23-year-old James Cook’s analog typewriter art takes the digital world by storm – art and culture

Emilee Geist

Art is perhaps one of the few activities where there are no rules. If you can think it, chances are, there is a way to make your imagination into reality. Some of the greatest pioneers in art have been the ones who stepped so far outside the comfort zone of […]

Art is perhaps one of the few activities where there are no rules. If you can think it, chances are, there is a way to make your imagination into reality. Some of the greatest pioneers in art have been the ones who stepped so far outside the comfort zone of acceptable art that their creations were entirely novel.

Through the course of history, we have seen various mediums that have been used to create art. From artwork that is made with dryer lint to butter sculptures and etch-a-sketch art, experimentation seems to be the soul of revolutionary art.

Another such unusual medium that has yielded unexpected results in artwork is a typewriter. 23-year-old architecture student James Cook has created some of the most magnificent replicas of England’s prominent architectural marvels, portraits and still lifes with nothing but a manual typewriter and time on his hands. With his background in architecture, James ensures that his artwork is meticulously detailed and precise.

 

Cook’s attraction for typewriter art began in 2014, when he read about a man named Paul Smith, who suffered from cerebral palsy and due to his illness, he wasn’t able to hold any writing tools. So, as a means to express himself, he took up drawing with a typewriter. Through the course of 60 years, Smith was able to amass an incredible portfolio.

 

In an interview with Bored Panda, James Cook commented that Paul Smith’s work has been partly the focus of his study in college and through this, he got the inspiration to start making his own art. The very first typewriter he bought was a ’56 Oliver Courier and even now that he has built up his collection to almost 30 typewrites, the courier remains his favourite, thanks to its versatility.

 

Cook likens making typewriter art to learning a new language that is made up of punctuation marks, letters and numbers. “It was how I assembled these marks on the page that would reveal the image once you stepped back from the drawing.”

 

Cook also commented that even though this type of art is very time consuming, he enjoys spending time to make his drawings proportionally correct and as close to the real thing as possible. “Each drawing varies in size, scale and complexity. However, I am restricted to using standard A4 paper, mostly as this was the most common size of paper a typewriter would take. Each drawing can take between 9-30 hours,” he said in an interview.

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