Calvert Guthrie is [ set apart ].
_"I'm a third-generation calligrapher with a particular interest in graphic design, alphabets,
and typography. My earliest memories of my mother include images of her inscribing the
memorial book for our Augustana Lutheran Church. I was raised to respect the importance
and appearance of the written word, but with the understanding that gifts and skill count
for nothing if my name isn't also inscribed in the Lamb's book of life."
As Director of the Kansas City Center for Ink & Paper Arts, Calvert Guthrie shares his passions with the community by giving them opportunities to grow as lettering artists and by teaching them about the art of vintage letterpress. Some of his latest work has been for set apart, including The Hope Memorial, the 2011 Season Pass, and The Art Event at KCC. Discover a
very gifted inscription designer in the words below.
What is/are your creative passion(s)?
Handwritten letterforms. Carved letterforms. Teaching.
How are you using your creative gifts?
To promote worthy ideas and make a living.
What message do you try to communicate in your creative work?
My design ideas are subordinate to a clear presentation of the author's text and message. Essentially my work is utilitarian but, where appropriate, it is also my job to find solutions
that graphically express the tone of that message and sometimes its emotional content.
What is your ideal environment for creating?
Bright but defused light, a comfortable seat and slightly tilted drawing board, early classical
or middle eastern music, a snoring Brittany, and hot coffee.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Listening to people and my internal music. People move my thinking, music moves my hand.
Who has been a great influence on your life?
I owe so much to so many who were kind enough to offer a clue or a kick in the pants when
it was badly needed. My parents, mainly.
Describe the ultimate opportunity in your line of work.
I can't overstate the value of getting to work for Hallmark Cards. It was one of the few institutions that needed lettering artists and could challenge their imaginations and aims. I
still feel mighty blessed to have gotten to work in a department with some of the best stylists anywhere. Now and then, however, I wonder what it might be like to work as a White House calligrapher.
What advice do you have for other artists and creatives on their journey?
Listen to critics carefully and patiently. Even when a critic is wrong you can still learn
something of why he doesn't understand your stuff.
Experience Calvert's creativity.
The image above is a promotion piece Calvert designed for "The Art Event at KCC," Kansas City's premier Christian festival of the arts. He used one of the many printing presses at his not-for-profit community studio, Kansas City Center for Ink & Paper Arts, to letterpress these cards. Earlier this year, The History Channel came to the studio and interviewed Calvert for a show they are doing on vintage letterpress equipment. The show is scheduled to air in January 2012.
Good to know.
Du Bois, Pennsylvania
More or less
'67 Volvo 144
“We are type designers, punch cutters, wood cutters, type founders, compositors, printers, and bookbinders from conviction and with passion. Not because we are insufficiently talented for other, higher things, but because to us the highest things stand in the closest kinship to our own crafts.” ~Rudolf Koch
Who makes you laugh out loud?
Stephen Colbert, political satirist