EVERYTHING IS A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION AND EVERYTHING CONVERGES IN HIS ARTISTIC AND MANUFACTURING PRODUCTION.
A NEW LIFE TO LETTERS WITH A CONTEMPORARY LOOK AT A SOLIDLY ANCIENT TRADITION
CAN YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOU, YOUR WORK AREA AND YOUR INTERESTS?
Hi, I am a visual designer born in a small town in Brianza and recently I have come back to Milan.
I graduated about ten years ago and I started my career as a graphic designer working first for newspapers and then I collaborated with several graphic studios. Through my experience in newspapers and my lifelong passion for graffiti and music posters (from rock, to psychedelic rock and experimental electronic), I was able to get closer and closer to the fascinating world of Lettering, which has become an important part of my work for many years now.
In 2010 I founded with two friends the graphic design studio “&type", born with the aim of preserving the typographic styles and ancient manufacturing techniques in the modern and digital era.
Using traditional techniques we design, print and produce Custom Lettering, paying close attention to detail, with the possibility of being digitized and used for works related to new media.
DO YOU HAVE ANY INSPIRATIONAL PERSONALITIES? AND TO WHAT OR WHO IS YOUR ARTISTIC GROWTH CREDITED?
As for artistic growth, I would say that for the most part it can be credited to those I have at my side, friends and colleagues with whom I have the opportunity to collaborate, discuss and exchange ideas.
I like people with different opinions, I think there is a completion in the mutual exchange of ideas.
Another important aspect I think is due to research and constant observation, traveling and moving helps the assimilation of new concepts which are useful to the creative process.
Sources of inspiration in addition to graffiti and posters, are old books, the art of calligraphy and the world of comics.
A double-edged sword, however, is the internet as well as social media.
With Instagram, behance and dribble we have access to a multitude of inspirational sources, but with the risk of getting lost in the labyrinth of these apps with the result of a creative block.
DOES YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS START MANUALLY WITH SKETCHES ON PAPER OR DO YOU GO STRAIGHT TO DIGITAL?
For the realization of an idea, I usually start with analogue devices. I try to find tools that can give the project a particular materic style. The transposition to digital comes in a second stage.
Another important part of the process is the practical one, which allows us to observe and think about the distinctive sign that defines the style of the project.
HOW DOES THE WORK OF LETTERING FIT INTO THE CURRENT DIGITAL AREA? WHAT ARE ITS APPLICATIONS? AND HOW CAN WE FIND A PLACE IN THIS VAST DIGITAL WORD?
The art of Lettering has seen several years ago a very significant growth in visual art, it finds its applications in different fields, from the world that governs information, to book covers passing through galleries and becoming a work of art.
This growing attention to typography has given way to the creation of new forms through a careful look at the new forms of digital design.
There is an increasing attention to the use of dynamic lettering for example in film titling, or animated gifs and, why not, also in techniques productions related to the use of codes.
DO YOU THINK THIS PANDEMIC HAS WEAKENED THE CREATIVE IMPULSE?
Certainly, the pandemic has limited those creative processes that come from observing the spaces around us, because we could only use the web.
However, it may have been an important period for training and practice.
WHAT DOES YOU GET FROM A LIVE PERFORMANCE AS A GRAFFITIST COMPARED TO WORKING ON THE COMPUTER OR IN A STUDIO?
Several years ago, I used to do live performances related to printwork and typography workshops in collaboration with the graphic design studio &type, rather than painting on walls for commissioned works.
All this implied a relationship with the public more or less interested in the subject.
The great thing that I miss is the relationship with the body and the movement that it assumes in space. For example, during printwork workshops, the interaction with people was very important, while with graffiti it was more a situation of movement and muscles that interacted with the adrenaline that was created in the feeling of being observed, pushing you not to miss a single line of the drawing.
HOW MUCH OF YOUR MEMORIES AND PERSONAL FEELINGS ARE THERE IN YOUR WORKS?
I really like to travel and be influenced and this changes the way I see things as much as the expression of my work.
A trip I made about twelve years ago between East Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe led me to interface with different worlds, with cultures and aesthetics very different from each other and from mine.
I was particularly struck by the use of shapes and colors, the communication, the way of dressing and the use of objects in everyday life.
All this has become an integral part of my work especially for the use of contrasting colors and for the attention to some forms that are still unusual for the Western world.
I often like to visit exhibitions, comic stores or vinyl stores in big cities and let myself be fascinated by the streets and how they are decorated. I also like to visit churches and temples. I often go to Berlin to visit my sister and friends and one thing I really appreciate about that city is the ability to dare, to get out of the comfort zone, something that I think is still missing in Milan.
ARE THERE PEOPLE YOU ARE INSPIRED BY THAT YOU CONSIDER AS MAIN REFERENCE?
I am not sure I can consider him a main reference but Eric Gill is certainly the person who has captured my attention and curiosity because of his vast production of creations ranging from engraving, printing, sculpture, illustration and typeface design, fantastic and innovative creations both for the era in which he lived (end of the 1800s, beginning of the 1900s) and for the modern times. Just think of the poster "keep calm and carry on" made at the beginning of World War 2 and still relevant today.
Most of all, I was fascinated by his rebellion against the rigid British morality of the early twentieth-century. He went against the tide, estranged himself from the process of industrialization to live in a commune on the English moors, rejecting commercial logic in order to be in contact with nature and develop craftsmanship as a form of art.
HAS THE CITY YOU LIVE IN, OR CHOSE TO LIVE IN, EVER BEEN A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION AND, IF SO, CAN IT STILL BE TODAY?
Moving from a small town to a big city is motivated by the fact that you can find many more stimuli and sources of inspiration just by attending exhibitions or theaters, going to bookstores or looking at graffiti around the city.
Milan is a city that should be discovered, that hides its treasures, such as small stores with a vintage taste with the craftsmen and the most modern creative realities, small, but that have at heart the experimentation of new styles and new artistic choices.
IS THERE A MESSAGE YOU WANT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR WORK OR IN YOUR GRAPHIC SIGN?
There isn't a specific message that I want to include in my works, I like the duality of reading the graphic letters that I create and the different meanings they take on.
On the one hand, the pure understanding of the message and on the other, the visual/aesthetic impact.
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Visit his website www.claudioberettadesign.com
Images provided by Claudio Beretta