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Posts Tagged ‘SFPL’

01_AB

Calligrapher Alan Blackman has an unparalled passion for letters — both typographically and philatelically speaking.

02_AB

Letters to Myself: The Calligraphic First Day Covers of Alan A. Blackman at the SF Public Library exhibits truly stunning work created by Blackman over the course of thirty six years.

03_AB

Simply put: this is a beautiful exhibition: incredible calligraphy, wonderful philately, and ingenious design. I had the great good fortune of having the gallery (somewhat) all to myself when I stopped by to see the show; I  felt that I was able to spend time one-on-one with each of Blackman’s creations, free of distractions.

04_AB

Alongside the displayed artwork, a video interview (linked below) with Mr. Blackman describes his work at the Rincon Annex postal counter, a P.O. near and dear to my heart. He also references “two shops selling stamps for collectors near my place of employment” — I’m hoping that’s a reference to US Stamp and Supply Company, another place dear to my heart (which closed up shop in SF last year.)

05_AB

“For colored writing I used gouache in tubes or water-soluble colored pencils. I later learned how to grind a set of colored Japanese stick inks on individual ink stones: one stone for reds, one for blues, one for greens, etc.”

–Alan Blackman, courtesy of the SFPL Book Arts and Special Collections “What’s Happening On the Sixth Floor” blog

06_AB

There have been some delightful interviews and reviews of this exhibit over the past couple of months, most notably by the good folks over at Social Correspondence and the SF Chronicle. And while I feel that I could spend hours writing up how inspiring (and inspired) this show is, I find that putting the exhibition into words is much harder than I thought it would be, simply by virtue of the fact that it is so overwhelmingly thoughtful.

07_AB

In interviews, Blackman is modest about his work; he says that he was initially surprised by people’s positive reactions to his decorated envelopes. Presenting them at a monthly meeting of San Francisco’s Friends of Calligraphy, he remarks: “I was so shy and sheepish, I thought something as personal as this would not appeal to anyone else. I brought what I had of my collection at the time, very sheepish, thinking that nobody could possibly be interested.”

08_AB

“To my astonishment, everyone was fascinated beyond my wildest expectations. It seems like there might be a law here… something like the more personal your work, the more people admire it, but I don’t know if that’s universally true.”

–Alan Blackman,  courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library’s YouTube channel

09_welsh dragon

What more can I tell you? Do yourself a huge favor and stop by the Koret Gallery at the Main Branch of SFPL. Exhibition runs thru October 13th, 2015. More details can be found here.

–JH

add’l resources:

What’s On the Sixth Floor? (SFPL Book Arts and Special Collections blog)

video interview with Alan Blackman (many of the above quotes are pulled from this video)

Alan Blackman Calligraphy (Mr. Blackman’s website)

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via the "head vs. heart" blog...

via the “head vs. heart” blog…

 

Red Letter readers, I have something unbelievably exciting to share with you! I know its Monday. I understand the weekend’s over (sniff). But this is really really good, so I’ll need your undivided attention.

Ok, good.

Ready, set, go:

EXTRA! EXTRA! read all about it!!!

EXTRA! EXTRA! read all about it!!!

I am thrilled that you, dear readers, are among the first folks to learn about the Ex Postal Facto Conference – you’re hearing it here FIRST! Taking place February 2014 in San Francisco, Ex Postal Facto promises to be a three day, fun-filled celebration of correspondence art, faux philatelics and all things postal.

comin' right at'cha!

comin’ right at’cha!

Venues include the SF Center for the Book, the historic SF Elks Lodge, and the SF Public Library. A major mail art exhibition (and opening reception), vendor expo, and afternoon of lectures are already on the docket for February 14th – 16th. Believe it or not, there’s more to come; I’m hard at work with the Ex Postal crew, fine tuning details for the weekend. (saying that we’re sorta like Santa’s elves would not be too far from the mark…)

hey look! it's my palm pilot! (I NEVER get tired of that joke...)

hey look! it’s my palm pilot! (I NEVER get tired of that joke…)

So what does that mean? It means that I’m really, really, really hoping you’ll be able to join me and the Ex Postal crew here in San Francisco in February! This will be an historic gathering of new school and old school mail artists, artistamp makers and Networkers – in short: a MAJOR mail art congress will be taking place. And it’s really happening.

outgoing, with help from Neenah Papers...

outgoing, with help from Neenah Papers…

There are many ways to get involved, even if you’re not local to San Francisco. Would you like some “save the date” postcards to send to your mailing list? I’m happy to send you some! Want to submit artwork for the “mail/art/book” show at SF Center for the Book? Take a look here. Are you a blogger or interested in writing about Ex Postal Facto for a print publication? By all means, send me an email (or a postcard, whichever strikes your fancy!)

dreamy...

dreamy…

An event is only as good as the people participating. I am so very fortunate to have an excellent crew, an incredible co-curator for the mail art exhibition and amazing friends who have helped out with venue space. Moving forward, the next part of the process is equally exciting: finding a way to make sure all of my postal pals from near and far (that’s YOU GUYS) can be in attendance!

I'm ready to go to Ex Postal Facto!!!

I’m ready to go to Ex Postal Facto!!!

My fingers are crossed that we’ll all be in the same city next February. (that’s some pretty good news, huh? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!)

In all things postal –

–JH

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