remember words trigger feelings and emotions. Words have weight and meaning. Impacts that extends beyond 140 characters.