Inking Chairil Anwar’s Words
The craft of hand-lettering plays a big part in my next science fiction project, Bio Fantasy. The project is a tribute to Chairil Anwar. He had transformed the way our language, Bahasa Indonesia, was used in the past. He deconstructed formal syntax, to create different layers of emotion in his poetry. My exploration was about adding sensuality to the letterforms of his words.
Like all handmade crafts, hand-lettering allows ourselves to experience mistakes. This craft can be therapeutic on a neurotic day.
Imperfections are bound to happen with this craft. Mistakes such as misspelling of a word, smudged ink or a bad curve line.
When I do find these technical defects on my page, I continue to ink. Until the flaws become a charming aspect of the work.
It is important to get rid of the fear of making mistakes. I often get so anxious of making all the possible mistakes. This fear can stop me from inking the page. So the real challenge is to face this fear and to see the real beauty in many forms. The esthetic is subjective, so I have the option of breaking some lettering standards.
What is most important for me is the experimental process which can open our mind. If the first word is ugly, the next one will be better and the 100th word will be inked with joy. So I practice a lot.
The satisfaction from hand-lettering happens when the hand movement is free flowing like water. The aim is to make the pressure of the stroke to be light weight.
We can twirl the pen as we drag it across the page to produce contrasting thick and thin strokes. Contentment and confidence usually produce a better quality of line.
This year I have hand-lettered excerpts from Chairil Anwar’s poetry. The first one of this series is ‘Aku ini binatang jalang’. This work will make its debut on 30 September 2015 as part of Tulisan’s new product line – the Letters Edition.
I hope you will enjoy this collection.
Triple kisses, M.S.
(Photography by Michal Gorzynski)
A Tribute to Chairil Anwar