I have just been enlightened to the work of Niels Shoe Meulman. A street artist, designer and calligrapher out of Amsterdam. I discovered his work while researching Krink paint markers for upcoming live art events. Shoe, as he is called, started tagging in the early 80’s and has gained gallery notoriety be melding the grit and aggression of graffiti with the beauty and elegance of calligraphy. I am not one for words, so here is an excerpt from his site.


The simple answer:

Calligraffiti is a combination of Calligraphy and Graffiti.

Calligraphy is about the art of writing and can have many forms. Whether it be Japanese ancient brush characters, Arabic pictorial scripts, illuminated mediaeval books or swirly quill writing… all calligraphy.

Graffiti is the art of getting your (pseudo) name up by writing on an urban environment. Perfected in New York City and now a worldwide phenomenon.

The fairly new art of Graffiti and its somewhat rigid rules prompts us to look further back into the history of writing. This is exactly what Niels Shoe Meulman has been doing since his teens, consequently starting to combine the two at the beginning of this century. Thus resulting in Calligraffiti: traditional handstyles with a metropolitan attitude.

Here is a selection of images from his Calligraffiti site, but you should really go on there yourself and check it out:




UTL v. Monterey


I spent the last weekend having a great time in Monterey, CA for my girlfriend’s 25th. Monterey is a great place to visit (tourist trap) with plenty of period typography and hand painted signs. Take a peek:



{vintage seafood packaging greets you as you enter the aquarium}


{I noticed this driving through downtown Monterey}


{showin’ ya the finger}

Calligraphic Scrolls

Sorry I haven’t been posting much lately I have been slacking. Here are some cool scrolls I found in a clip art book. It goes to show that the artists of olde were well versed. Not only could these chaps write beautifully, but they could illustrate inventively.




Craig Ward: Typographical Badass

I found Craig Ward’s site while on a web adventure one day. Ward is a typographic designer & illustrator, working with letterpress, digital and hand rendered type to create expressive images. He is constantly experimenting and pushing his the notion of typography. His work is so great it is hard to pick & choose what to show you so take a peak at these and go explore his site: WordsArePictures

Type Insripation

Typography is my favorite design element. Here are two great examples of how people used to push the boundaries of typography centuries ago. They were meticulously rendered by hand, most likely by natural light with hand made drafting utensils. And you thought learning the new Adobe Suite was difficult…



Stay tuned for my new hand rendered type piece.

Blacksmith Type

Last summer I had the pleasure of working as an aprentice blacksmith to my sister at Columbia State Park. This is some of the typography we would create day to day.



Horseshoes were our scrap metal. We experimented with all sorts of shapes, figures symbols. Kristi, my sister, had been working there for several years and was pretty fast in the forge. It was a lot of fun learning a new trade, but I am glad I don’t have to huff coal all day anymore.

Typophile: Dan X. Solo

I love typography. It is hands down, my favorite aspect of design. I can study letter forms for hours ignoring all else in the world (just ask my girl friend, Kim). In one of my recent library adventures I found two books of typography collections; one of Victorian Display Alphabets and one of Modern Display Alphabets, both from the mid 1970s. I took them home and copied my favorite fonts which was nearly half of the 100 Victorian alphabets and only three of the Modern.

The Victorian book was put together by Dan X. Solo for Dover Books. It is only one of several books that he has compiled for Dover. Mr. Solo has been collecting vintage type for most of his life, a hobby I unfortunately keep largely web based. I could only imagine the drawers and stacks of type specimens that must fill his house! I imagine his house is like a typographers porn shop. His collection well worn and dogeared by repeated viewings.  After viewing this nearly ancient book I found that only a small portion of his collection have been officially digitized. I am sure that many designers and typographers have digitized some of his alphabet books for their personal use (after all, I did). From the fonts I copied I frankensteined my favorite traits for a logo concept I am working on for Palindrome Apparel. This concept isn’t finished quite yet, it is still a little masculine for a dual-sex line. I am adding flourishes and stylized plant forms to illustrate the outwear aspect of the company while maintaining the strong, classic letter forms to keep it bold and timeless.


(I will post the final version that is decided upon when the time comes)

Dan X. Solo Biography from

The Solotype Archive was begun in 1942 when I was 14. I was a kid printer for several years before that. At 16, after a quick three months of training, I dropped out of school and went to work full time as a radio actor and announcer in San Francisco. (Easy to get jobs in those days, due to the war-induced manpower shortage.) In 1949 and 1950, I created a magic show which played West Coast theatres with some success. After that, back to broadcasting.

By 1962, I was completely burned out on radio, so I decided to see if I could make a living with my collection of antique types, which numbered about a thousand fonts at that time. In 1962, I sent out 4,000 catalogs showing the type to ad agencies all over the U.S. The timing was perfect (no thanks to me) because there was developing at that time a renewed interest in the old types. Business took off immediately.

The Solotype collection was one of four commercial collections at the time, but I seemed to have been more aggressive in marketing than the other chaps. (Well, Morgan Press certainly knew how to market.)

Two years into the business, I began to collect alphabets on paper for conversion to photo lettering, which was just becoming mainstream in the type business. We closed the shop for a month every year and went on a type hunt, mostly in Europe where there didn’t seem to be much competition among collectors. Other typographers couldn’t understand how we could do this, but I believe it made people appreciate the resource we offered even more. Over the years, the collection became quite large. When I closed Solotype a couple of years ago, I got rid of about half the archive (because the fonts were dull, or already digitized, or for a variety of other reasons) leaving me with about 6,000 fonts on paper or film.

In 1974, I began to supply Dover Publications with mechanicals for books of 100 alphabets on a particular theme. I did 30 of these books over the years, and 30 more of printers’ ornaments, borders, and so forth. Sometime in the 1990s, Dover asked me to digitize books of 24 fonts each, to be sold with a disk in the back. I did 12 of these. The Dover relationship came to an end when Haywood Cirker, the owner and my special friend, died and the company was sold to another publisher. Dover felt that they had covered the type field thoroughly.

Now in my old age, my wife and I have a mindreading act that is great fun and good for the ego. Even so, when not traveling, I digitize type for relaxation and enjoyment, but have made no effort to sell it. Until now.

Artist Survey #8: Tim Musso

Tim was my instructor in Computer Graphics at CSULB. He is well versed in the letterform, printmaking and design. His work is saturated with nuances and details, personality and nature. Under his guidance I learned to experiment through method and to look for the art in everyday experience. If you ever get a chance to attend his classes I suggest you do. It is priceless.


(UNTITLED : wood engraving : 8″x10″ : 2007)


(UNTITLED : silkscreen : 22″x30″ : 2007)


(UNTITLED : woodcut : 4’x8′ : 2007)

Name: Tim Musso

Location: Riverside, CA

Medium(s): Printmaking & Typography

What do you consider yourself (artist/designer/other)? Artist

Where can we see your work (place/publications/url)? I’ll have some of my typographic work as well as some prints on display at the Brandstater Gallery, La Sierra University, Riverside. Nov 10-23 and Nov 30-Dec 11

When did you start gaining interest in artistic forms of expression? I’ve always enjoyed making things and working on creative projects, so after high school it only made sense to study art in college. There is something fundamental to the human experience of working with your hands to express yourself.

Who/What inspired your interest? Natural forms are my primary source of inspiration.

Where do you first remember being exposed to art? I remember being entranced by the work of the graphic artist/printmaker M.C. Escher when I was very young. The strong contrast of the woodcut line with the interesting compositions and optical illusions really set me down the artistic path.

What is your day job? Professor of Art & Design

Why do you create? I would rather create than destroy.

Is there any recurring theme in your work? Natural forms and the written mark in its many various forms are elements that have been a focal point of my work for many years.

What do you want from your work? A means of working through ideas and the satisfaction of expressing and sharing these ideas through the creative process of mark making.

What do you want viewers to take from your work? Any chance to view the art/design of someone who has dedicated their life to visual expression is always a worthwhile experience. Art expresses the human condition in a way that nothing else can and therefore it has great value. I believe that anything that can open a person’s mind or engage their imagination ultimately has a positive role in our lives whether that be music, film, literature, art, or design.

How often do you work on personal projects? Since this semester has begun, about one day a week, usually Saturdays.

How often do you work on commissions or commercial work? Rarely.

Does your art support you financially? Teaching art and design supports my more personal creative explorations.

Do you feel preoccupied with your art, do you think about it often during the day and night and do you anticipate your next session? I look forward to sitting down and carving on my woodblock most often when I am busy doing something that I don’t want to be doing. Most people rot their minds with television to unwind from the day, but I usually find peace and restoration from carving on a block either engraving or cutting a block for a woodcut print.

What do you do in your spare time besides your art? Watch films, listen to music, read about economics and history, hike and take photographs.

Which musicians are you currently interested in? Black Diamond Heavies, Michael Franti, Aggrolites, Black Francis, Pressure Drop Soundcast (podcast), Mobtown Ska Sounds (podcast).

Are there any events you are looking forward to attending? I hope I can make it to the Southern Graphics Council (a big gathering of printmakers) this spring.

How long do you generally take on a piece? At least 50 hours.

Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of your art? No.

Do you work on multiple projects at once? I usually try to limit myself to one or two projects at a time.

Do you have trouble parting with your finished work? The great thing about printmaking is that you can make multiples, so I never have to part with my only copy of something that I have done.