Category Archives: Arts

Mastering Calligraphy: From Buenos Aires to New York

In seeking the perfect for Ceci’s birthday I wandered the bookstores & art stores of Manhattan. On a gray Saturday afternoon last month I sought out Rizzoli Bookstore for its reputation of specializing in illustrated books. Rizzoli is a very special bookstore located in a fashionable townhouse around the corner from Central Park. Heading up the lovely wooden staircase I found the graphic design books near the front window of the upper floor (pictured below).


I ended up buying two books: a practical book and an inspirational book. The first was the just published Mastering Calligraphy: The Complete Guide to Hand Lettering. I was afraid that the book might be too basic for Ceci, who is already quite experienced and studying with a calligraphy teacher in Buenos Aires. However, Ceci tells me that the book is quite good. Despite the rather dull book cover, the page layouts of the interior are very well conceived and the content ranges from beginning to advanced.

The most exciting part of the Mastering Calligraphy book (and I didn’t even realize this until after I purchased it) is that it features work from our friend Yanina Arabena, a Buenos Aires-based calligrapher who is making quite a positive reputation for herself with her distinct lovely style of hand lettering. Yani’s lettering is featured on the back cover of Mastering Calligraphy as well as on one of the first interior pages. Always a thrill to unexpectedly open a book and find references to someone you know. Congrats Yani!

The other book I got for Ceci was an elaborately designed book by Marian Bantjes titled I Wonder, which is truly a gorgeous book.

Sounds of tango in the air

Sitting at my desk today I’ve been hearing the voices of tango singers floating up towards my 7th floor balcony. With hundreds of other apartments visible from my window I assumed a neighbor had taken on a new obsession & had started a practice of playing the stereo extremely loud. Eventually a slight tone made me realize that this was no recording but live music. How I’ve not kept up with the happenings around town. The annual tango festival is taking place. A quick visit to the city’s website revealed that the focus of today’s events are at the amphitheater in Parque Centenario. The entrance to the theater is a direct line of sight from my balcony. If I didn’t have some very pressing matters at work then I would hop over to the festival. Meanwhile, I’m listening to music from afar. It’s quite enjoyable to have the sounds of live tango drifting into your Buenos Aires apartment.

Literature, traveling, & the artwork of Kenneth Draper & Jean Macalpine

Casual conversations often lead to unexpected discoveries. The other day I walked over to Palermo to have coffee with Peter Robertson and talk about future plans for The International Literary Quarterly (interlitq). We had just finished releasing issue 7. Even though Peter and I both live in Buenos Aires, we edit and prepare each issue virtually via e-mail and transferring files around the net. So getting together to talk in person is a rare treat.

Among the news Peter had for me was that Alain de Botton was joining the board of consulting editors for interlitq. And since this is more or less a travel blog, I must mention that Alain de Botton’s excellent book The Art of Travel should be read by all travelers.

Artists on Menorca

Speaking of traveling, Peter told me about a recent trip to the island of Menorca. When I lived in Miami Beach, I had a roommate from Menorca. (A shout out to Carmen wherever she may be today.) Anyway, Peter was on Menorca to to meet Kenneth Draper & Jean Macalpine, who will be guest artists for upcoming issues of interlitq. I had to admit that I wasn’t familiar with their artwork but after viewing the websites of Kenneth Draper and Jean Macalpine I’m delighted to become acquainted with this “new” discovery.

Draper’s work is a wonderfully colorful collection of mixed media art and Macalpine creates fantastic hand toned photographs. You have to visit their websites: Kenneth Draper and Jean Macalpine.

Peter sent along this photo of him with Draper in Menorca.

Kenneth Draper & Peter Robertson in Menorca

Draper is a very recognized artist. He is a Royal Academician, which is something quite important and evidently Brits know what the letters RA signify after a person’s name, but most of us Americans are clueless about those initials. RA signifies that one is a member of the Royal Academy of Arts, and Ken Draper has his own page on the Royal Academy site.

While Draper & Macalpine have exhibited in London, they regularly sell their work to international private clients, and are now keen to give exhibitions on the Iberian peninsula and thereby, through their art, transmit the unique and ravishing beauty of Menorca to those living on the Spanish mainland.

Keep your eyes on the interlitq blog for announcements about the upcoming issues of interlitq featuring the artwork of Kenneth Draper & Jean Macalpine.

Now, Ceci & I just need to figure out how to work out a visit to Menorca into our travel plans.