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 Josh Yelle (AKA Pencilmancer).
Josh Yelle (Pencilmancer)
Josh is an incredible, not to mention multi-disciplined, fine artist from the Providence, RI (USA). I don’t quite recall how I stumbled across his work, but I was absolutely enamored by his dark creations. Between illustration, sculpture, and calligraphy, Josh produces some otherworldly art.
I’ve never seen anything like it!
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me! I’ve been following you on IG for a while now and your work is looking incredible. Would you mind telling us about your creative background and how you got into calligraphy? (Have you studied lettering/calligraphy formally?)
Thanks for having me, Jake! and thank you! I love seeing your stuff pop up in my feed as well.
I’ve been drawing since I was a little kid and just never stopped. My mother was extremely talented as well, so I inherited it from her. I’ve actually always had horrific penmanship, up until 2-3 years ago I picked up calligraphy after watching my friend’s feed, doing some amazing alphabets. “Damn… I want to do that” and just ordered some pens off Amazon that day. Been practicing ever since.
Calligraphy is obviously not your only artistic skill. You’ve also done some incredible illustration (and even sculpture work). Would you mind speaking to what drives you to create in these regards?
I’m definitely an illustrator first, and love drawing creepy sci-fi entities and landscapes for band art commissions and logos, etc. I try to just pick up whatever I can and see what comes naturally from it. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s bad…
I haven’t spent a ton of time in Providence, RI, but I understand there’s a pretty decent art scene. Is that accurate? Are you surrounded by any other artists that you draw inspiration from?
Absolutely! Big art scene here, and it seems like over the years more and more pop-up art shows have been… errr… popping up. There are plenty of artists to draw influence from all over Providence — everyone is creating in such drastically different mediums, fields, and styles. Same with music. There’s no shortage of experimental music in Providence!
You’ve done some awesome commission work. I love the DNR design you posted recently. What would you say is your favorite project that you’ve done?
Thanks! That one definitely comes to mind, and some other recent ones for bands Sire, Skincage, Worms in Women and Cattle album releases on Annihilvs Power Electronics this year. Been doing lots of logo and calligraphy work for both Cadabra Records, Lovecraft Arts & Science Council and The HP Lovecraft Historical Society lately too!
If you had to spend the rest of your life on a remote island with one record and one artistic medium — what would it be?
JUST ONE ALBUM!? Impossible.. I believe that if I was stuck on an island for decades and only had one album, that album would eventually become noise to me, or even deteriorate into a measurement of time! “When did I eat that monkey? I believe that was 1000 Black Sabbath – Vol 4’s ago… I remember it like it was just 1 Black Sabbath – Vol 4 ago… sigh”.
Can I bring a waterproof 160gig iPod classic with solar panel? That’s feasible.. right? Also, being stuck on an island, I’d probably be restricted to just using charcoal as a medium because I can make it myself. Which is fine with me because I love powder-based mediums (graphite, charcoal, chalk etc).
Do you have any big aspirations you’re working towards with your artwork? And if so, do you mind sharing?
Everything has been snowballing nicely for a while now as far as clientele and overcoming personal plateaus. As long as that keeps going, I’ll be happy.
What can the world expect from you in the next year/couple years?
I’m looking to get into more silicone mold making and 3D printing this year, and hopefully back into a tattoo parlor sooner than later.
If you had to give one piece of advice to an aspiring artist, what would it be?
Start. and then don’t stop. It sounds simple, but that’s what it really boils down to. Find yourself some occasions, and then rise to them.