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Venice artist

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Venetian Printing Presses: The Modern Tintoretto

Venice Views, Print  ©  Sarah Pierroz, 2014. 

After the invention of Guttenberg's moveable-type printing presses, the art of printing exploded in the Venetian lagoon. By the end of the 15th century, there were over 200 busy printing houses in the city. In these vibrant hives, writers, composers, translators, editors and master printers collaborated to pen, proof and edit their works. They also experimented with layouts and fonts, as Aldo Manuzio, who cleverly created the italics font in order to squeeze in as much information as possible on his pages fit for a smaller hand-held paperback design. The Venetian State was also heavily involved in this thriving industry, and was it known to lay down harsh penalties for poor ink and paper quality.

In the quiet area of Cannaregio in Venice, I happened to walk into a real gem of a studio called La Bottega del Tintoretto. This lab, which is located next to the house of Tintoretto, was opened in 1986 and it holds presses and equipment recovered from historical Venetian presses. Venice was once the mega-printing capital of the world, and this studio collective seeks to preserve and share its extensive tradition. Here, one can study classical techniques in engraving, wood-cutting, and lithography. I have had the absolute pleasure of working in this creative oasis for some of my own projects, as well as bringing groups of my art students here for workshops. Just walking into this space and its stacks of acquired books and prints and hanging notes, it is more than evident that one has set foot in a truly inspirational and creative place. 

interested in visiting? A link to the studio's web-site can be found here: BOTTEGA DEL TINTORETTO

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Art Inspiration: Nelson Kishi (Illustrator)

I stumbled upon the shop of Nelson Kishi when I was wandering around the Cannaregio area of Venice a few years ago. Not far from the Ghetto Nuovo Campo, Kishi's shop called "Codex Venezia" is a tucked-away shop that exemplifies the dormant artistic spirit pulsing in the city. Kishi was born in Brazil, where he trained as an architect. He is now teaching at the International School of Graphic Design in Venice and his charming shop features his drawings and prints which show wildly innovative perspectives of the city. Kishi's urban landscapes utilize wide-angled, bird-eye views of canals and campos, which seem to transport the viewer into a new vantage point within the modern-day Venice. Kishi also prints limited edition books, which feature many of his sketches of Venetian architecture and faces which he encounters in nearby neighbourhoods. Codex is a wonderful shop to drop-in on, and Kishi is always open to share his most recent works and sage advice. 

In the process of writing "A Sketch of Venetian History", Kishi offered me a key tidbit early on; He advised me to get off the computer, to print off copies of my book so that I could see the physicality of how my images and text related to one another. At the time, I didn't realize how much of a difference a layout can look on the computer screen compared to print. A second key piece of advice her offered later on in the process, when I was setting the layout and cover, was to keep the overall design simple, to use clean fonts and allow the drawings themselves to make the scene. It can be all too tempting, especially for us rookies, to feel that we need to add in lots of distractions to draw attention to our drawings, but if the drawings are really the focus, then one should be so bold as to let them stand on their own. Grazie mille Kishi!

A link to his web-site can be found here: CODEX

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