Calligrapher, Teacher of Classical Languages
Over the centuries philosophers and artists have tried to define beauty. Some of the definitions they came up with were quite interesting, others amusing. People like Socrates enjoyed analyzing and criticizing them to pieces. Personally I like the attempt of the painter Hogarth who once stated: “Beauty is variety without confusion, simplicity without nakedness, richness without tawdriness, distinctness without hardness and quantity without excess.” One definitely hears an echo of Aristotle’s aurea mediocritas, the golden way in between, or if you want, the old Greek adage: never too much.
The good point about this definition is that it proves resistant to all sorts of temporary, whimsical tastes. It′s good to have that standard in the back of your mind, especially in these confusing times when art tends to tear down every possible conception, very often, it seems to me, just for the fun of shocking people out of their comfort zone.
Personally, my perception of ′beautiful calligraphy′ is not constant but ever shifting. At first I was drawn towards well executed, formal writing but quite soon I became more interested in free flowing and more modern ways of writing, still looking however for extreme elegance in these shapes. Finally I ended up being captivated by rude, awkward but all the more expressive letterforms. It may look like taking several steps back and one may wonder why anyone who has worked hard to attain a fairly high level of elegance would want to throw all that away. The answer is simple: in time, one gets bored by perfection or by aiming at it.
I discovered that there is so much beauty in things that testify they have lived, cracked, endured scratches and stains. An old weathered wall, which is nearly in ruins is much more interesting to look at than a clean, well kept one (the notion of the Japanese Wabi-Sabi comes to mind here). As so many other textural artists I want to be a prophet of that idea. That′s why the works I did in the last five years contain rough textures full of mystery and detail and of course, as I′m a calligrapher, also texts, which are often illegible scribbles for I want them to fit with the picture.
Apart from that, I have to add that good formal calligraphy, elegant writing and innovative calligraphy still exert a great attraction on me. As I said, beauty comes in many forms. Another side of my work is to present also the skill of the craftsman which is needed to produce such work.