A Brief History of Typewriter Art

Bob Neill is Alive and Well: A Brief History of Typewriter Art – Original post by Andrew Belsey, 2002. The following is just a part of the post which you can read at the link.

The Constant Rediscovery of the Typewriter as an Artistic Medium
In the history of science there is the well-known phenomenon of
“simultaneous discovery,” when two or more scientists working
independently and without knowledge of each other come up with the
same idea or discovery at roughly the same time. It seems that
something similar operates in the history of typewriter art, only
without such simultaneity. Or to put it another way, typewriter art
has been (re)discovered several times. For example, I doubt whether
many of the contemporary contributors to Alan Riddell’s TYPEWRITER
ART in 1975 were aware of experiments in the 1920s by Bauhaus students
or the Dutch typographer H.N. Werkman, with which the book opens. Nor
had they come across the work of Guillermo Mendana Olivera round
about 1960, now available through Joan Stark’s HISTORY OF ASCII ART
website. So the fact that Bob Neill was, with the minor exception
mentioned above, unaware of other typewriter artists is not
surprising. And he has not been the only major typewriter artist
outside any group or tradition. A few years ago the work done by
Winifred Caldwell in America in the 1940s and 1950s appeared on the
Internet (now, unfortunately, it has disappeared). Caldwell’s
technique was quite different from that of Bob Neill and the main
tradition of typewriter art, for she manipulated the paper in the
platen and used lines, brackets, dots and a few other characters to
draw more “naturalistic” pictures of houses, landscapes and flowers
(named “TypEtchings” onthe website). But her results are highly
skilled and as appealing as anything in typewriter art.

You may also like...

2 thoughts on “A Brief History of Typewriter Art”

Leave a Comment