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Photograph of Keira Rathbone Typewriter Art Finger on typewriter key with Car Typic on paper

About the Typewriter Artist

Uniquely exploring the artistic potentials of old typewriters since 2003

I am a West London-based artist who has been exploring old manual typewriters as a tool for making visual art since experimenting in my bedroom in Bristol in 2003.

I was studying Fine Art with a painting background, I wanted to use my orange Silver Reed but was not moved to type any words. The desire was purely to type, to see that distinctive font and to enjoy tapping the keys.

16 years on I continue to see the characters as the textures or shapes with which to mark-make, combining and overlaying to create visual impressions of captivating subjects, usually direct from life, much to the astonishment of passers-by!

My left-hand shifts and rolls the paper up and down / sideways to direct each mark whilst my right index finger taps with varying intensity to achieve a sensitivity in the scene I am portraying or 'translating' as I call it.

I am told it is a fascinating process to watch - and I, in turn, love to type from life, in public, as it generates so much interaction and conversation from people of all ages.

Keira Rathbone Typewriter ARtist portrait with typewriter and self portrait typewriter art work in front of face, fingers on keys and holding paperKeira Rathbone Typewriter ARtist in the street with typewriter , typingKeira Rathbone typewriter artist typing from life finger on typewriter key tower bridge in the background, typing of tower bridge on the typewritten page
Keira Rathbone typewriter artist typing from life Tower Bridge from the Sky Garden Tower bridge on page and in background finger on key red Olivetti Valentine
Typing from Life!

How it's made

Seeing each letter, number and symbol as a shape, texture or tone with which I build the impression of what I see - 'translated' into type!

I love to type all my designs from life - where possible! I can be found in the street to capture a scene alive with people, buses, birds, water, but sometimes I work from the comfort of my West London studio when using photographs as my visual reference.

I select and tap the characters with my right index finger, whilst simultaneously moving the paper with my left hand to direct where each mark is placed - the character I choose depends on what effect or mark I want to achieve, hence calling it a 'translation' from what I see into type.

I for my original works and personalised pieces I use Arches 100% cotton watercolour paper, the highest quality paper I can fit through the tightly restricted typewriter platen. My personalised items are digitally printed and then hand-typed (so semi-original) and my note cards are digitally printed by an external company using sustainably sourced paper. I have recently switched to eco-friendly cellophane sleeves which are biodegradable.

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Returns Address

The Artists Flat, The Pavilion, Market Drive, London, W4 2RX, GB

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