I collect vintage typewriters.
That quirky occupation can evince surprise. “They’re still around? Do they work? But where do you get new ribbons?”
Occasionally though there is just bored contempt: “Wow. You have so many typewriters. Anyway, as I was saying ...”
But frequently they are met with a fascination that leads someone to sooner or later purchase a typewriter of their own.
These lovely objects are sought after for many reasons. One is their physical form. And it’s that vintage goodness that inspires Canadian artist Christopher Stott.
Stott has found his groove depicting typewriters and other vintage artifacts of the analog world. He portrays such items as books and table top fans, clocks, cameras and sixty plus years of typewriter styles. He places each against a spacious white background in uncluttered arrangements, usually on a scale that’s larger than life. They face you. You are level with them and they seem to level with you. “Yes, we are still here. And yes we still work. The eternal now is where we dwell” they seem to say.
But it is their photorealism that makes you look twice and marvel.
The artist says there is a calm meditative quality that is part of each painting’s appeal. “People see the delicate slow considered work that went into making the object.”
“The technique that I use is slow and meditative and contemplative. … People find these relevant in their lives because they understand these objects and there’s a universal appeal to them.”
The 4-minute video below shows many of Stott’s paintings and the source of his inspiration.
I found Stott’s work last year while searching for typewriter images and was stunned to realize I was not looking at a photograph. The lighting and calm detail make time seem to disappear and I can look at these repeatedly with great joy.
When I found Stott’s portrayal of my favorite workhorse typewriter, the 1950s Smith Corona Silent-Super in seafoam green, I was completely enamored. The typewriter is central, poised and ready to write. There at its side are piles of books and a glass of yellow #2 pencils catches the light just so. Each is a facet of my work, and as a whole they make a good summary of what I do.
Stott kindly gave me permission to use the image as the home page header for Paperblogging and it reminds me to keep my analog promise and work with my hands, not just online, but writing on this typewriter frequently, reading, sketching, and teaching all three.
Aside from it’s daily use at home, the seafoam green typewriter came with us on vacation this spring to Cape Cod and I enjoyed adding typewritten text to a travel sketchbook at the end of many of the days. I’ll be reproducing pages from that sketchbook in an upcoming post.
Meanwhile you can see more of the artist’s work at the links below.