Rooted in Tradition: Samuel Frey

1.  What’s your name and title/business name?  Where are you located, city,  state, country location?

My name is Samuel Frey and I’m based in a small town in Switzerland. I run my own studio and also teach weekly classes in lettering and calligraphy at the Basel School of Design.

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

I went to art school first in Lucerne (CH) and then in Rotterdam (NL) where I graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication. After a few years of working as a graphic designer I decided to learn more about calligraphy and lettering. So I started to sign up for all classes I could find. Among others I attended a blackletter workshop with Julian Waters in Offenbach (DE) and a signpainting workshop with Mike Meyer in Zurich. But most importantly I studied calligraphy and type design with Kate Wolff at the Basel School of Design over a period of two years twice a week which was an amazing experience. And I continue to learn and practice every day.

3. Preferred tool(s) and medium?

I love to work by hand with actual materials, tools, grounds, inks and paints, at least as a starting point. I also enjoy drawing final work in paths (vectors), as it requires different attention to detail and [raises] interesting questions about form-related translation.

I work a lot with layout paper (50gsm) because its translucent surface makes it easy for tracing or using guidelines. I especially like the broad brush for its agility, and broad acrylic markers for larger work.

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

Breaks, meditation, reading, walks, nature.

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

I have well over 100 books about lettering and calligraphy, old and new, many of them still unread, yet a source of inspiration nevertheless.

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