Sandro Bonomo, contemporary calligraphy from Italy
Let’s start the New Year off with an exciting new feature of contemporary calligraphy made in Italy!
It is with great pleasure that we introduce you to the career and art of Sandro Bonomo, a young and promising calligrapher, from the Venice area in Italy.
Early last year Sandro approached us and told us that he likes using our products. We asked him to send us some of his work and we were struck by the energy and vitality of his art. We are sure you will also appreciate it as much as we did. Sandro accepted to be our guest artist at the Creative World in Frankfurt at the end of this month, the most important exhibition for the creative sector in Europe. We are very happy to have him on board!
Born in 1986 in a small Italian town, he has been working as graphic designer specializing in lettering, typography and calligraphy since 2010.
“I’ve always been fond of design and the way it can solve problems with a strong aesthetic component” he tells us.
“My father is a watch maker and since I was 16 I’ve been helping him to repair watches; he taught me a little about his job: working with small mechanisms, being patient and trying to be very precise helped me to understand the importance of details and to be very careful about what I’m working with.
I studied Arts & Design and then Product & Graphic Design at the University of Venice. My first encounter with type and typography came from an optional course I attended during my University studies.
My professor’s teaching method and his passion for typography were fundamental for me, and I became passionate about graphic design first, then about type and letters of all kind. The same year (2009) I started to work as a graphic designer in a small factory and I worked there part-time for two years, but I was’t satisfied enough. I knew I didn’t want to spend my entire day in front of a computer! Having half a day for myself gave me enough time to look around and find out what I liked most and what I didn’t! I tried illustration and digital painting first, but it wasn’t really what I was looking for, then I started practicing with lettering.”
We asked him what the turning point was in his decision to become a calligrapher and he revealed to us:
“One night, digging through lettering blogs and websites I found a calligraphy video by Luca Barcellona. I was stunned by the way he was writing letters so carefully and precisely, knowing exactly where to place any stroke; at that moment I decided that I wanted to become a calligrapher.
Since then I started to attend various kinds of workshops with ACI (Associazione Calligrafica Italiana, one of the most important Italian calligraphy associations) and started to practice a lot by myself.”
Let’s discover something more about his job…
“My work is mostly about letters now, either drawn or written. I deat with a lot of different jobs: chalkboard lettering, digital lettering, logo designs and entirely hand-made calligraphy pieces.
I always try to approach my work in a precise way, knowing exactly what I have to do and, of course, observing the client’s instructions, if there are any. I like working with strict guidelines with my clients, so there is little room for misunderstanding, but I like freedom as well, even if it rarely happens,mostly with personal projects. I have no preferences between formal and informal work, both are extremely challenging in very different ways.
I like working with tools like Chinese brushes and brush pens because they are very versatile, you can achieve very free forms and heavy textures as well as formal and clean shapes. I also like writing big letters using automatic pens or flat brushes because when you write bigger you can more easily manipulate shapes, the angle of the nib and brush pressure. This way you can understand the shape of the letters better and how they are made. The techniques used for writing big and small letters are very different: you have to know both in order to be versatile.”
We asked Sandro whether he was influenced by any particular calligraphers of had any particular favourites:
“A lot of great calligraphers are an incredible source of inspiration and they influence my work and how I approach calligraphy: Carl Rohrs, Rudolf Koch, John Stevens, Julian Waters, Giovanni De Faccio, just to name a few!
What is the secret to become a good calligrapher according to Sandro?
Practice is fundamental in calligraphy, if you don’t practice and just attend workshops once every couple of months you won’t improve! I try to practice as much as I can, some days 2/3 hours, some days just 30 minutes but I always try to find time for it. My approach hasn’t changed much over time, I always try to warm up with basic writing styles, like formal Italic or Textura, and then go for something more free and expressive.
Sandro’s current projects:
“Currently I’m working with various companies and design studios based in Milan and Vicenza. I have some logo projects on the way, some invites for fashion shows, a couple of lettering projects for t-shirt design, and chalkboard lettering for a winery in my hometown.
My main goal is to be able to work completely as a freelance calligrapher in 5 years from now, I know it’s a very challenging goal, but the most satisfying things are the hardest to reach!”
We asked Sandro whether he was influenced by any particular calligraphers of had particular favourites:
Good luck Sandro! From what we see you have a bright future in front of you!
LINKS to see Sandro’s works