“So do you see yourself more as a copywriter or an art director?”
This was a typical first term question you would hear amongst our cohort in between masterclasses or whilst brewing a much-needed cup of tea. I was always impressed when some incredibly talented individuals said they thought they were a hybrid. This rare breed of creative possesses both the ability of the writer and the illustrator. They can even think of a great idea to boot.
The topic of hybrids had been in my SCAB pipeline. I had been thinking a lot about what hybridity means to me. Term two is well underway at the SCA and it felt right that I revisit the subject.
In a way we are all going through the process of hybridisation. Marc will say he wants his students to be T shaped. So, of the three disciplines of copy, craft and strategy, the aim is to be well developed in at least two.
We started this term having chosen our partners. The work we create, in that sense has a hybrid quality to it. It being the synergy of two unique creative energies.
I suppose I’ve always primarily been a lover of words and ideas. But being in a school surrounded by so much visual stimulation, I sometimes find myself wanting to play in this other space where the graphic artists find so much joy. Watching my partner design something on their laptop, is like seeing a concert pianist in flow.
With scamping I’m becoming pretty competent at tracing and I’m a demon doodler. I’m definitely not an artist of the pencil or paintbrush variety though. But I am a hybrid personality. Both East and West, young and old, hard and soft, head and heart. And probably an infinite number of other dualities working through the conflicting process towards harmony.
So, I wondered is there such a thing as hybrid art? A Google search later and lo and behold, there certainly is.
“Hybrid art refers to the blending of different art forms, mediums, and techniques to create new and unique forms of expression”
And as I scrolled down, I discovered my new love, asemic writing. Asemic writing is a hybrid art form sometimes referred to as ‘visual poetry’. It is a form of writing or mark-making that is not representational or symbolic, but rather is open to interpretation and meaning.
It is characterized by abstract, non-representational forms and shapes, and often resembles calligraphy or graffiti. Asemic writing is not meant to be read as a language, and does not adhere to any specific grammar or syntax. Essentially it is free hand movements on a page and the ‘letters’ do not come from a pre-meditated script but from your own improvised self-expression in the moment.
I’ve included a stylish selection of asemic writing below (and I’ve even snook in one of my own attempts). As someone who feels more comfortable with words, asemic writing is now part of my artistic practice. It feels very welcoming to a novice like me and it’s even more fun than traditional writing. I don’t have to think. Just write. It doesn’t need meaning to justify its presence on the paper. The ink just needs to flow from your pen to the page.
I’ve always found the variety of scripts and alphabets beautiful. The Ge’ez script of Ethiopia’s Amharic, the Cyrillic of Eastern Europe, Hebrew and Arabic in the Near East, Armenian and Georgian in the Caucuses, the Sanskrit of South Asia and the unique pictograms in languages using Chinese characters.
But I find asemic writing trumps them all. It is a hybrid form of writing and visuals and it is purely expressive. A type of anarchic calligraphy that outsources it’s meaning to the viewer. Like life, asemic writing just flows and it is up to you how you interpret the meaningless beauty. And in its hybridity, it reflects humanity. Made up of both spirit (if you believe in that stuff) and mind-body. Expressed in the language of science it’s like the mixing of energy and matter in the quantum field.
The paradox between our two states gives rise to our consciousness. And when that tension is manifested in the relationship between art and copy it births creative expression.