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Zak Perez painting a mural at Progress on Main
A glimpse of a new Calligraffiti mural taking shape at Progress on Main

When you come across writing on a wall, do you immediately see it as “vandalism” or “art”? Well, let me introduce you to the fascinating world of Calligraffiti—the perfect blend of calligraphy and graffiti.

So what exactly is Calligraffiti? It’s an art form where calligraphic lettering and graffiti collide, resulting in truly unique murals.

Picture this: the elegance of calligraphy meets the urban energy of graffiti, creating a style that’s both captivating and vibrant. It’s the art of transforming calligraphic lettering into a graffiti-style vibe, giving birth to a whole new level of creativity. When you witness Calligraffiti, you’ll find yourself in awe, unsure of how to classify this incredible fusion. Some might say it falls into the realm of abstract expressionism, while others simply see it as captivating street art that adds a vibrant touch to our urban landscapes. Calligraffiti is a testament to the power of art to transcend boundaries and bring together seemingly disparate forms into something truly extraordinary.

The Origins

Back in the early 2000s, something exciting burst onto the artistic scene—Calligraffiti. You know who we have to thank for this awesome term? Niels Meulman, a true legend in the art world. It was during his solo exhibition in 2007 that he not only developed this technique but also introduced it to the world. He famously said, “a word is an image and writing is painting.” And you know what? Those words still resonate in the work of artists like Perez, who continue to carry the Calligraffiti torch today. It’s incredible how a simple phrase can have such a profound impact on artistry.

Techniques used in Calligraffiti

One primary weapon of choice for calligraffiti artists is the chisel-tip brush. These special brushes allow them to create both thick strokes and finer, more delicate lines, giving their artwork a dynamic range. Surprisingly, while the designs may seem meticulously planned, many of the gestural strokes are actually spontaneous, created right on the spot, adding an element of free-flowing creativity to the mix.

Liquitex Freestyle paint brushes
Liquitex Freestyle paint brushes from Art Supply Warehouse

In the world of Calligraffiti, artists infuse classic graffiti elements, such as those iconic paint drips. It’s a remarkable fusion where the fluidity and rhythm of calligraphy join forces with the expressive energy found in graffiti. The result? A breathtaking combination that showcases the versatility and boundless imagination of these talented artists.

Calligraffiti street art at The Blue Lot by Zak Perez
Calligraffiti street art at The Blue Lot in Downtown Santa Ana

Calligraffiti mural in Orange County by Zak Perez

A finished Calligraffiti mural at GCS in Downtown Santa Ana

Calligraffiti mural at El Camino College by Zak Perez
Zak Perez

About Zak Perez