Review of “Journey of Experimental Calligraphy”

Yukimi began her journey story with a childhood photo of her and her sister growing up on a small peninsula near Tokyo on their parent’s flower farm. Years later, Yukimi graduated from art school where she studied visual communication design. Her job as a graphic designer involved logos and other forms of corporate design. As time passed she discovered the joy of drawing letters, doing calligraphy as a hobby and joining her local calligraphy guild, The Society for Calligraphy in southern California. In time to come she took a comprehensive correspondence course from the University of Roehampton in London. Determined to learn even more, she went on to study with many well-known calligraphy instructors, representing numerous aspects of calligraphy from traditional to abstract. Now doing private commission work and commercial lettering in her studio in Torrance, CA, Yukimi is well-versed in the practice of historical and modern calligraphic styles. She uses a wide variety of tools—broad edged and pointed pens, folded pen, brush, both chisel and pointed. She has now joined ranks with her former teachers and often teaches as they do in other countries and at international calligraphy conferences.

a collage made by Yukimi of her weekend in Minnesota

a collage made by Yukimi of her weekend in Minnesota

Yukimi showed images of her work from different time periods as well as her current work. Beginning with a more traditional footing, and falling in love with western calligraphy with its emphasis on the Roman alphabet, she became interested in experimental, expressive calligraphy, something beyond traditional structured letterforms. “I am drawn to working with text and visual texture.”

Yukimi often looks to the textures in nature and explores calligraphic mark-making using found tools like twigs, stones, and bark. She works with sumi ink, acrylic mediums, watercolor, canvas, calf-skin vellum and fine art papers. Valuing simplicity and the principles of the Japanese aesthetic of wabi sabi, Yukimi brings an elegance, a subtle palette and an innate rightness to her expressive work. She has been deeply influenced by the work of Japanese abstract art and calligraphy. “We need to put our feelings into our work. The meaning of the text is in my core. In a text, find one word that works well for you. Always ask what can I do as a calligrapher? What can I do with my calligraphy?”

Yukimi stressed the importance of developing meaning and harmony in our work. Rather than simply mimicking a mark found in nature, she uses specific aspects of the natural mark or pattern as a basis for creating a new letterform or alphabet. She offered a helpful practical technique— that of finding the best parts of a design by cropping it with a view-finder, searching for an otherwise hidden “sub-composition” that contains good design qualities.

Hearing the “why” and “how” directly from the artist adds so much to our appreciation and comprehension of a work of art. This is the case with Yukimi Annand whose work and words inspire us to discover expression and harmony on our own calligraphic journeys.