Welcome to Alphabet Roadtrip, the blog of Iskra Design. Alphabet Roadtrip is a hybrid of design and fine art. Here you will find my newest work in design and lettering, process notes, and writing on the subjects of design and visual culture. To see my work please visit the portfolios in the navigation menu above. If you are already a fan of Alphabet Roadtrip you may have saved links from my old website. This is the NEW(!) site. Please do update your bookmarks so we don’t lose touch.
February marks the beginning of an annual project, the #100DaysOf____ something….! that promises to shake up an artist’s creative world. This year I am starting the move from digital collage and photography to new hands-on methods, going back to my roots in painting, mark making and collage.
Through the use of typography, altered books, drawing and collage I’m jumping off into a conversation that will challenge my brain in completely new ways. There will be a different kind of post here at Alphabet Roadtrip: rarely professional projects in lettering design, but rather, hybrid work that bridges worlds between fine art and design, and essays about the creative process. More on that soon, but to begin, here are the first two days of my #100.
100 Days Without Command Z
For 10 years or so I have been composing my images primarily with digital methods, taking what I do by hand and mixing it with other elements, always with the liberating (but torturously open-ended) tool of Command Z. To always be able to revise, to fix, to un-mistake the mistake has been an amazing journey of (mostly) freedom. It has also reshaped my way of making decisions so that everything I do is hedged by uncountable alternates and I have forgotten how to make mistakes by hand, in the moment, and to love and forgive than moment as it calls for the next move.
This process is the direct route to the kind of painting I love to look at, which is the record of error laid bare. I am beginning in my native language of typography, using all the command z’s at my disposal, but counting on operator error to help me find a new form of more intuitive expression. One of my goals in going back to analog methods is to return to digital work with more intuition. I retired from lettering design to focus on fine art about a year ago, but in the past 12 months as I have tossed and sorted a lifetime in the alphabet I’ve had a sense that words would return on new terms. The inspiration here is my friend The Thesaurus, which offers sometimes infinite ways to say the same thing until you realize you really meant to say something else entirely. Sometimes this can make you feel like a Dunce. (see: education, schooling, instruction, daydreaming, authority figures (alt. to flunk, fail, exit–) But goodness! you have such interesting thoughts when you wear a cone on your head…..
To see more of this project visit me on Instagram where I post almost daily. And to see my fine art portfolio visit Iskra Fine Art.
Dear followers of Alphabet Roadtrip,
I am focused at this time on my fine art and most activity is taking place on my other website at Iskra Fine Art. There you can see the new work that has evolved from my years in design and the alphabet. I work in many media including painting, drawing and digital printmaking. I hope you will visit me there!
All my best,
My first experiment with Procreate, a study in technique in a classic calligraphy style.
For the past month I have been experimenting with a new way of making calligraphy, with an iPad and Apple Pencil, in a little app called Procreate. Whoever designed this program must have had Merlin as a consultant, with deep magic and a cauldron of spells. Digital technology has finally caught up with the hand! Here are some recent projects I’ve been doing to see how fluid my writing can become, using classic texts that celebrate life and beauty.
Above, much-loved quotes from Mary Oliver, Rumi, and a fragment of ancient Noh theater celebrating spring, with a background created with plants from my garden.
I officially declare this week “Love All Week Long Week,” in honor of St. Valentine and his disciples, who might include Rodney King, with his timely quote from 1992: “Can We All Get along?” The quotation is sometimes amended with the addition of “just,” as I’ve written it here. On Valentines Day I like to spend time in the studio using my calligraphy practice to think about love. Each year it takes a different turn. Given the chaotic state of the nation, King’s plea is more relevant than ever, and a return to these poignant words from 1992 did not seem out of order.
This set of work is an exploration of voice in letter forms. The quotation can range in tone from Hallmark Greeting to hip hop to something you might see in an alley emblazoned on a wall. Check it out.
Wishing you Love in whatever form it finds you!
Follow me on Instagram to see more projects in process.
This very fine article by Roxane Gay in a recent New York Times inspired the poster above. Truly, not voting, claiming apathy or disillusionment, is a luxury that none of us can afford if we want a functioning democracy. For type geeks, the font is ITC Modern, a favorite in the Bodoniesque family, and the script is hand drawn by yours truly.