I had seen Craig's beautiful lettering online and was immediately drawn to his craftsmanship and skill. After featuring his work in a couple of posts, talking type and corresponding back and forth on social channels, we struck up a friendship and a collaborative process was the natural next step.
"We brainstormed ideas for a series of work. We wanted to explore the juxtapositions in our relationship - we may contrast in styles - but we are cohesive in our passion and approach!"
After developing a number of options via Skype, the pair exchanged rough concepts via email. Using Dropbox to add, amend and annotate the ideas as they developed.
"we settled on two ideas to get the collaboration underway - we had a deadline as wanted to exhibit part of the series at ING creative in Dubai - which Craig was traveling to in just eight weeks."
From the outset, we understood shipping and the logistics of moving the artworks would be challenging. So while they were awash with ideas, they agreed on some constraints on format and size to get them started.
"Once we had identified the 500x500mm scale of the frames I proofed and measured some of my wood type collection, selected the paper stock and decided to compose and print the form on 'Frank' - my Farley No 25. I chose not to use the self-inking mechanism or feed board as was keen to hand ink and the form. I wanted the printing to be as manual as possible."
After the prints were dry enough to stack I packaged the edition of six + some proofs to ship to Craig in Glasgow. After an anxious wait, they arrived with Craig ready for him to work his magic! He began by using a wrong reading pencil outline on the front face of the glass to guide him to stipple the backside using a paint pen. Once complete Craig layered the lettered glass on top of the letterpress prints and made six custom frames.
Northern / Southern
We both live in different hemispheres and wanted to use this as the basis for one of the artworks. The word 'Northern' sits above and overlaps the word 'Southern' - when light hits the work northern casts a shadow over southern which represents night and day in our two time zones.
Girl meets Boy. North meets South. Day meets Night. Lettering meets Letterpress. The words 'opposites' and 'attract' conflict in a negative situation but by combining the two words and their meanings we create a positive + symbol (and outcome!).
The artworks were shipped to Dubai "Our collaboration project got the best response as people wondered how we came together and how we made the works from opposite sides of the world."
After returning to the Uk, two of the pieces were back to Australia. I had hoped to show the pieces as a demonstration of the power of community and collaboration at the Design Conference in Brisbane. Unfortunately, despite very careful packaging one of the artworks did not survive the journey back to the southern hemisphere. Although after talking about the collaboration showing the artworks before and after transportation it seemed the enthusiastic crowd could definitely relate to 'being fed up with FedEx.'
"Just as Craig had experienced in Dubai, the community here was super curious (and excited!) that we were able to make an analogue collaboration work long distance."
Northern/Southern and Opposites/Attract are the first two in what will be an ongoing exercise in collaborative typographic matchmaking with Craig Black. We are looking forward to our continued cross-continental creative play.
Mixed media works completed 2016:
Paint on glass, Soy-based ink on a 70% paper 30% cotton stock