5 September 08
Miss Your Forms From the Trace of Fairyism
This was a sign seen at the Beijing Airport, according to Steven Skaggs, who has a piece in the latest edition of Letter Arts Review. (The sign presumably was a little more clear in Chinese.) Although it’s hard to tell exactly what it means to Chinese travellers returning to the big city, for Skaggs, it’s a call to reject the superficial and pretty in Western calligraphy. The exuberant happy colors. The flourishes and hands that bear no relation to the content. The effete. Trite sentiment. Calligraphy as commodity.
Having been following the sudden intensification of the political landscape in the US, I can’t say I’m finding this call to darkness all that unappealing. I am moved by powerful art, which calligraphy can be, when it’s not concerning itself with writing out Desiderata or “I am not there, I do not sleep.” I wish I had the time and the skill to devote myself to a massive piece that would somehow make some kind of difference in this campaign. Because, no offense to 8-year-old girls, fairyism isn’t going to cut it. This needs to be more of the kind of thing I spend my time doing… I was pleased to see Skaggs including, in his searing call to authenticity, a request that people write their own stuff, not just quote the now hackneyed voices of others.