ABC & The Rise of Lettering

Posted: July 30, 2015 in Events, Other Arts
Tags: , , , , , ,

ABC collage

Letters are everywhere. If you look closely you’d be overwhelmed. They’re the atoms that make up a book, the characters in your jersey, the end credits in every Marvel film, and if you’re lucky every old-school guy’s weapon for love. Love spoken is assurance, love written is the soul exposed, combine the two it’s #MayForever. Oh letters, why do you have to be so everywhere? You even spell out my balance sheet and SALN. Confession, it’s spelled as: I’m P.O.O.R.

I may be poor financially, but I do believe I’m filthy rich in two things: in Letters and Family. Yes, Letters runs in the family! Lettering has been a common staple at home. For starters, I blog and writes (love) letters manually. Then my Mom is a good writer (I read her thesis and ghost-written publications). To my great envy, my big sister got that really good penmanship that I used to borrow her notebooks in high school because its so damn good to look at.  But most specially my dad, Tatay Dindo, is a great draftsman in our town with kickass skills in writing names in diploma (which we now learn as calligraphy), cutting letters for all occasions, and even copying signatures just to impress his Fantastic 4 kiddos (It’s still technically ‘forging’ right?). He also used prints t-shirts on old-school silkscreen, he draws house designs (including our home!) and do streamers with big letters. I only managed to inherit his talent in drawing. Lettering kept our family afloat during the 90’s because my parents’ salary as public school teachers weren’t as high as it is today. Yeah, I worship my old man, he’s a great man who taught me how to love letters.

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See my name, and that absolutely wicked calligraphy. I wish I could show you samples of Tatay’s silkscreen printing and streamers. Next time!

But I believe, Tatay Dindo’s art in Lettering has seen better days. It’s really dying in our place. For the past few years I’ve seen the decline in demand for Lettering.  More and more people now finds comfort and better price in Tarpaulins. Diplomas are now engraved in printers. It’s faster, cheaper and colourful. But don’t get our family wrong, we’re not bitter in this paradigm shift. It’s more of a hobby than a livelihood for dad (because he likes tarpaulin and still eager to learn photoshop). But what really scares me is the Art. Will it eventually die? Will my generation, and the next, ever pick a pen to perform the crafts of lettering?

And the social media answered; Hell No!     —> Clue: Just type ‘lettering’ in Google Image and click Enter.

Lettering is actually booming exponentially online and in the modern landscape! Many people may view social media as a bane in our culture, but it truly does wonders in the art world and that includes the lettering and calligraphy departments. Look at Facebook and Instagram; quotes are everywhere and more and more of them are written in eye-catching sometimes jaw-dropping ‘hand-written’ fashion. And one of the most popular letterers in the country is miss Abbey Sy (follow her in Instagram @abbeysy). Her artworks are simply impressive and inspiring; always a dose of sophistication and simplicity; colourful and toned; smooth and wonderful.. like a woman or a goddess. It’s hard not to like the style of this twenty-something ‘teenager’. Yup, I met her on her workshop last weekend in Cebu.  (and I have her autograph! :p )

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Enter the Joan and Klaire’s Drawing Letters by none other than miss Abby Sy! It’s the first art workshop I attended and it felt good to be on the other side of the table (it’s usually me either tutoring the youngones to draw/paint or organizing backyard art workshops and contests). To be honest , I don’t really have the budget for the workshop because of my grad school studies and my bisyo in running and painting. But I really want to learn the basics of how miss Abbey do her craft or style. I also want to check out if  I can apply that lifetime watching my father do his crafts. Plus given the fact that I have horrible penmanship, so the confidence for this artform is at rock bottom. But, well, nothing beats learning from the best. Iba talaga pa’g si Valerie Chua or CJ da Silva or an Abbey Sy magtuturo… Mas mahihiya kang di matuto hehe. Fortunately, my dearest sister paid for my slot in the condition that the workshop materials will be hers and we will practice together when she comes home from abroad next month. Fair trade.

The workshop was heald at the Joane & Klaire shop in Banilad Town Center, Cebu. The organizers informed me earlier that I’ll be only guy in the workshop so I wont feel out-of-place. It didn’t matter at all. Because to my surprise it was super fun! My classmates were lovely, accomodating and very friendly (ang swerte ko pala). We had a lot of fun chatting in our table, sharing some laughs and listening our best to the lecture. Special shout out to my new friends Miss Jeah, Miss Kristy, Miss Michelle and to the little and talented one’s miss Leanne and miss Jana.

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Miss Abbey is a great teacher and she really knows what she’s doing. A natural. With only three hours to teach, she has to talk faster and squeeze in the tips and tricks in the trade in between demos and  actual practice. Although like any art workshop, it would be better if it’s done in a smaller group. But c’mon its quite rare for famous artists to drop by and make a workshop in Cebu. Oh, I almost forgot I believe the shop, Joan & Klaire, is a must-visit place in Cebu. There are a lot of travelling and arts stuffs in there. And the workshop kits are just fantastic, sa kits pa lang bawi na.

Yup, that's our kits and more. :)

Yup, that’s our kits and more.🙂 (c) Joan & Klaire

I am very glad I signed up for the workshop. I really learned a lot, or more accurately I gained a lot of confidence to try out this modern art form. Kaya sya, Les. If there’s a person in that workshop who has the most to loss and much more to gain, that would be me. It’s more than just trying out a new hobby, it’s already part of the family and I don’t want to see it gone. At least in my town in Southern Leyte there will still be letterers 10 or 20 years from now even only in social media. Because I’m certain when dad retire from teaching in a couple of years he will also hang up his lettering days, he’ll probably take up his long-awaited destiny as a painter. I have no plans of taking over, let the Tarpaulins rule. But trust me, I have other plans for this modern art of lettering. I can see years and years of love and practice. It’s my generation’s turn and we’re bringing social media into the mix. It will be awesome. The future looks bright, and there are letters everywhere.

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Somebody just learned from the best. #inspired

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