Ep280: Reclaiming Your Peace Through Letters Imbued with the Beauty of Life with Calligrapher Paul Antonio
July 12, 2021
The hustle and bustle of everyday life can lead us to take many things for granted. But by simply finding the connection between writing and life, professional artist and calligrapher, Paul Antonio had found a beauteous view of the world.
Raised in Trinidad, Paul found a love for nature and the abundance of life around him. The bond he made with the natural wonder of his surroundings—and his curiosity—Paul found himself walking a swervey path into the realm of Calligraphy.
“I could hear the music in the writing,” he says, “I knew that there was rhythm there, I just didn’t know how to connect it to the writing.”
Paul left for London, England in 1998 and went on to study Letterform History at the Department of Typography and Graphic Communication, University of Reading (1998). After being awarded one of the ten Art & Crafts Scholarships from The Commonwealth Foundation, he went to Reigate School of Art and Design to study Calligraphy, Gilding and Heraldic Painting specialising in Historical Materials and Techniques. He got the only Distinction in his year (2000).
Having always been interested in the history and the development of writing as a whole, Paul went on to study Arabic Calligraphy, English Palaeography and Archaeological Illustration at Birkbeck University (2001).
This fondness for writing pushed him to pursue arts. During the days of his apprenticeship, he learned how letters were imbued with the very beauty of life which he so desperately admired and has since been drawn towards calligraphy and Heraldic arts.
In 2003 Paul went to Egypt as the Assistant Archaeological Illustrator for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, to copy hieroglyphs. This role assisted him in illustrating some of the hieroglyph collections at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London. It also allowed him to run a year-long course on ‘An Egyptian Writing System’ for Birkbeck University and some intermittent courses for undergraduates at UCL, the British Museum and the general public.
“I knew that I was not here to do the writing, I was only here as an instrument. I was here for the writing to happen through me.”
Paul stresses that like any artist, or writer, the art of Calligraphy also requires emotion. He says that as he writes his pieces, he leaves himself open to his emotions and true to his inner feelings. Though there is a level of focus that must be kept to ensure a steady hand, Paul encourages one to also be free when writing.
“The writing is more than just pretty shapes on a page. This isn’t about you, giving yourself permission to be at peace. This is about you reclaiming the peace that is already yours.”
After a 2 year collaboration with the reputable paper brand Rhodia, Paul’s Social Media label PAScribe released the PAScribe Rhodia pads. Three pads on white paper with his unique grid, and black and grey paper with very fine lines to help calligraphers practise with light or metallic ink on dark, in the hopes of getting people to correspond more with each other.
Even now as Paul pursues other crafts such as heraldry, meditation, and teaching, he still hasn’t lost the dedication and love that he has for calligraphy, passing on his passion to his students and living by the principles he has learned through his years of practising arts.