Kaj Wyn Berry

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Kaj Wyn Berry – Artist Statement

What is calligraphy? A fancy way of writing? No. It’s The Dance of the Alphabet with a pen, a brush or a long stick on the beach. In many other countries–China, Japan, Arabia– it is the highest art, revered above all other.

Writing, if you think about it, is a magician’s tool–you squiggle down some marks that mean something to you expecting that someone, somewhere, can look at that pattern of shapes strung together and know what you were thinking or what you wanted to say. Could be a trade item sold, philosophy, or a poem. Every language develops its own alphabetical form that often reflects its architecture, as in Gothic script and buildings.

I am proficient in alphabets that date from the ninth century Irish Uncials through the changing years, to fifteenth century Italian Renaissance Italic.

As I calligraph, I hold the word’s meaning in my head. The written word, then, is the graphic form of its meaning. The word JOY will look much different than the word BREATHE, for instance. Calligraphy can transcend the alphabet and words, but still be the dance of the brush in color and movement on paper or canvas.

In my experience, calligraphy has many other dimensions. First of all, it is a concentrated meditation. If you get distracted, you spell a word wrong or leave it out altogether. To calligraph, one must coordinate the golden triangle of Heart, (emotion, passion, spirit), Head (meaning, understanding and memory) and Hand (the rhythms and form of the tactile writing). All of which imprints a person as they calligraph. After all these years of writing golden words, sayings, and poems, I have a brain emblazoned with quotes and poetry. When I am at “sixes and sevens”, or worried by the world’s disharmony, I go to my studio,