Striking Works of Art Made With a Manual Typewriter

Slate’s design blog.
April 4 2014 10:52 AM

Striking Designs From the World’s Typewriter Artists

140404_EYE_Typewriter Art1
The author notes that the two panels of Carnival, made by Steve McCaffery between 1967 and 1975, are among the most significant pieces of typewriter art ever produced.

Courtesy of Laurence King

The typewriter may have become obsolete for committing thoughts to paper, but the object itself remains a powerful instrument for designers, artists, illustrators, poets, and writers, who have been using the pre-digital machinery to make art for more than a century.

140404_EYE_Typewriter Art4
Alan Riddell's ‘o’ from The Seasons Suite, 1975–76, from an uncompleted serial visual poem by this major figure in the promotion of typewriter art.

Courtesy of Laurence King

Typewriter Art: A Modern Anthology by Barrie Tullett, a graphic designer and senior lecturer in graphic design at the Lincoln School of Art and Design in the United Kingdom, will be published later this month by Laurence King.

140404_EYE_Typewriter Art6
Typewriter Art: A Modern Anthology contains 180 illustrations of work by typewriter artists from around the world.

Courtesy of Laurence King

"The definition of typewriter art can really only ever be a personal one," writes Tullett in the book's introduction. "For some artists, it is an object to draw—from the machine itself, to the ephemera associated with it (typewriter oils, ribbon cases and so on)—or ... a tool to draw with; a means of making art."

140404_EYE_Typewriter Art2
Looking Forward, 2010 (left), and Typeface, 2004 (right), by Leslie Nichols. The artist combines texts with images to create mixed-media landscapes and portraits. Large-scale text pieces are made with hand-stamped oil-based inks and stencilled graphite; smaller, more intimate works are produced entirely with a manual typewriter.

Courtesy of Laurence King

Advertisement

The author notes that "the book follows the development of the typewriter as a medium for creating work far beyond anything envisioned by the machine’s makers, from the earliest known works produced at the end of the 1800s, through the pioneers of the 1920s, to the exuberance of the concrete and kinetic poets of the 1950s, and on to a discussion of the relationship between typewritten text and narrative form."

140404_EYE_Typewriter Art5
British fine artist Ruth Broadbent's String Wrapped (Typewriter) from 2012–13.

Courtesy of Laurence King

The book features 180 illustrations of work by typewriter artists from around the world as well as interviews with a handful of contemporary working typewriter artists.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 16 2014 11:46 PM The Scariest Campfire Story More horrifying than bears, snakes, or hook-handed killers.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.