Fine art typographers?

hodge's picture

I'm working on a project for a senior class at my school. The project is about typography and fine art. I'm designing three alphabets and painting them onto a canvas, to make the point that typography is a fine art.

My professor is asking that we find ten 'contemporary' artists that are doing what we're doing. So do any of you know of people who are treating type as a fine art. ie incorporating it into painting, sculpture or anything like that. Something beyond simply designing a font.

I've looked around and I haven't really seen much of this, but if you know of anyone who is doing this I'd greatly appreciate your input.

If you have any questions about what I mean exactly feel free to ask as well. Thanks!

keith_tam's picture

i Ed Ruscha does (did?) a lot of typographic paintings.

crafty's picture

Ifyour looking for present day artist then I think the list will be fairly short. I think a good look at any typographic book will give you a long list of artists such as the cubists (Picaso and Braque), The futurists (Bella, Cara and Severini) most importantly Fillippo Tommaso ("words in freedom") Marinetti. Then look at modernists like, El lissitsky (who created 'of two squares' typographical "paintings"). Constructavists Alaxandr Rodchenko. De stijl and Dada Theo Van Doesberg. The Bauhaus, Kurt Schwitters, Moholy Nagy, Lissitski and other modernists like Piet Zwart and Vilmos Haszar. You may also find that looking at some of hte graphis typographic manuals will give you a better modern approach and na incling of some more artistic renditions. I used to love the work of an excellent japanese sculpture/designer who's sculptural brushed steel work I would class as art but his name has been lost to time... I think it was something like, Takanobu Igerashi? you've got me onto a subject I love, so I'll find out ond get back to you.

hodge's picture

paul, if you could find the japanese guy's name I'd greatly appreciate it. I'm really interested in sculpting letterforms in metal, but I haven't done it yet. So if I could see someone else's work who is/was doing that type of work that would be excellent!


hrant's picture

There's Delve Withrington, in the Bay Area.
Very talented - does all kinds of aristic lettering.

I also remember this guy (once mentioned by Tiffany or Tanya, either here or on Typographica) that took famous old paintings and added huge 3D letters into the scenery - but I don't remember his name.

Lastly, our Ole Sorensen has made some 300-pound metal letters.

BTW, the Japanese guy you want is probably Takenobu Igarashi.


kentlew's picture

Consider the role that lettering played in some of the work of Jasper Johns. He was using vernacular stencil letters, as opposed to designing an alphabet himself, but some of his large alphabet paintings are remarkable in their exploration of two-dimensional space. One example:"0 through 9", maybe not the best; I can't find any images online of his large, alphabet canvases.

Although not what you're specifically asking about, I suspect, you might also take a look at the work of Jack Stauffacher, a typographer and printer who has explored letterforms as pure shape in compositions that he creates using old wood types.

Almost completely unrelated to your exporation, but worth mentioning as a tangent, Beatrice Riese created a series of marvelous abstract, all-over compositions in pencil, each named for a different typeface. One example: "Syntax, Souvenir, Symbol" (a lo-res scan can't do justice to the work, unfortunately).

aquatoad's picture

From the typophile homepage.
Alphabet as Art:

crafty's picture

Thats exactly the man HHP; I was one letter out (Takenobu Igerashi) not a bad gues after ten years of not seeing his work. But yes very inspirational use of typographic forms to create truely original architectural sculprure.

joevdb's picture

Lari Pittman.

He's not well represented on the web. A contemporary artist in Los Angeles. A monograph is available at some art Museum bookstores. Find it. Lovely.


matteson's picture

1. Christopher Wool is the bomb.
2. Kay Rosen
3. Sean Landers, the king of slacker art.
4. Probably not what you're looking for, and not so contemporary, but Joseph Kosuth
5. Also not so contemporary, but nonetheless, Bruce Nauman & Robert Indiana
6. Jack Pierson

hodge's picture

Randy, that's funny you should mention that, because that's where I go to school. I haven't yet seen it, but I definitely plan on it.

And thanks for all the input everyone.

Dan Weaver's picture

My favorite is the Swiss artist Paul Klee. Lettering in many of his paintings was as important as any other line or color.

soupermie's picture

not sure how everyone feels about graffiti and if you can call it fine art.. but i like "delta" a lot.. not all links are relevant but i know he did some stuff with letterforms, 3d, paintings and sculptures

beejay's picture

incorporating type into paintings...

Christian Schwartz and Chank Diesel

snoooopy's picture

I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for...

Thomas Ingmire
These are a little easier to see.

John Stevens

Katharina Piper

Timothy Botts

Cardozo Kindersley
He's a stone cutter. Check out the his alphabets cut in stone in the gallery. I love the flourished alphabet.

I bookmarked this site because I thought that the sculpture (bottom right) was really neat.

hrant's picture

> Cardozo Kindersley
> He's a stone cutter.

That's a she, I think.


snoooopy's picture

Oh my gosh! You're right Hrant! All this time I had her confused with her husband. Thanks for the heads up.

david_roughs's picture


My fave is Demuth's Figure 5 In Gold.
Figure 5 In Gold

David Roughs

hoefler's picture

Margaret Kilgallen was one of my favorites, and she is deeply missed.

anonymous's picture

Of course, Jasper Johns
and Robert Rauschenberg

Syndicate content Syndicate content