How did you get into Calligraphy? How long have you been doing it?
I’ve been studying and practicing calligraphy for about 8 years now. I started around 2010, after studying Graphic Design at the IUAV university. At that time I was working part-time as a graphic designer in a company but I wasn’t satisfied enough, I knew I didn’t want to spend my entire day in front of a computer! So I started trying out different things, illustration and digital painting came first but it wasn’t really what I was looking for, then I started experimenting with lettering. One night I was looking through various websites and lettering blogs and I bumped into a video of Luca Barcellona. I was stunned by the way he was writing letters so carefully, knowing exactly where to place each stroke. That was the moment I decided I wanted to become a calligrapher.
How much have you seen calligraphy change in your time working?
Calligraphy changed a lot! I got into it when it started to get a real interest in the mainstream, especially thanks to the various social networks but I did not expect it to become a real phenomenon like it is now. It’s great to see how people incorporate calligraphy in various new fields and how calligraphy is influenced by technology. There are a lot of forward-thinking people that are pushing the boundaries of calligraphy, lettering and type design, it’s a very challenging and exciting time! But as always there is a downside caused of all this exposure. If you’re not into calligraphy and you look for it in the internet, most of the things you’ll find are mediocre stuff. And the like-based system don’t always highlight those who’s work is done properly. You need to know what’s good to recognize it. We might need to start a visual re-education on what’s good and bad!
How would you describe your style?
I’ve focused my studies on broad-edge nib calligraphy, especially Italic with its countless variations. I’ve experimented a lot with a wide variety of tools, from the more classical to the unusual ones. I’ve also practiced and experimented with pointed brushes and brushpens. I like both very polished and carefully-written letters as well as a rough and rugged style. But overall, apart from the style, a big focus is on how the whole composition is made and how the letters are communicating formally with each other to create a coherency on form and design on the whole piece.
When it comes to commercial work I don’t have a particular style on letters that I apply every time, to me is much more important to have the right approach for every project, to find the right answer for every problem. When I’m working on more artistic pieces it depends on the mood I’m in, but I do not care much about readability and I prefer to focus on the shape of whole composition. It’s a process that is much more similar to painting or drawing. Lately I’m experimenting with non-traditional mediums, large scale canvases and text-art, but it’s all in a very early stage so I can’t tell much about it!
What inspires you?
Emotions, feelings, music, weird music, art, nature, books, people, … As long as you have the sensibility, you can find inspiration in pretty much everything.
Do you have a favourite word or phrase to write?
I don’t have one.
Do you have a favourite Manuscript product?
My favourite Manuscript products are the Tape nibs. Their best features are sharpness and stiffness, with these features you can achieve some very precise strokes and with a good control of the pressure and rotation, they permit a good range of thickness variation. These nibs are made with a thin but resilient foil and, besides of being very durable, you can achieve a great contrast between thick and thin lines, which I think is the most important feature. Great tools in combination with the Manuscript Calligraphy Inks that have a great flow.
When working, do you have a favourite typeface?
No I don’t. As I said previously, when working the most important thing is to find the right answer for every case. And because every case is different, you can’t approach every situation with a preset in your mind.
We loved working with Sandro and his drive and passion for the written words matches our own!! You can find out more about him and his work via twitter.com/lettersem or Instagram on Instagram.com/goodsem