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Interview With Collage Artist Eduardo Recife The Rising Interest In Hand Drawn Type

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Collage, Mixed Media

Collage and Typography Maker,

Eduardo Recife WRITTEN BY ADRIANA DE BARROS

A casual conversation with collage and typography maker Eduardo Recife. An interview discussing the fun and downside of living in Brazil, his early years as a tagger and now a typography designer, and how to succeed as an artist.

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ADRIANA DE BARROS: Eduardo Recife:

AB: ER:

AB: ER:

You live in a country that is lively, social, rich in many ways yet also poor and unstable. Brazil is full of lifestyle contrasts. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages living in Belo Horizonte? Brazil is a fantastic place, what really ruins it is the political corruption, violence and crime. I enjoy living in Belo Horizonte because it has one of the best climates in Brazil: it’s not too hot, neither too cold, usually just warm and sunny. We have the most beautiful mountains and waterfalls, and if this isn’t enough, they say we have the most beautiful women. The disadvantages are that there is not much to do here… Most people get wasted in bars… We don’t have a whole lot of cultural events, the art scene is pretty restrict and conservative; and violence and crime is increasing everyday.

How hard is it to make a living as an artist? W e l l , m o s t o f m y i n c o m e c o m e s from my commercial works as an illustrator/designer. Last year, I had an art show in LA, where I showcased my drawings on panels… The thing is when some of the remaining artwork was shipped back to me, it got stuck at the Brazilian customs. They were charging me $1000 to get my OWN drawings back! Somehow they thought I was importing the artwork. I got a lawyer to help me out, but things here are so bureaucratic, lazy, disorganized that I did not get a hold of my artwork yet. This pretty much upset me to the point that I didn’t draw a whole lot ever since…

I know that you started off as an urban artist, I suspect graffiti was involved. How influential was this phase and experience to the formation of your current art style? I wasn’t really a graffiti artist. I liked tagging walls, such things that I regret… But I was very much into graffiti and the alphabets; I just wasn’t competent enough to work with a spray can. At this point in time I developed a passion for type and all the different kinds of alphabets. Later on, I discovered the grunge type scene on the Internet and it was love at first sight. I identified so much with it, that in 1997, I started to create my own alphabets and typefaces for my personal use.

Eduardo Recife: AB: ER:

Y o u r a r t i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c f o r i t s o l d e r a s t y l e . What inspires you to reuse worn out objects, faded photos, and misplaced and broken stuff? I think old graphics were unbelievably more beautiful than what we have today. It was more poetic, and the colors were more attractive. Throughout my whole life I’ve liked old stuff. When I was younger, I used to get worn clothes and shoes from my older cousins, and I loved it! Even today, I am really fond of vintage (second-hand) t-shirts, etc. Besides all this, I think that the vintage, worn look gives a sensation it was touched by the hands of time or by the artist. Somehow clean lines from the computer bother me, because it feels so cold and mechanical. Most of my digital collages are processed by hand: creating textures, stains, scratches, doodles, and more. I want the computer to help me compose—not to slave me between the mouse and the chair.

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Is an artist/illustrator, graphic designer, and typographer from Brazil.


Collage, Mixed Media

I think that the vintage, worn look gives a sensation it was touched by the hands of time or by the artist.

E d uard o Re cif e : AB: “ P a n i c ! A t t h e D i s c o ” i s a n i n t e r e s t i n g b a n d w i t h k i c k - ass t-shirts designed by you. How did you meet them; get this project start-

ER: ed? In 2006, I received an email from their label commissioning me

to design some tees, but things were so hectic then that I couldn’t work on it. So I asked them to contact me for their next line of tees; they did contact me again and it was a pleasure to work on their t-shirts. They were very receptive about my work and they gave me complete creative freedom. The whole process was dealt with me and the label, and not directly with the band.

AB: Y o u ’ v e g r o w n u p i n t h e s o c a l l e d “ C o p y r i g h t E r a ” , which

ER:

establishes rules on what can be used or what cannot. And because Collage Art relates to reusing images, many of those printed and copyrighted. Have you had any problems with the images put into your artwork? Are you careful about your selections, or do you disregard and create freely? I believe in common sense. I do not use the latest magazine ad in one of my collages. This is also one of the reasons why I enjoy using vintage material. I think once you completely change the intent of the image you’re using as a source in your work, it makes things more “acceptable”. I often try to modify, add and manipulate a little bit the images. But so far I have not had problems.

AB: Y o u ’ v e s t a t e d t h a t y o u “ d o n o t s k e t c h ” . W h a t i s y o u r creER: ative process like? I do sketch sometimes… But what is upsetting is

that collage makes the end results almost unpredictable. It truly depends on the images you’re going to work with. I rather have an almost formless idea in my mind, and then let it develop as I find the graphical resources for it. Once started on a collage, I don’t change much of the layout afterwards… I don’t like the 2nd version as much as I like the very first design. I believe a clear concept is more important than a sketch of the image. I like the moment of creation to be spontaneous.

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Freeware An image that headlines on his website when you open up the freebies link.

AB: ER:

AB: ER:

AB: ER:

AB: ER:

Y o u ’ v e b e e n g e n e r o u s t o g i v e f r e e d o w n l o a d s o f y o u r custom fonts. Why are you this nice? When I first started creating typefaces it was just for my personal use. Later on, I decided I would share them on the Internet. I could have placed them as shareware or even commercial, but it was great to help students with no money. Students were able to use them into their work… I remember I liked so many commercial typefaces and I literally couldn’t buy any. Some people say I’m stupid for not charging my freeware fonts for commercial use. They say people are making money out of my work… I rather think that I’m helping people somehow. A few years ago, I put some commercial fonts online as a way to support the freeware section. But the freeware ones are going to remain FREE!

It never hurts for you to brag a little bit during an interv i e w . What do you consider is your best artistic talent? Collage

T h r o u g h o u t t h e y e a r s t h a t I ’ v e k n o w n y o u , y o u ’ v e d o n e web site designs and you don’t know any technological languages. How do you get these sites up and why have you gotten involved in web? I created the first version of Misprinted Type by myself. I don’t know how but it worked. I had no clue about what I was doing. It was trial and error and persistence. Since then I’ve worked with programmers from the second version of misprintedtype to all other websites.

L e t ’ s t a l k a b o u t f l e a m a r k e t s . I l o v e t h e m , and I know that you do too. How many do you visit per month, and what do you normally look for? I used to go every month to an old book store in my city. I would come out with tons of magazines, old books and sore throats… But the thing is that there is no flea market in my city… So I get my material either when I travel, or from gifts or finding some stuff online. I usually try to control myself in these situations, I try to really think about the things I need… It’s tempting, but I keep my eyes only on magazines and books, which will have good use in my work.

Chords Cr e a t e d i n 2 0 0 7 , and is for sale on h i s w e b s i t e at www. misprintedtype.com

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Collage, Mixed Media

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Hand Drawn Type, Illustration, Typography

S t e v e n H e l l e r, a f o r m e r a r t d i r e c t o r a t T h e N e w Yo r k T i m e s , i s a c o - c h a i r o f t h e M F A Design Department at the School of Visual A r t s a n d a b l o g g e r a n d a u t h o r.

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“Hand Lettering Is Seen As A Means To Distinguish Expressive From Non-Expressive Messages.�

Nature Type Is a piece that was done by the artist J e s s i c a Hische.

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Hand Drawn Type, Illustration, Typography

You may have noticed it, o r m a y b e n o t . It may not be perceptible to the layman’s eye. After all, type and typography are supposed to be a crystal goblet — transparent — seen and read but not heard. Type should not be boisterous or distracting, though it must be appealing. In recent years there has been a veering away from the exclusive use of traditional typefaces (or fonts) to an increase in hand or custom lettering for advertisements, magazines, children’s books, adult book jackets and covers, film title sequences and package designs. Hand lettering is not just used, as it once was, for D.I.Y. youth-cult concert posters and T-shirts.

Eventually it became a s t y l i s t i c c o d e f o r youthful demographics (the poster and title sequence for the film “Juno” stands out as a high-water mark in hand lettering, and before that, the TV series “Freaks & Geeks” used the trope), before being embraced by the mainstream (like the aforementioned IBM advertisements).

Calvin Klein, IBM, Microsoft, even the Episc o p a l New Church Center have run ad campaigns using what might be viewed as sloppily scrawled, sketchily rendered, untutored lettering. Its applications are so widespread that a couple of years ago, I co-authored a book about it (Handwritten: “Expressive Lettering in the Digital Age,” Thames & Hudson), and from what I can see, there is no sign that the trend is on the wane. Owing to its infinite capacity for perfection, the computer has made this kind of hand lettering possible and inevitable. Incidentally, this is not the beautiful hand-crafted calligraphy celebrated by scribes and hobbyists and used for wedding invitations and diplomas. On the surface, this riotously raw lettering looks like it was produced by those who are incapable of rendering letters with any semblance of accuracy or finesse. And while this may or may not be true, a decade or so ago, this lettering was a critical reaction to the computer’s cold precision. It was also, in certain design circles, a means of rebelling against the purity and exactitude of modernism.

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LE BERET DE KA TORTURE A piece that was done by the artist Jessica Hische.

Hand lettering is seen as a means to disting u i s h expressive from non-expressive messages. Or conform to certain fashions. I recently rented “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist” because the poster reminded me of the laissez-faire lettering of “Juno,” which I liked so much. It said playful and youthful. Lettering can certainly trigger that Pavlovian response, and hand lettering can do it better than most formal typefaces.

JJ Grey + Mofro Cr e a t e d f o r a n e v e n t that takes place in N e w Yo r k Every Year.

Some hand lettering derives from roughly sketching vintage and passé letterforms (including Victorian, Art Nouveau, or Art Deco styles), making them even more imperfect and, by doing so, injecting a contemporary aesthetic. Others are crazy and novel scripts and scrawls based on nothing other than an eccentric sensibility. Some look suspiciously like the kind of block letters with shadows that one might draw on a doodle pad. With the popularity of comics and graphic novels, hand lettering of the comic strip variety has also emerged as vogue.

Urban Outfitters Cr e a t e d b y M i k e Perry for Urban Outfitters Brand.

Once, designers replaced official typeface s with their own handwriting because it was too expensive to set type (see Paul Rand or Alvin Lustig). These days, it is not an economic decsions at all.

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I am a big fan of this anti-type typography. This may be because it is something I can do without mastering complex techniques. But it is more complicated than that. Nonetheless, hand lettering is liberating. Sure, most official documents, in fact, most things we read (like books, magazines and blogs) require official typefaces — the more elegant, readable and legible, the better. But not every type treatment needs to be standardized. The hand offers a more human dimension and individual personality. Of course, this will inevitably change. A popular design trope will be copied until it is overused and we’re sick to death of it. But while it is still done well, my advice is to enjoy it, for in another few years it may simply be that style of the early 2000s, quaint and old hat.


Hand Drawn Type, Illustration, Typography

Lush Is a piece that was done by the artist J e s s i c a Hische.

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S T U D E N T SPO TLIGHT

JARED WELLE B y L i nd sey N i c h ols

Jared Welle, is a recent graphic design graduate of Brainco: The Minneapolis School of Advertising, Design, and Interactive Studies, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He sent in one of his latest projects, Kayon. Descriptions of each and many more images can be found in this article.

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student spotlight, awards, inspiration

Kayon, is a line of exotic Sri Lankan C i n n a m o n . A f t e r doing research about cinnamon and its origins, I discovered that the areas of Sri Lanka and Indonesia are the world’s leading producers of high quality cinnamon. Therefore the name Kayon is derived from a Javanese word meaning “tree of life.” A Kayon: or stylized tree, is present in this regions renowned shadow puppet theater and therefore the name and logo for this project is based off of this concept. The unconventional shape of the labels is based upon the pointed archways and other architecture elements of the Buddhist and Hindu temples found within Sri Lanka. I wanted the color palette of the labels to compliment the rich brown hues of the cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon, and cinnamon extract. Its my hope that my choices of materials, typography, paper, and closure details conveys the look of an exotic, established, spice company.”

“ Fo r t h i s r e b r a n d i n g p r o j e c t I w a n t e d t o f o c u s s i n g o n M i n n e t o n k a Moccasin’s heritage as a vintage road trip souvenir. Therefore I incorporated vintage postcard imagery and road sign iconography into the design of the catalog, bags, hangtags, and boxes. Also I used hand stitching and suede details to convey the hallmarks of the brand, all while utilizing an earthy color palette reminiscent of the tanned suede used to stitch Minnetonka Moccasins.”

Minnetonka Moccasins Vintage hangtags that hang by material made out of twine.

The brand has two different styles of bags, that have a unique touch with images on each side.

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