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Sleight of Hand

Cláudio Gil

The inspiration only happens when you work

Cláudio Gil’s A desordem das palavras (The disorder of words) is a wall of 15 layers of glass, merging to become a river of letterform. In his 2017 Bruta la Caligrafia series, Gil produces calligraphic paintings with powerful overlaid radial strokes on handmade paper or in a live demonstration on a white gallery wall.

I’ve drawn letters since I was a kid, ten or eleven years old. I always loved to draw. I started copying letters from labels of every kind of product. My interest in this kind of art began when I saw a friend, who was participating in a workshop of lettering and posters.

I was fascinated with that new world and did some work as a sign painter. Some years later when I started my education in design, I was still interested in type design, calligraphy etc.

But there wasn’t any teacher in Rio in that time, so I began researching in books and talking with other artists and became a self-taught calligrapher.

At age 35, I decided to teach, and I have not stopped teaching or studying since.

I’ve been practicing calligraphy for 15 years. I used to work with lettering techniques before, but I see that very different from calligraphy.

I live as an artist, designer and teacher. I also work for clients that request different kinds of projects from me, which expands my experiences. Both are natural for me, it’s my life. And I believe there’s no separation between art and life. Mondrian believed in this. We’re living in a very new and different time nowadays.
We must understand that the inspiration only happens when you work, there is an improvement of your techniques only when you work. I draw and produce pieces every day because I love it, but this is also profession, my work, my life.

Well, I love doing research on typography, letters and composition.  I see calligraphy as the basis of those arts.  The practice and study of calligraphy
is a delightful way to be in contact with design, typography, and art.

Well, Hermann Zapf had a great influence. In a time before the internet, I had a copy of a video where he is drawing and doing calligraphy. Zapf was always present in all the publications I could buy when I was starting. But there are a lot of great masters that I admire, such as John Stevens, Gabriel Meave, Julian Waters, Julien Chazal, Marina Marjina, Michel D’Anastasio, Andrea Branco, Peter Fraterdeus…
There are many other masters, and I love when I discover a new one.

For information on individual works, see Cláudio’s profile on lettering.com.

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