The Big Brush

A few years back, while a sessional tutor at the University for the Creative Arts, I thought it would be fun the build a giant calligraphy brush to explore the subject of unpredictability and chance in graphics.

Fascinated by an article I had read about the ‘Brush Mind’ calligrapher Kazuaki Tanahashi, who built his own giant brushes for use in his pursuits of mindfulness I managed to persuade the 3D department at the Maidstone campus to build me one. The left image is of Kazuaki Tanahashi with his brush and on the right is Martin Verrier constructing mine.

To this day, I have no idea what Martin used to make this giant brush, but I was truly grateful to him and Peter Smith (the Foundation Course Leader) for building it. I then managed to secure a venue at Maidstone Museum who allowed me use their forecourt to create a giant word ‘Magic’ with ink kindly supplied by Parker on paper kindly supplied by St Cuthberts Mill.

It was quite a spectacle and a great excuse for attracting a huge crowd and running some ink workshops. I was in my element!

Some years later, having had time to reflect, that brush when loaded with ink, was incredibly heavy to lift and the word Magic extremely difficult to create. But the actual marks made were a sheer delight to behold. On such a massive scale with little real control, the ink blots and swooshes together with the bleach reaction was just fabulous – so natural and non contrived. Real freedom and expression!

The artwork has since been sliced up and framed as 35 abstract artworks of which I have four hanging in Brussels, fifteen hanging in my studio and the others in numerous locations across Europe and the USA.

I also have another 2 giant calligraphy paintings rolled away in a cupboard. If anyone is interested in purchasing a series of framed, signed and sealed abstract calligraphic paintings which would look fabulous in a contemporary setting of a: home, restaurant, office, hotel, shop etc do please get in touch.

So, unpredictability and chance in graphics? I think the project and event demonstrates this perfectly! And some!

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