Modern Revival of Calligraphy

In a world where email, instant messaging and social media rule modern day communication, writing by hand has taken a back seat, often reserved for rushed shopping lists and meeting minutes. Long before we learnt to touch type with our thumbs, written word took shape through calligraphy, differing across cultures but still serving the same important purposes; communication between parties and the preservation of the world’s most important manuscripts.


在这个电子邮件、即时信息和社交媒体铺天盖地的世界里,手写这件事早已退居其后,通常只用于匆匆写下购物清单或者进行会议记录。早在我们学会拇指触打文字之前,手写文字就已经形成书法,在不同的文化体系中尽管有所不同,但都同样有着重要的意义:政党机关里的信函沟通,全球最重要的手稿存留。

Lettering by hand has almost become a lost art, kept alive by dedicated practitioners who are now few and far between. At the forefront of this modern revival is Kuala Lumpur-based calligrapher and hand letterer Sharon Tan, widely known by her online moniker @ronnycakes.


手工字体设计已经几乎成为一种失传的艺术,在零星的虔诚爱好者中存留一线生机。这场当代复兴浪潮首当其冲者之一,便是居住在吉隆坡的书法家和手写字体设计师Sharon Tan,以网名@ronnycakes为更多人所熟识。

“I began dabbling in calligraphy some time in April 2015. At the beginning, there was this manic and obsessive energy to practice and achieve perfect script – I spent two to three hours every night after work practicing my drills, strokes and writing quotes.” Sharon’s calligraphy journey could be likened to a pursuit for perfection – fuelled both by a hunger to truly hone the craft and the therapeutic reward that came with every stroke.


“我从2015年四月开始涉足书法。最开始的时候,浑身都是疯狂练习、执着于达成完美手稿的能量——我每天下班后都会花两三个小时进行练习,注重每笔每划,练字成句。” Sharon的书法之路堪称追求完美——如饥似渴地打磨练习,最终的一笔一划都能投以让人身心愉悦的回报。

The first few weeks were difficult, as she learned her way around new tools and coaxed herself into an entirely new form of writing. After six months of rigorous practice, she ran her first every calligraphy workshop, realising a personal dream to share her knowledge and passion for lettering.


最初的几周颇为难熬,因为她在用新的工具探索其道路,并不断引导自己尝试全新的书写形式。在经过半年的艰苦训练后,她创办了她的首个书法研讨班,实现自己的梦想——分享她对字体书写的知识和热爱。

Sharon cites her body of work as a series of spontaneous creations and an extension of her practice sessions. She encourages all of her students to approach calligraphy as an art form by beginning with the basics and building up to a solid foundation in order to branch off into other forms of contemporary lettering; she herself began by studying the Engrosser’s Script method.


Sharon表示她作品的主体就是一系列随性的创造和其长期练习的一种结果。她鼓励她所有的学生将书法视为一种艺术形式来学习,从最基础的练习开始,夯实基础,才能在此之上衍生出当代手写字体的其他表现形式。她自己就是从学习Engrosser’s Script的方法开始的。

In addition to lettering, Sharon also loves to combine calligraphy with watercolour illustrations to create whimsical mixed media pieces that are inspired by travel, literature and childhood nostalgia.


除了手写字体,Sharon还喜欢把水彩插画融入其书法中,创造出一种特立独行的混搭型作品,而那些灵感有的来自旅行,有的来自文学,还有的来自童年的怀旧情怀。

She also describes Kuala Lumpur’s art scene as a thriving environment, with calligraphy slowly making its way to centre stage. Calligraphy has a very niche local following in Malaysia, which has been steadily gaining traction in recent years. “I think that certain people appreciate the art of good penmanship, but not necessarily everyone. Some find it as a luxury that is hardly worth spending on. Others wonder why we spend so much time and money on something that can be reproduced by a computer!”


她还认为吉隆坡的艺术市场发展欣欣向荣,书法正在慢慢走向中心舞台。在马来西亚,书法在当地人中自有一个市场,并在近年来稳步发展,得到越来越多的关注。“我想特定的人群会欣赏这种精致的书法艺术,但未必会达到人人都接受的地步。有的人觉得那是一种与付出不成正比的奢侈之物,还有人会质疑:为何要如此费时费力去做一些用电脑就能批量复制的东西。”

In between holding down a full time job and co-owning a wedding photography business, Sharon sees calligraphy as an opportunity to push her creativity and collaborate without constraints. Previously, she’s worked with Stabilo, a German stationery manufacturer; Swatch, a swiss watch brand; and MUJI – such projects have allowed her to explore new techniques and create freely. As one of Kuala Lumpur’s most dynamic young artists, Sharon continues to blaze the trail for budding calligraphers in Malaysia and around the world.


在全职工作和合营的婚礼摄影生意之间,她将书法视为一个推动自己的创意和自由合作的一种机会。此前,她曾与德国文具制造商Stabilo、手表品牌Swatch以及MUJI等开展合作,在这样的项目里,她得以大胆地去探索新的技术和发挥天马行空的创造力。作为吉隆坡最具活力的年轻艺术家之一,Sharon将继续在书法之路上,为马来西亚以及世界上其他地方成长中的书法者们,开辟道路。

Instagram@ronnycakes

 

Contributor: Whitney Ng


Instagram@ronnycakes

 

供稿人: Whitney Ng