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I met Brian Kurzius many years ago and I’m grateful that social media allows me to stay connected with friends from different phases of my life, and for me to be able to see art that they’ve created. Brian’s calligraphies capture my eye and my heart and I’m thankful he agreed to share some of his work with us and to tell us what inspires him and what words of encouragement he might offer anyone wishing to beautify words from the Baha’i Writings with the art of calligraphy.
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in a Baha’i family and became interested in calligraphy as a teenager — so the Writings have always been a part of my creative efforts. I have also been inspired by how other Baha’i artists have used letterforms in their work — including Mark Tobey, who combined calligraphic elements in his paintings, and the exceptional calligraphy of Michael Hughey.
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little bit about your calligraphies and your calligraphic style?
I usually gravitate to shorter quotations where the viewer can focus on the power of just a single line from the Writings — or even a few words. A shorter quote also allows me to experiment with the way the letters relate to one another and other elements on the page. The use of colour is also quite important, as it allows for more creative possibilities than single colour lettering on a white background. At the beginning of the pandemic a lot of non-traditional calligraphic artists moved their classes online so I had the opportunity to see what was possible in presenting words artistically. I’ve also started to experiment with digital painting using Procreate on the iPad — which has opened up even more possibilities!
Baha’i Blog: What inspires you to create you?
The Writings inspire me more than anything else. Although most of the pieces I have done use more familiar quotations, sometimes when deepening a particular part of a quote jumps out and I’m moved to put it into a piece. And this quote of Baha’u’llah has always inspired me to think of the creative power of the Word of God : “The Word is the master key for the whole world, inasmuch as through its potency the doors of the hearts of men, which in reality are the doors of heaven, are unlocked.” I am also inspired by the thought of what future generations of calligraphers and artists will create using the Writings of Baha’u’llah, the Bab and Abdu’l-Baha. After all, the greatest artistic creations from Islam are calligraphic renderings from the Quran, so it seems reasonable that a similar efflorescence will take place in this age.
Baha’i Blog: What words of encouragement might you have for anyone wishing to create calligraphies that embellish quotations from the Baha’i Writings?
Keep practicing, creating and experimenting — and take classes whenever you have the chance! And follow the many calligraphic artists who post on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest since they show what artistic possibilities there are in combining letters and other artistic elements.
Baha’i Blog: Many thanks, Brian, for taking the time to share this with us!
You can follow Brian’s work on Instagram: www.instagram.com/briankurzius
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