Welcome to another artist spotlight! In an effort to shine more light on some of the talented calligraphy artists out there, I’ve been reaching out to inspiring artists I look up to and asking if they’d be willing to answer some interview questions. Today, I would like to introduce you to the talented Anatolios Spyrlidis AKA Royal Venom.
Anatolios (also known by his handle, Royal Venom) is an experienced artist and designer residing in Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean sea between Turkey and Egypt. I became connected with Anatolio over the past year through Instagram and have been inspired by his work ever since.
Anatolios’ diverse creative background lends greatly to his current artistic endeavors. His blackletter work pushes the boundaries of modern calligraphy and it was this work that initially caught my eye.
Thank you for taking the time to chat, Anatolios! I’m a huge fan of your work. Would you mind speaking about your background and how you got into lettering and typography?
Actually, I’ve been involved in this sphere for more than 15 years — it all had started with my graffiti obsession — and at that time in Cyprus there were few people who were aware of graffiti styles, rules, etc…. So, we did everything from the scratch, creating our own unique representation this way. I always was and still am in the search of new approaches and new types of expression. For the last year, I have specifically focused on typography and lettering, not only in the art format but, moreover in integration of this artistic form into branding and business.
This is a very deep question, which gives a broad space for discussion – in a few words, I’m doing it either for pleasure or for my current job challenges.
Have you studied lettering/calligraphy formally?
Studying in the university gave me the basic knowledge about history of the arts, graphic design, and advertising. I believe, that formal studying is, for sure, useful. But you need to have the passion for making something really special.
Looks like you’re also an art director/designer?
I’m lucky to work in the sphere where I can practically apply my talent and knowledge. I’m running several freelance projects at this time, so we’ll see how they go. For more than three years, I’ve the art director of one of the leading Cyprus lifestyle magazines. It helps me to observe current trends and to stay in good artistic shape.
What is the lettering scene like in Purley, Greater London? Are you surrounded by other creatives?
Well at the time when I was living in London I can definitely highlight the mega inspiration literally everywhere, but now I live in Cyprus in small city Paphos, which happened to be a European Capital of Culture 2017 and it obviously attracts many artists from around Europe and the world.
I love seeing a curated feed of work. Your blackletter script is beautiful. What made you decide to focus on that?
I’m a fan of pure colours, let’s say even colour minimalism in certain cases, I’m convinced it gives more power to an image. The viewer is not distracted by various extra aspects and clearly receives the message.
Your signature style of letterforms is very unique. How would you say your style has evolved since you first started and what inspires you to keep moving forward?
Thank you so much for your appreciation! I’m constantly in the process of finding new styles, experimenting with materials, brushes, etc. The key is my attitude – to be better than before, to develop my skills, to think and create out of the box… Inspiration can come from anywhere and anytime, you have to be ready!
What would you say is your favourite project that you’ve done?
I do each project with same passion and I do not accept a project that I am not feeling like doing, so there is no favourite. One thing I can say is I give 100% each time.
If you were trapped on an island with one writing tool/utensil, what would it be and why?
It would be a stick, there is sand on the every island and a stick doesn’t need ink… a lifetime of calligraphy is guaranteed.
Do you have any big aspirations you’re working towards with your artwork? And if so, do you mind sharing?
Yes, it’s my book “Kalligraphia” book. “Kalligraphia” is about the artist and their work, bringing together various works, core thoughts and expressions. It features talent and makes an attempt into how and why the artist feels like, what would have they thought while each stroke went across the canvass and much more than that. It dives into how simple it might be to appreciate beauty, but how difficult it is to skin through deeper and try and understand why it is so. With each section devoted to a summary on the art work featured along with a detailed synopsis into who created it and what them do so I dig into each section across the globe to bring together talented and celebrated works by artists who are might just be overlooked by the fine eye.
What can the world expect from Royal Venom in the next year?
If you had to give one piece of advice to an aspiring lettering artist, what would it be?
My advice is rather obvious – never afraid of trying to go beyond – the most interesting things are there.