Annie Cicale headshot

Annie Cicale

When was the first time you picked up a calligraphy pen?

High school art class. No instruction. Just ‘play.’

What is the best advice you ever received (lettering or otherwise)?

Don’t just practice. Make things. Make more than one.

Why do you letter? What keeps you coming back every day?

I love the relationships among words and images. Letters mean something in themselves, and the shapes of letters influence the meaning, or we wouldn’t be doing this.

What is your dream project?

My MFA, my book The Art & Craft of Hand Lettering were early dream projects, and a new book I’m in the beginnings of is another big dream, yeas in the conception. Also, anything that involves collaboration.

What research do you do when learning or starting something new? i.e. a new style or new project.

Whatever needs to be done. Looking and reading.

Name 3 non-lettering artists who inspire you.

Only three? René Magritte, Chuck Close, Walter Hook (my first amazing painting teacher. Also told me how the broad edged pen could work).

What do you aim to say with your work?

Please: look, read, look again, think. Come back, look again.

Why do you teach? What is your teaching ethos/style?

To share what I know. To show, to say, to inspire, I hope.

What is your favorite pastime when not in your studio?

Physical stuff, like hiking, swimming, skiing. Also reading.

What jobs have you done besides being an artist?

Waitress, baker, chemical engineer, elementary school art teacher, skiing and swimming teacher.

How does your experience as a chemical engineer affect your work today?

It helps me research materials, and has given me methods for experimenting with many variables, such as pigments, papers and tools.

You have spent much of your life living in, or near, mountains. Does that inform your work in any way?

Definitely. My middle name (maiden) is Berg, which means mountain. (My initials are ABC.) When we moved here, I looked for a place to live that had a view of these wonderful mountains. It has made me very aware of the landscape, though somehow I never became a landscape painter. But I love words by writers such as John Muir and Ivan Doig.