"A Better Language"

Calligraphy by Denis Brown

Innovative artist's print by Denis Brown             Enlarge in a new window

'All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language' John Donne

Large format, c.14.5" x 37"; 37 x 93cm.
US$ 210.00
for equivalent in other currencies, check the currency calculator at: www.xe.com/ucc/

 

Denis Brown fine edition: "A Better Language"
Each print is a unique combination of manual virtuosity & digital interactions with calligraphy.

The image features a self portrait, photographed as I danced through digital projections of my calligraphy. A large format 37" long print, archival giclée on 140lb watercolor paper.

 

H A N D   P R E P A R A T I O N   F O R   E A C H   P R I N T

porcupine quill

 

After stretching a sheet cut from a large roll of 140lb Bockingford cold pressed, I paint parts of the surface with gesso primer and write into this wet paint using an uncut porcupine quill. It leaves a textural sgraffiti visible behind the printed calligraphy, detail below.

 

Calligraphy by Denis Brown

Detail showing handwritten textural sgraffiti below printed calligraphy

 

A R C H I V A L   P R I N T I N G

printing

 

It takes a full day before I'm ready to print a sheet. After a few hours allowing the gesso primer to dry, I brush on two coats of a special inkjet coating to ensure a really crisp print. After these have dried, I hand feed each sheet of the prepared 140lb watercolor paper through my Epson Stylus Pro 3800. It prints at 2880dpi using Epson's 9 color light-fast K-3 pigmented ink set. Finishing includes a couple of sprayed coats of a UV protective lacquer, (which has no visible affect on the surface, but assists further longevity and permanence); and finally all 4 edges of the print are hand torn for a deckle edge effect, clearly visible in the detail photo spanning the top of this page.

 

P O L Y R H Y T H M I C   C A L L I G R A P H Y

Calligraphy by Denis Brown

 

The writing is what I call 'polyrhythmic', not a very legible option, but one with more formal variation than typical in western calligraphy. It was written with vigorous, gestural pen-strokes. Music is a reference when I speak about rhythm and layering. Think of a solo singer, who has potential to render a song more intelligible than a multi voiced performance; yet the layering of voices in a choir can be musically richer, at the expense of some intelligibility. Put the choir in a cathedral and reflections and reverberation from stone walls in a large space multiply the depth of sound, although again at the expense of intelligibility. The layering of the calligraphy here, and its rhythmic compressions and rarefactions, similarly place emphasis on a musical quality of writing over clear intelligibility of lyrical content.

 

C O N C E P T S   &   M E A N I N G S

'All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language....' John Donne

Donne speaks of mankind as the creative content of a volume bigger than any individual. My image presents the body as book, and there is a suggestion of the individual carrying forward the content of this book; that is, developing inherited traditions to live in the present, and carrying their meaning towards future generations.

In this image the calligrapher becomes the calligraphy. The body forms a glyph as its gestural movement across the picture plane divides the white space in a manner I have come to appreciate from letter design. Paradoxically, the body is revealed by projected calligraphy that simultaneously camouflages it's identity. And the body likewise conceals the text of its skin of contorted calligraphy. However the message is just about readable in the flag of layered language that trails the body and flies behind.

 

P R I N T   O R D E R I N G   I N F O.

Edition limited to 100 signed and numbered prints . Shipping worldwide by priority airmail rolled around a sturdy card tube, and with an artist signed certificate of authenticity.
Size (approximately): 14.5" x 37"; 37 x 93cm.
Exact dimensions vary slightly due to individual hand trimming.

US$ 210
for equivalent in other currencies, check the currency calculator at: www.xe.com/ucc/

 

Denis Printing
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