Luca Barcellona is a extremely talented graphic designer, calligrapher and typographic artist. In his work, the ancient art of language and writing coexist with the instruments of the digital era. His obsession with lettering has led to experiments with graffiti art, classic calligraphy, typography, and letterpress printing.
Luca Barcellona’s fascination with the art of letters began at an early age. He remembers being very young and playing a game with his mother in the car which involved recognizing and reading the shop signs. He later began to notice the typography used for the intros of cartoons, “and then there was the type on the packaging of supermarket candy and junk-food I was always trying to copy.”
As far as appearances go, it might seem like a minor discipline that most people ignore, but everyone benefits from it somehow or another. In a society founded on the image and on communication, letters are fundamental.
His first encounter with graffiti in the late 90s was a fundamental stepping stone for him, and soon after he would spend hours obsessing over the graphics on skateboards. At the time he didn’t think drawing letters could be a career but he felt compelled to create them because it was like a meditation for him. Now he has his own studio in Milan. He teaches calligraphy with the Associazione Calligrafica Italiana and runs calligraphy workshops in cities across Europe.
Here is some detail on one of the pieces from his TEN CLOUDS exhibition:
Barcellona always begins his work with a handwritten layout, “I write; I try different tools and different kinds of paper; I draw rough shapes of the letters in pencil.” In fact, he even makes some of his calligraphy pens by hand himself, though he also uses the computer to speed up the process of trying different colors and layouts. In a recent interview he said “for now, I’m trying to avoid using graphic tablets. I know that I would become terribly lazy with one of those things! I prefer to use paper and ink, to get my hands dirty, even if it might take more time.”
In 2003 he founded the Rebel Ink collective with Rae Martini and Marco Klefisch, which exhibits calligraphy, writing, and illustration. In 2010 he produced his own clothing brand called ‘Luca Barcellona Gold Series’. Recently he published his first monographic book, ‘Take Your Pleasure Seriously’. Lettering coincides with every field and Barcellona has worked with clothing graphics, logotypes, magazine illustrations, book and album covers, and publishing in general.
Among the brands who have commissioned Luca Barcellona’s lettering are Carhartt, Nike, Dolce&Gabbana, Sony BMG, Volvo and Universal. His work has been published in the American magazine ‘Letter Arts Review’, ‘Calligraphy and Graphic Design’ by Marco Campedelli, and the books ‘Playful Type 2’, ‘Los Logos 5’ and ‘Arabesque 2’, published by Gestalten. His artwork has also been exhibited in Milan, Melbourne and Sidney.