The Letter Collector

Bo Heimlich & Andrew Johnson - P - pen & ink on paper - 8" x 10"

What is it about hand-made letters that utterly rocks our world? Are we just so bored with reading and seeing everything digitally nowadays? Or is it because working with type is such a huge component to our jobs as designers that our fascination with typography never ceases? Or maybe it’s just so dang refreshing to see a unique interpretation of the banally familiar. For whatever reason, spicing up the alphabet sure makes looking at letters way more exciting than it ever was in kindergarten!

Jillian Mackintosh curator of the recently launched San Francisco-based art exhibition, The Letter Collector, at Gallery Hijinks adds, “I think hand-made letters have always been popular for artists and letter enthusiasts since the invention of the press. Not only does hand-made type incorporate design, but it expresses individual style in a way that everyone can relate to. Typography and script are making a huge comeback, in part, because of the internet and the accessibility for people to exhibit their unique style to the world.”

Now through March 26th, the personality-injected artistic letters of over 50 emerging and established artists are on display at Gallery Hijinks. Not only does the show feature beautifully hand-drawn letters, but also type made from synthetic hair, neon, woodwork – and even a razor-sharp metal-cutting saw bent into the shape of a ‘J,’ as well as a dictionary carved into an ‘X.’

Jakub Kalousek - J - saw & wire - 7" x 22"

Rosie Hanna - X - websters dictionary - 15" x 10"

Designer/Creative Director Joe Lumbroso of Lumbroso Productions and partner at Gallery Hijinks initially conceived the idea for the exhibition, “I find myself constantly obsessing about typography and letters…I thought it’d be sick, for my own personal amusement if nothing else, to see a show with a bunch of artists I admire all doing a version of their favorite letters.”

But it wasn’t until Mackintosh and Lumbroso made the fabulous garage sale find of an antique letterpress kit, that the concept for the exhibition became complete: to present a modern twist on the vintage type collections of yesteryear letterpress printers through various size, materials and artistic mediums.

Jing Wei - H - wood block print on paper - 6.5" x 6

Hannah Stouffer - J - ink on paper - 16" x 20"

Cora Lanzisero - M - ceramic - set of 3

Rosie Hanna - X - carved wood - 5" x 6"

Molly Bosley - E - graphite on mylar - 20" x 20"

Mackintosh adds, “Our hope is that people won’t just buy one letter, but have the opportunity to make words, get their initials, etc.” Oh yeah. I almost forgot – you can spell stuff with these beauties too. To geek out on more hand-made type from The Letter Collector, check out Gallery Hijinks’ website.

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