Welcome to another artist spotlight! I hope you’ve been enjoying these as much as I have. It has been fascinating to meet and speak with artists from all over the globe about something similar we all have in common. Gaining new perspective and hearing stories about other calligraphy artists has been incredibly eye opening. Today I would like to introduce you to Fauz Ahmad.
Fauz Ahmad (@the_inkpot_files)
Fauz is a seasoned calligraphy artist who grew up in Islamabad, Pakistan. However, he now resides in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
As you’ll see from his work, his calligraphy is incredibly unique. His signature letterforms blend together eastern and western influence in incredible mix of Roman characters drawn from Arabic style strokes.
Fauz’s artistic qualities are prime examples of what every modern calligraphy artist should strive for. Uniqueness, experimentation, and visual elegance.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me! I’ve really enjoyed seeing your work on Instagram evolve these past couple of months. Would you mind speaking about your background and how you got into calligraphy?
I have been into painting and drawing since I was a child and got into the graffiti culture and spent 4 years writing graffiti. I started taking interest in calligraphy when I began practicing a lot of handstyles and graffiti tags. in early 2016, I went to my country for a visit and was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to meet a famous Arabic calligraphy artist. After going through my work in detail, he was generous enough to help me learn the bare basics of Arabic calligraphy. I practiced Arabic calligraphy for about a month or so before I shifted to English calligraphy. One reason for this was my inability to understand and write the Arabic language well. I began working on the basic styles of English calligraphy such as the uncials, foundational, and the gothic blackletter.
Have you studied calligraphy formally? Do you do lettering/calligraphy full time?
Unfortunately, I haven’t got the chance, yet, to study calligraphy formally. I am not a full time calligraphy artist. It’s just something I really love to do and hope to make a living off of it.
Where did you grow up, where are you located, and What is the arts/calligraphy scene like there? Are you able to work with or draw inspiration from other local creatives?
Living in Saudi Arabia, I haven’t been able to work with any artist yet as the art scene is not rich enough here. However, I would love to do a large scale project with a local artist.
I absolutely love your custom letterform work, it’s very impressive! You’re able to ride the thin line between abstracted and traditional letterforms while still maintaining readability. What inspired you to begin pursuing this style?
Since the start, I have loved the uncial calligraphy because of its generous curves. The main inspiration came from the uncial letters. I took a little bit from them and played around with them for some time until I created my custom letters which had a bit of a futuristic look and some resemblance to the old uncial letterforms. Since then, I have been refining them by adding or subtracting different kinds of strokes. I hope to continue to refine these letters as time goes by. They are all about the past, the future and the drive to create something closely related to myself.
What would you say is your favorite piece/project that you’ve done?
A few months ago, I got the opportunity to write names of 59 graduates as their farewell gift. It was a wonderful experience for me as it helped me to understand my letters much more clearly. I had the chance to experiment with countless combinations of letters and learned a lot throughout the project time-span. The greatest part, however, was the positive feedback I received from the graduates!
It’s obvious that you’re familiar with a very diverse set of tools. What are your favorites?
Indeed. I started off with a set of Sheaffer calligraphy fountain pens. However, after some time, I was curious about using a wider nib and the Pilot Parallel pens weren’t available in my city. I also didn’t have access to any online store which was pretty frustrating. This made me make my own pens. But, since I’ve gotten my hands on the Pilot Parallels, I have been able to practice efficiently and without getting frustrated. And that is why the Parallels are my favorites!
I’m a huge fan of your use of color. Any tips or techniques you’d be willing to share?
Oh! I’m glad to hear that. Well, I use color to make my letters more interesting by matching it with the vibe set by the word. The process is simple, dip the parallel pen into the gouache, wipe off the excess and you’re ready to put it to the paper! One thing I would like to mention here is that if you want to achieve a gradient in a short stroke, just dip the nib for a second, maybe even lesser, into your ink. However, if you want to get a good gradient in a longer stroke, then you’d have to keep the nib submerged into the ink/gouache for a longer period of time. This takes a bit of practice to get an idea of the time-amount of ink, in the nib, ratio.
What can the world expect from you in the next year/couple years?
I am looking forward to using my artwork as tee-shirt prints. So next year, you might see that!
If you had to give one piece of advice to an aspiring lettering artist, what would it be?
I think the most important thing would be to not try complex things. Just start simple. Get your basics down and build on them!
You can follow Fauz Ahmad online at @the_inkpot_files.