Saturday, March 12, 2011

Everything is illuminated.

My father is an artist. Nowadays, I guess he'd be called a graphic designer but back in the day he was called a "commercial artist" (as opposed to a "fine artist"). I can't tell you how many times as a kid I got asked "what commercials did he do?". In reality, he has been creating lettering by hand--no computers involved!--for more than fifty years. I may be biased, but I think anyone who sees his work would agree that he is incredibly talented.

For ages I've been meaning to do a post about my father's work. Finally, a couple of weeks ago I had him pull out some of his work so I could photograph it, and ended up also getting photos of some personal work he did when he was at his first job back in the late 50s. So one post became two...

This, the first, is to show that early personal work: a group of calligraphic pieces based on illuminated manuscripts. When I asked my dad if I could shoot them, he pulled them out of a manila envelope kept under some files in a cabinet in his home studio. A manila envelope! I can't believe he doesn't have these matted and framed and on prominent display, but my dad is not an overly proud person. I'm hoping I can convince him to hang at least one of these in his home.

Click on any photo to enlarge; the detail is fantastic.

This one is based on the style of a medieval Book of Hours:

This one is a selection from Moby Dick:

My father is still fantastic at creating ornate letters such as the Q in this one:

My father is an incredible person, and I'm so proud of his amazing artistic talent. He's also plays great jazz piano!


RyoJul said...

These are great. I recently learned about illuminated manuscripts in my art history class. They are very beautiful works. I agree with you that your father should display these. I hope you are able to convince him to do so.

Miss Cavendish said...

Just smashing! I have always loved Chaucer's illuminated MSS, and it's terrific to see that tradition being applied to Melville.