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Category Archives: wall painting

As eventually happened with most of the alphabetic systems in history, the Roman’s alphabet -out of Greek emphasis, likewise their myths are- has been mediated initially on stone and/or wooden surfaces. Yet the common thought about design and many other sort of fields follow the idea that “nothing is carved in stone” as the indicative of change. Even though the unique and ornamental aesthetics of Roman letters -not borrowed from Greeks- were more suitable for paper-writing, stone press is known to be the more durable way of preserving the written language. Still, wood reliefs were hard to do using the Roman serif.

Today we’re concerned basically about ‘public lettering’ which John R. Nash talks about in his article In Defence of the Roman Letter, which he defines as the  “informational lettering on signs, memorials, buildings; lettering which is intended to be a part of our daily lives, and which I see as still being best served by the traditional Roman capital and its relatives an amazing family capable of infinite subtle variations, which no one has yet come to the end of.”

Comes to my mind now 2 distinct artists, using alphabet as the core of their art yet the outcome of their artwork is far from typographic design, rather one uses the very essence of letter forms with respect and admiration towards its aesthetics and the other uses in more of a talkative way, to reveal hic prophecy.

Lawrence Weiner a 1942-born New Yorker, as a central figure in 60s conceptual art, as mentioned before uses typography as the basis of his works after 70s. He started off using Franklin Gothic family for a while as the base of his typographic work, painting his sentences in huge dimensions on walls. His wall installations consist only of pure, undecorated words in a nondescript manner. “Although this body of work focuses on the potential for language to serve as an art form, the subjects of his epigrammatic statements are often materials, or a physical action or process…”


Porr Gentileza, our second typography hero, is a Brazilian artist recalled as a prophet. He performs his art writing his prophecies on ancient bare walls, adding a bit of yellow paint below, as his signature. What renders him much different from Lawrence Weiner is that Gentileza has his own new language for communication, yet the mode of this communication is also different from Weiner’s worldly monologues. Instead of writing “amor” he prefers to write “amorrr”.