When was the first time you picked up a calligraphy pen?
In January 2000 at our local community calligraphy class. Back to my childhood, I picked a calligraphy brush at age 4 in Japan.
What is the best advice you ever received (lettering or otherwise)?
One of my calligraphy friends said “Yukimi, it seems good that you stick to calligraphic textures for your entire calligraphy journey” since she knew I loved textures. Whenever I get lost, I recite her words.
“Live honestly” from my father has always been in my body, and “follow your own path” by Ann Heckle has also been in my mind.
Why do you letter? What keeps you coming back every day?
Because I love letters, especially Roman alphabet. Letters have deep history and they have been together with all human existence. I never get tired of studying letters.
What is your dream project?
Environmental projects that support our communities and the Earth with words and thoughts with calligraphic arts.
Yukimi Annand’s dream project illustrations
What research do you do when learning or starting something new? i.e. a new style or new project.
I don’t have a specific process to research for my experimental projects. Something new comes from experimenting, and the experiments bring something new. I read books, research the topics and techniques online, collecting images I love or taking classes to find more possibilities. I do keep notes and sketches that come to mind in my sketchbooks. I often go back to them and I research the idea more in depth when it is necessary. I also research the meaning of the text I chose with depth.
For studying letterforms, I research the historical background of the form. I collect as many as samples in books and online and analyze them and imitate some. Then write/draw the form with my hand and find the best way for me to write the form.
Name 3 non-lettering artists who inspire you.
Mark Tobey, Paul Klee and Conrad Marca-Relli
What do you aim to say with your work?
Both writing legible calligraphy pieces and making non-legible experimental calligraphic pieces, my aim is to express my feeling, and communicate to audiences. I pay detailed attention to create good quality legible calligraphy pieces. And I aim to enjoy the process of my experimental works and to keep continuing.
Why do you teach? What is your teaching ethos/style?
My style is sharing rather than teaching. I share ideas to students and instruct the classes/workshops to inspire each other. I have been growing by teaching and I have a big appreciation for anybody who worked (have been working) with me.
Since I am a person who needs to work step by step and who loves systems for learning, I have been making my instruction clear to myself to teach with step-by-step exercises. I welcome explorations by experimental artists and also I give friendly instructions to students who wish to get out of their comfort zone.
What is your favorite pastime when not in your studio?
Gardening, walking and cooking.
How do you think your years working as a graphic designer in Tokyo have affected the art you make today?
I learned conceptual steps to create, the importance of simplicity, and responsibility to present good quality products to make the world beautiful. I also learned that our creating products are tools of visual communication. All these points are affecting my work today.
How do you bring the textures of nature into your work?
Nature forms have everything I would like to explore. When I find a natural texture that inspires me, I analyze and imitate the texture to find characteristic lines and shapes.Then I develop letterforms with those lines and shapes. I write a text that corresponds to the image with those developed letters to make textures. I basically work with black and white first, then add colors and play with value and tones. The developed textures can be an art itself, can be backgrounds or materials of collage. The works can be a three-dimensional installation and I see more and more possibilities to bring the textures of nature into my work!
Yukimi Annand bringing natural textures into her work