Interview with SHCH graphics groupJul 15th, 2010 | By Nikita | Category: Ambigram Gallery, Artists, Feature
This is one of the most inspirational interviews that Ambigram.com has ever conducted. The work is as unique as it is inspirational, and the artist’s hand precision and ability can rival (and in my opinion, exceed) any computer software. This kind of talent does not appear overnight, but is honed through years of hard work and dedication. That’s why we are so thankful to bring you this interview with Andrey Shch, the principal of SHCH graphics group. (Please note: All the work is property of Andrey Shch/SHCH graphics group, and is published here with his permission.)
Ambigram.com Andrey, tell us a bit about yourself. How did you become interested in graphic design and typography?
Andrey Shch I am a human, a male as such. That I know for sure. Any other characteristics of myself and what I do bore me to death. They just don’t seem colorful enough to me for describing something as grand and mysterious as art.
I would say that I have been granted a permission to live in art’s minor region called Graphic Design, or rather in a small corner of it called Typography. Someone or something from that world got interested in me and invited me in which I am sincerely grateful for, and doing what I do simply seems like most appropriate way of returning the favor.
Ambigram.com Your typography work has an amazingly precise feel to it, especially the hand-drawn pieces. How long did it take you to master such a lettering technique?
Andrey Shch I mastered this technique one windy autumn day during my apprenticeship among Chinese monks of Hunan province. Didn’t really take that long… The precision embowered me while chasing mosquitoes with chopsticks. 20 hours of such exercise each day and you will be mastering it just as well. 30 or 45 years is more than enough. You will probably need some luck though.
Ambigram.com Where does your inspiration come from? Do you have a favorite designer, typographer, artist, or art period that consistently influences you and your work?
Andrey Shch The main source of inspiration is those bottomless eyes of beautiful, wise women which hide crystal clear hearts deep within. No designer, typographer or calligrapher in the world is able to replicate or describe with words the things they can do to you with those eyes. In my opinion, there is no inspiration without being slightly in love in some beautiful women beyond one’s reach, and each creative period of mine is simply a time of being in love.
Ambigram.com Your work aesthetic has a very wide range, from highly decorative to elegant and reserved. How do you know where to draw the line (no pun intended)?
Andrey Shch There is no absolute certainty in my works. Not in a single line. I go along with my intuition and just let my hand feel where to do draw the line and where to curve it, what to do or not to do. It’s like being in love – you never know what comes next, you just trust the feeling to lead you in the right direction. You just follow it.
Ambigram.com Do you prefer to incorporate hand-rendered graphics into every project, or do you only do so at the client’s request?
Andrey Shch I do try to enchant each work with that special element, whether it is hand-rendered graphics or some other yet unknown sort of graphics which has no name, but may only be expressed by the line’s bend. Even though it is not always visible, it does live in every piece.
Ambigram.com :When did you first hear about ambigrams? Do you remember the first ambgiram you’ve ever seen?
Andrey Shch I toyed with ambigrams since childhood. Me and my school love exchanged love poems written on small pieces of squared paper during math classes. If we got caught, the teacher could only see simple numbers and formulas which only two of us could turn around just right. We did it for a long time – hiding our feelings behind fractions and equations.
Therefore, yes. I do remember my first ambigram, how could I forget? It was my first love. You just don’t forget such things.
Ambigram.com Here we have several ambigrams you’ve designed (here I will use the two examples you gave me.) Were these personal projects or requested piece? Do you have any other ambigrams you can share with us?
Andrey Shch I see each piece as a personal project and I don’t undertake projects if I can’t see myself contributing with something of my own, if I can’t make them personal. Just like a composer, I play my own music and if the spectators pay for the show… Well, that’s a nice bonus. And yes, I do have other ambigrams you can take a look at.
Ambigram.com Are there any ambigram artists that you admire?
Andrey Shch This is an interesting question and I would like to fluctuate a bit from the obvious answers if you don’t mind. This is amazing, but I do get a lot of personal letters, especially from ladies, and I do prefer to see them as artists in this particular context. Solving their complex ambigrams is a constant source of inspiration. Simple letters and handwriting can hide so much more complex and even ambiguous things! It never stops to amaze me. Inspiring indeed…
Ambigram.com Let’s go back to your hand-lettering for a minute. Can you provide some suggestions to designers & artists that want to experiment with hand-lettered graphics and typography? What tools would you recommend? Can you recommend and specific techniques and approaches?
Andrey Shch I really couldn’t be sure if what I do is calligraphy. It’s a very unprompted, natural thing for me.
Don’t concern yourself with techniques so much! You will never be able to say you’ve mastered something as elusive as some unspecified technique. You will always be running after some bus which you don’t need in a first place just to find out later that you have a free lifetime ticket for a transportation mode of your choice.
Experiment with your brain instead. It is always near at hand and it never runs out of ink or battery. Your own personal style will shape itself when you realize you’re doing what you love and you’re doing it the way you want to. Try not to listen to advices too much. Really. And take mine with a lot of skepticism and irony as well. For example, this one – Your head is guiding your hand and your hand is guiding the pencil. Learn to control your thoughts and you will be able to do wonders. And while you are drawing, don’t think about anything else but drawing. You don’t need any other thoughts while you do that. As soon as you start thinking whether or not something you do will be modern, rated, saleable, famous or scandalous – just stop and walk away, away from your piece, from your desk as far as you can. Stay away until you stop thinking and feel peaceful again. Now you can continue.
Ambigram.com Can you name a favorite project of yours? Why is it your favorite?
Andrey Shch Vogue. A project where the client had full respect and understanding for my artistic perspective and gave me liberty of action for realization of the original idea.
Ambigram.com What is your favorite typeface?
Andrey Shch Those which are time-tested just like Cheops Pyramid. Non-commercial ones, created thoughtfully, thoroughly, to a tee.
Early Chinese writing from The Shang Dynasty ages, found in Jiahu. They are dated 1765-1027 BCA – supposedly the Chinese writing’s time of birth. They are about 8600 years old. And very beautiful.
Dear Andrey, thank you so much for interviewing with Ambigram.com and providing examples of your beautiful work! For more examples of Andrey’s work, please visit http://www.sgr.kiev.ua/.