When was the first time you picked up a calligraphy pen?
I think it was in 1998. But it took me about 6 months to try. I didn’t think it was something for me. I didn’t know any technique and I had little information about it. In 1999, I started trying in a more patient way, trying to understand how it worked etc. Little by little, I understood and took a chance on some copies. But everything was very difficult.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (letters or otherwise)?
Look at the light! (The Counter form) Think of internal proportions as shapes rather than external shapes…
From dear Peter Fraterdeus.
Why do you letter? What makes you come back every day?
The challenge is beautiful. It looks like it smiles at me. There is always room for improvement, but the process of improvement, which is practice, is delicious.
What is your dream project?
Hard this one. There are many. 😊 But in terms of calligraphy, I believe the idea of setting up a space dedicated to teaching and learning collectively. It’s not quite a project yet, as I still don’t have a clear idea of how it would work, but in my perception it would be something like a big studio where people gather to produce and share. I’d rather see it more like a pub or an inn than a school itself.
Murals by Cláudio Gil
What research do you do when you learn or start something new? that is, a new style or new design.
My searches usually start by looking around, trying to find interesting elements to connect the alphabet.
But the instruments are always at hand and I think they greatly influence our decisions during drawing.
From the perspective of design, what we do is connected to some context, a need, a demand. But when I’m developing or simply practicing calligraphy, I believe I can mix the rigor of the technique with a kind of flexibility that gives me a feeling of singular freedom.
In both situations, there is always a learning experience with the research of materials such as paper, canvas, paint, brushes, pens and other drawing tools.
Relating physical and chromatic aspects of different materials is a task that enriches my understanding of composition, as the way the idea is transcribed on the surface gains nuances that you can only get with research, with time.
Name 3 artists who don’t use lyrics and who inspire you.
Candido Portinari (painter), Francisco Brennand (painter, sculptor…) Thiago Soares (dancer).
Too bad there are only three. But these three are sensational.
What do you want to say with your work?
In summary, I believe it is to say that it is possible. Always possible.
Lettering explorations by Cláudio Gil
Why do you teach? What is your ethos/teaching style?
I love teaching. I think it is due to living with brothers who taught each other every day. But I love sharing and learning.
I think education would be my ethos. It’s like an umbrella that houses skills such as design, teaching and learning, calligraphy, painting, among others. Result of a multiplicity of searches, of study. It’s a little difficult for me to define in terms of technique or style, I see myself as an artist, a draftsman, a painter. I study calligraphy to improve the technique with which I like to paint or draw. Using calligraphy as a guiding thread for my artistic expressions, my poetic reason…
What’s your favorite pastime when you’re not in the studio?
Walk and swim. Drawing also, always carrying a notebook😊
What works have you done besides being an artist?
I am a design professor at an educational institution in Rio de Janeiro, ESPM-Rio. Among the subjects I teach are typography and type design. And I also have a small studio where I teach and develop design projects.
How did being self-taught help you to carve out a niche in the world of letters?
I believe this fact made me more confident and attentive, as I always had to start from scratch and made me make a lot of mistakes, but at the same time I had a lot of fun, laughing at my frustrated attempts, but understanding the importance of discipline in our improvement. But I think it mainly made me see the importance of learning from each other, from more experienced people, from other teachers, from colleagues and a lot from students. Empathy is important to grow in my opinion. I’ve always found it very interesting to know and learn about other possibilities for thinking about and carrying out work, understanding that the differences are what enrich art and my evolution within it. I really think it gave me peace of mind to always start again when I consider it necessary, because I believe that we do not evolve when we are only in our comfort zone.
More work by Cláudio Gil
When you write in Portuguese vs. English, is there any difference in how you think?
Yes, it always changes a little bit. Working in the language in which one thinks about always brings us cultural references that are very close, what is vernacular, the local imagination. And I understand that this helps when you want to transcribe an idea through a graphic composition. But it is challenging to investigate the nuances and minutiae inherent in other languages and it is always enriching to face the challenges posed by linguistic and cultural differences.