Motivated By His Grandmother’s History: Andrea Arcangeli

1. Your name and title/business name? City, Country location?

My name is Andrea Arcangeli and I’m a freelance calligrapher living and working in Rome, Italy, where I was born in ’92.


2. What’s your educational​ and professional​ background, i.e., college, professional school, high school, apprenticeship, etc.?

I followed a tortuous educational path, frequenting a Liceo Scientifico (an italian high school focusing on mathematics), then attending three years of Graphic Design and actually specializing in Fine Arts. I always loved drawing and expressing myself graphically, so at 14 I started doing graffiti, expressing myself through letters, in an attitude that [has] lots in common with the calligraphic act of writing . Passed the adolescence, I was told by my grandma that she used to teach Calligraphy and Technical education in the 50s, and so I became interested in the [practice] and started with an old manual, some rusty nibs and her [advice]. Later I started following courses with international calligraphers, moving myself all over my country, studying and practicing calligraphy a lot also on my own, specializing mainly in pointed pen styles.


​3. Preferred tool(s) and medium?

During the years I [fell] madly in love with the metallic nib. I collected lots of vintage nibs boxes and use mainly them, both for broad and pointed pen formal styles, but I also experienced making letters with quills and calamus, folded, ruling pens, brushes, fountain pens and everything that [is] dipped in ink could leave a trace on paper. I use irongall or chinese ink stick for definitive “pen and ink on paper” works; for general works ( i.e. larger pieces with brushes, coloured pieces for further digital reproduction [etc.]) I mainly use gouache as I can dilute them for any use; and for practicing/reproduction work I use fountain pen ink or simple walnut ink. Here in Italy we have lots of varieties of good watercolor/traditional printing papers, and the finest ones from Fabriano, so I mainly use them for definitive works, while I use Rhodia for everyday practice.


4. Where or how do you “recharge your creative battery,” i.e., books, blogs, music, art, exercise, meditation, prayer, hobbies, interests, etc.?

I like to read, and as an hobby, I turn my own wooden penholders at the lathe.


5. Tell us something about you that might surprise or delight us.

I remember with joy a body painting project for a live dance performance. I was called to do cursive with a pointed brush over the skin of three very good looking ballerinas. Couldn’t focus on letters at all, I mispelled lots of words and my hands were very shaky!