Modern-day scribe…it’s not all about the money (Sando artisan makes it big)

Excerpt from article by MALISSA LARA in guardian.co.tt … Read full article here

paul-antonio-attong The intimacy of a handwritten letter with a turkey quill and taking the time to create beautiful handwriting is rare.
Yet, this centuries-old tradition is kept alive by Paul Antonio Attong. In this age of high technology where a large portion of the world no longer writes but types, Trinidad-born Attong has made an international name for himself and his craft.

Do you have a large clientele?
I have a huge client list—some of my fashion clients include Asprey, De Beers, Chopard, Louis Vuitton. We do a ton of weddings and have just stared a stationery company. Our tag line for the stationery is ‘We Only Print What We Write’ so we don’t use any typefaces in our work—all of it is done by hand first then digitised then printed in one of a few high-quality print processes. Some of our corporate clients include RBS, London Business School (for invitations and certificates). Numerous party planners include the Admirable Crichton, Atom Events, Freud Communications.

Would you advise others to make a career of calligraphy?
It is very difficult to become a professional calligrapher. It requires years of dedication, and not making any money while you come to terms with your skill. It is also not easy to train as there are so few courses running. Getting a good hand is one thing but it is getting it consistent all the time that is the trick. You not only need to know what you do inside out—as you will get asked to write on all kinds of things, but you need to be able to deal with people and convince them that you are what they need! Invariably it is either you are good at art or good at business but you have to be good at both if you want to make a decent living. It is not something that happens easily. It takes time, patience, dedication, application and research.
Is it lucrative?
It is only in the past three years I have been earning a decent living. But what is lucrative? It is not only about making money—it is also about the standing amongst your peers on an international stage. It is about contributing to the corpus of knowledge in one’s field of expertise. But then there is personal wealth. Making money comes with much stress and sometimes you need to make a decision if you actually want the added stress. That is a tricky question to answer. A lot of the time making money and earning a living is to the exclusion of research—but one is financially lucrative and one is personally lucrative.


Apple, Mac, IPOD, Steve Jobs & Calligraphy

We all know that Steve Jobs is the world’s second most successful college dropout. (Bill Gates, of course, is the world’s biggest failure).

But here’s something you didn’t know. After Jobs dropped out of Reed College, he went back to school as a drop-in and studied a subject that turned out to be vital to the development of the computer as we know it…He took a course in calligraphy.

It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating….

If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them.

So there you have it. Whether you’re using a Mac or a PC, your computer owes everything to Steve Jobs’ understanding of the intricacies of sans serif.

The Creativity of Calligraphy
But we started to wonder what else a crash course in the art of writing might have done for Steve Jobs. Did all those curlicues and italics spark Jobs’ creative juices, get his ideas flowing and lead him to build a company that owes as much to the appearance of the gadgetry as the whiz-bang programming under the hood?

And what could it do for anyone? Could it help you to create a tech company as stylish as Apple?

Maybe, says Alok Hsu Kwang-han, a Chinese artist who specializes in creating calligraphic art, but it depends on you. He told us:

Practicing anything, including calligraphy, can enhance one’s creativity or it can reinforce an old rut and mindset! It all depends on whether you bring to the practice a willingness to be playful, to be fully present without expectations, to experiment without judgment, and to thoroughly enjoy yourself! The truly original creativity cannot be practiced…

I think Steve Jobs by dropping out of college and dropping into what he loved to explore, brought these qualities to his enjoyment of calligraphy at Reed College.

That potential to release creativity (rather than create it) is particularly true of Chinese calligraphy, adds Alok. Its technique allows the brush to move vertically as well as horizontally, and calls “the calligrapher to be very present and available to the possibilities offered in each moment of the movement. It offers an alertness and a letting-go that promotes creativity.”

Zen and the Art of the iPod
That’s all very nice but Steve Jobs was practicing western calligraphy rather than the sort of Asian brushwork that involves turning complex characters into flowing artworks. He was also talking specifically about the benefit of having a variety of fonts available on computers rather than releasing his own hidden creative talents.

And yet if you compare the sort of minimalist images produced by Alok Hsu Kwang-han with the stark style of the iPod with its white space and hidden buttons, you can’t help but feel that maybe there’s something to it. Even if Jobs spent his time learning Times New Roman and letter spacing rather than shufa and the thickness of xuan paper, could his being in the moment — while being in that calligraphy class at Reed College — have helped him to appreciate the value of having nothing but a click-wheel on the front of an all-white media player?

More importantly, could the creativity of calligraphy — and the sense of just letting go that comes with any successful endeavor — do the same for you?

Well, maybe not with calligraphy and maybe not with Asian calligraphy in particular. According to Alok, it doesn’t really matter what the practice or art form is; it’s the fit and the result that matters:

[It] depends on who the person is. Dance, theater, song writing, drumming, to name a few, are also good ways. I have discovered that calligraphy is a very good way for those attracted to engaging themselves in it. As Chuang Tzu says, “If the shoe fits, wear it.”

So what does that mean for you?

It might mean that all of those lava lamps, bouncy balls and basketball hoops that are as de rigueur in Silicon Valley offices as paper shredders are compulsory in the Pentagon actually do something useful. By letting their programmers play, companies are benefiting from what Alok Hsu Kwang-han would call “The Creativity of Non-Doing.”

And it might mean that when you’re sweating over a keyboard unable to see the way forward and with a deadline fast approaching, the best thing to do might not be to strain harder, but relax. Pick up a brush and a stick of Chinese ink. Or beat a rhythm on the bottom of your wastepaper basket. But try dropping out, doing nothing and just being there. It might be enough to let your ideas back in… and let you create the next Apple.


How To : Light, Calligraphy And Photography (Light Graffiti)

Few weeks earlier, we saw some fantastic LIGHTGRAFF work (Light, Calligraphy And Photography) by Julien Breton. We even wondered how it was done and even let our thoughts believe that it could be yet another wonder of Photoshop. But NO, It is done how I actually thought it was … i.e with the shutter of a SLR Camera left open for a long time … If you think about it deep, it is a complete science and believe it or not many around the world are actually purely into LIGHT-GRAFFITI as a full fledged profession and a serious hobby.

Watch this video where Julien Breton explians (In FRENCH 🙂 ) on his LightGraff work …

Another Lightgraff Guru Michael Bosanko @ work : –
A behind the scenes tutorial from light graffiti artist Michael Bosanko, in which the he explains how to create your own light graffiti images, as part of the launch of a new TV advertising campaign

Here is another fabulous implementations of Light-Graffiti …


 
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