In this launch of the Green as Sky blog I welcome you to all I find fascinating — and hope that you’ll find delight here too. I’m a seasoned artist, a geek, a lover of small evocative facts, the way animals move and how artists make what wasn’t there before.
This splendid d makes a great starting point for the blog. It’s by Ruslan Khasanov, a Russian artist whose creative process should make you grin. Particularly if you’re an artist.
He was painting letter forms, ink on wet paper, trying for a melting-away look. When he went to clean off his brush he painted an idle d in the sink and there it was: the beauty of a liquifying form. He was savvy enough to grab his camera and a surprising alphabet was born. We start with Khasanov’s d because I want this blog to celebrate the human impulse to create.
Think of it: you’re at the sink to wash a brush. And you make a playful gesture. Which is rooted in your curiosity about letters, wetness, ink. This is a perfect artistic moment — the hand tries something it wasn’t there to try. This is the creative spirit.
And Khasanov’s d gives us another equally important lesson in creativity. He knew what he saw when he saw it. He didn’t just see ink dispersing, he discovered beauty and value in it.
Lesson number three is that he was moved to act. Art in the brain (Aha, then nothing) isn’t art. You have to capture it. He might have reached for paper, tried to blot or make a print. Khasanov grabbed his camera. What you see above is an animated GIF, a compilation of numerous rapid camera shots. It’s a brilliant answer to, How do I capture my insight and make it art? Still photography and digital knowhow. We see how a real artist can make them potent — far more wild and affecting than straight video.
I keep trying to imagine how he drew letters with one hand and triggered bursts of unwobbly photos with the other. But of course he improvised. A practicing artist already has tools and knows how to get results with them. This isn’t part of the impulse to create — its a fruit. The confidence you earn, your bag of tricks, the means to act.
Ruslan Khasanov’s ephemeral letters are superb. Beautifully crafted, gorgeous and satisfying to watch as they lazily cycle. Typography is in something of a Renaissance as digital screens expand the possibilities. What once was a floridly embellished initial capital can now dance — or disappear.
I also love this d because it’s cryptic. It starts in your verbal brain: d. It transmutes into wordless shapes and flows away. Your nonverbal brain also gets to participate and be fed. I trust cryptic. Isn’t that what illuminated letters are about?
For the rest of Khasanov’s fleeting and mesmerizing alphabet see Liquid calligraphy at his website.
I want to express a heartfelt thanks to my generous and gloriously geek-brained friend Mike for creating the WordPress theme (or template) for this blog.