If you have been following my interview series here on the blog, you might already know that there is a well-defined structure for those conversations. Today, I want to share an interview done in a different way. It will be quicker, a bit more friendly and not any less personal. Carolyn recently published a typeface and a book, and those two were good enough reasons to sit down and enjoy a virtual conversation about the process.
An interview with Azucena del Carmen Cabezas León from the Carga Máxima studio at ATypI São Paulo, October 2015
We interviewed Azucena León during the ATypI conference in São Paulo in October 2015, when the Alphabettes blog was barely in its first weeks of life. Azucena and her partner, Alinder Espada, had a stall in the conference market place, where she was composing and selling lettering posters. What immediately caught our attention was the bold, fluorescent and immediate hand lettering, with strong messages distilled from the Peruvian version of Cumbia, the popular music of Colombia. The messages combined references to music, ‘la novela’ (soap opera), but mostly, a sense of pure drama: tu castigo será verme feliz [your punishment will be seeing me happy], el buen amante nunca se enamora [the good lover never falls in love], no se gana pero se goza [you can’t win, but enjoy it anyway], está prohibido estar triste [sadness is not allowed], se sufre pero se aprende [you suffer but you learn] and so on. It was not easy to find a free slot during her busy day, as every ATypI attendee wanted one of her posters. Continue reading
Nina, continuing the Den Haag theme (well, not anymore!) chose Marina to be our next interviewee. Honestly, one of the emails with five chosen questions I sent to Marina started with (quote:) “I want to be your friend!” I didn’t even care what she will think of me, proposing friendship out of the blue. In case you are wondering why I am sharing this with you, just read on and you will probably tell her this as well.
She is full of energy. This energy is present in every line Marina wrote, makes it feel like she is talking to us, telling some of the “behind the scenes” stories. She was so engaged in writing the most whole answers, no ego or vanity involved.
Now, I am not sure what I should advise you to drink while reading the interview. As you will see few lines down, Marina offers some flavorful choices. Either way, I know you will enjoy what she has to say.
In our last interview, Sol chose Nina Stössinger to be the next interviewee. The research and work that is done in the background for this series is truly joyful. But, it’s impossible to compress everything I have learned about each interviewee into five questions. I am trying to show a glimpse of the many things each inspiring lady is doing and thinking, and in Nina’s case it was a huge challenge.
The timing of publishing this works perfectly with the week’s events, and Nina herself fits well into conference discussions and talks. When I first met Nina, it was a one-way meeting. I was watching her give a talk at Ampersand conference, and despite the disappointing gender ratio of speakers, I was thrilled to hear another great female speaker. I had much to ask, and her precise answers will surely leave you wanting to read more. So get yourself a sweet or savory treat, preferably of a kind that you can refill your bowl with, and read on:
After a month filled with inspiring posts written by many of the ’bettes, it’s time to mark Women’s International Day with a new interview. Although I think the fact that there is a Women’s day shows that we are far from reaching equality, I will still use this date as an excuse to celebrate Alphabettes and the connections that we are able to make here. Our next interviewee will touch a bit on gender roles and sewing, which I find perfect for today.
In the last interview, Shelley nominated Sol Kawage. I didn’t know Sol, perhaps because we missed each other by a year at Reading, but I was so happy to get to know her through this interview. I am sure that you will feel the same, so sit back (with a nice glass of wine and cheese!) and enjoy this read.
Fourth interview, wow! It is now starting to feel like a series, and with each one it is becoming more wonderful to read about these inspiring ladies. Although I am not the one choosing the interviewees (except for the first time), I am loving the choices that go around the globe and around different typography-based occupations.
This time, Mariko chose Shelley Gruendler. I was waiting for this to happen and I knew it would at some point — I have been wanting to ask Shelley many questions for a long time. So here we are, approaching the end of 2015 and this seems like the perfect time to grab your guilty pleasure, may it be a sweetened drink or a heavy slice of cake and enjoy Shelley’s thoughts, being written so openly:
For this third interview in the series, Sol chose Mariko Takagi (see here the concept and first interview with Alice). The idea of Alphabettes all around the world was a part of Sol’s reason to want Mariko to be interviewed, “visiting” different continents.
I met Mariko when she was giving a talk in AtypI, and I was fascinated by her ‘Hanzi Graphy’ exhibition. Her research in fields unknown to me made choosing questions for her to be quite easy. For this interview about research, symbols and identity, I suggest to make yourself a cup of green tea (preferably with ginger), read on and enjoy the Autumn/Winter crawling in (depends on where your located, could also be summertime!)
For the second interview in our series, Alice chose Sol Matas to be interviewed. (Beware, personal comment ahead) I was instantly happy – my husband is Argentinian, like Sol, and I have heard so much about Buenos Aires (and can even recommend where to eat without yet being there!) that I was super excited to hear what Sol had to say.
This interview is posted right before ATypI São Paulo, as a small tribute to the type scene in Latin America. So get yourself a nice plate of Argentinian Alfajores or German baked goods, or better yet – both, and enjoy Sol’s thoughts about two places, about type, and life.
I always find it interesting to talk to people. And more than that – to talk to other ladies that are doing similar things like I do, experience the same dilemmas, and most likely share with me some feelings. This series of interviews aims to give us an insight about the lives and work of the Alphabettes.
The structure is simple: Three sections with different length of answers to allow skimming or reading (aren’t we all so busy?). “The warmup” with short questions, “The visual” with photos taken by our interviewee as replies, and “The longer bits” of questions that require some more words to answer to, and probably more thought.
Each interviewee will nominate the next lady to be interviewed, out of our lovely Alphabettes. The last paragraph will also give us a preview of the next interview, with a question passed along for next post.
So grab a coffee or a freshly squeezed orange juice and start reading. Hope you’ll enjoy Alice’s answers just as I did!
If you are interested in peeki…, eh, listening behind the work of some type luminaries, hear personal stories and anecdotes, or just want to know if they are religious (the infamous First Question), head over and immerse yourself in the Typeradio archive. Great interviews with people in type and design related fields since 2004. 🎤 🎶
For instance April Greiman, Kali Nikitas, Morag Myerscough, Irma Boom, Catherine Dixon, Marian Bantjes, Catherine Griffiths, Anette Lenz, and a great many greats more.