Laura Meseguer did a graphic artist residence at the AGA LAB in Amsterdam. Where she had access to silkscreen and risography print production. The residency led to the conception of a (typo)graphic exhibition called Expanding the Craft which featured outstanding artwork and a beautiful publication entitled letrazine. The exhibition’s concept and title represent where Laura Began at the AGA LAB.
She writes; As a type designer working in custom assignments, I get a briefing and normally start sketching by hand or I use calligraphy, and later I work in my computer to create the full alphabet or digitize the letterforms. But in any case, I’m not the designer who will use them, but the “translator” of what the client needs. By being a designer, I can also be in charge of the content, become the editor, and create a project that combines both the content and the translation, working in the full process. This is the expansion of my craft. My residence at the AGA LAB allowed me to work on a new project that goes from the idea to the print, a place where the available techniques had also influenced this “translation”.
Laura was influenced by one of my favourite print artists Sister Corita Kent (among other luminaries including David Hockney, Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman, Robert Indiana, Depero)She realised during a contextual review of the work she admired that, in many cases, the content was poetry essays or related to activism. Which informed her work as did responding to place by referencing the lettering in the city of Amsterdam.
Laura writes; I'm fascinated by the fact that more designers are becoming producers—authors, publishers, instigators, and entrepreneurs—actively employing their creative skills as makers of content and shapers of experiences. I thought it was perfect for that moment and I did it through printing as it was the most familiar way of production to me. I modestly started to reflect all those inputs in my sketchbook and used some of my sketches and photos to learn and test the techniques. Later came the idea of creating an alphabet, it seemed natural as type design is my expertise, but in a quite different way.
Using risography combined with silkscreen and later relief (for texture and tactility), Laura was able to get experimental in her artistic approach, she particularly gravitated towards riso's freshness and simplicity. She acknowledges that all together these analogue production methods gave the works, another dimension, much different to the one you can get with only digital techniques.
The Expanding the Craft Exhibition has 3 different parts: “Lettering Extravaganza”, the posters; “Personal”, the letrazine; and the Collages.
“Lettering Extravaganza” is an ongoing project, consisting of a set of posters showing the ‘letters’ of a conceptual or imaginary alphabet, where every letter was designed to represent a concept or attribute applicable to letterforms, lettering, and type design. Some of the outputs are resolved with a letter, a word, a quote or lyric. They are a sort of visual poetry, where the letters and words mixture is open to associations and interpretations. Laura printed a limited edition of each of the posters in her alphabet - some are available for sale and you can contact Laura directly to express interest if you’d like to purchase!
“Personal”, the letrazine, is a sort of magazine that presents 3 different connected chapters.
The publication is 22 internal pages 4pp cover, they are Japanese Stab bound (by hand) and Japanese binding done by hand, and printed Riso in 9 colors: Yellow, Pink Fluo, Orange Fluo, Red, Bright Red, Green, Blue, Medium Blue and Purple. The letrazine is presented in a folder together with the Lettering Extravaganza P poster, which acts as the cover, as a sort of artistic object. 24 copies of this gorgeous publication were printed and a few are still available for sale
The Collages (Collage 1 and Collage 2) are two unique artworks that came as a result of all the process, they are mixed media works, composed of different pieces of exhibition content. Once assembled these pieces were placed on an embossed canvas with relief print that gives a tactile dimension to the artwork.