My name is Christopher Benson and I'm the owner of The Fisher Press, a small fine art publishing company in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Two years ago I wrote, designed and made the first prototypes for a limited edition book about a friend and former teacher of mine—a fantastic graphic designer and calligrapher from Rhode Island named Raphael Boguslav.
Sadly, Raphael died in 2010 as the result of injuries from a motorcycle accident near his home in Newport, leaving behind a large archive of his calligraphic drawings. Several of us who knew him went through that work after he died and had the idea to make this book as a way of preserving his legacy for posterity. This was a pet project of ours at the Press and the design and production work was paid for by friends and family of the artist who bought the first ten copies in the edition.
There is also a website dedicated to his graphic design and calligraphy that has been maintained since his death by another friend: http://www.boguslav.com
Raphael was a prolific designer of corporate logotypes and trademarks in the 1970s and 80s and many of his marks have become familiar, even iconic symbols in the trade. But his deeper, more artistic passion was for hand written calligraphic script, and it is that work which is the subject of our book.
Our mission here on Kickstarter is to revise the book I have already prototyped, which contains reproductions of 22 drawings, to include a longer biography of the artist, and to complete the remaining 50 books in the edition which we will then take to the upcoming CODEX book fair in Berkeley, California in February of 2013. We have already applied to and been accepted as exhibitors at the fair. Any profits we make from selling this book there will be shared equally with Raphael's estate and also used to initiate a larger trade edition of the book to be marketed to art schools as a practice manual for calligraphy and design students.
We are offering rewards of the six pages of lettering from the book that are seen on this web page, reproduced in numbered editions of archival prints on fine art papers. These images come from the same high-resolution scans made directly from the artist's original drawings that we used to make the plates in the book. Because our medium is ink printing on matte paper, these prints resemble the actual works to an extraordinary degree, making them almost indistinguishable from the originals. In some cases we have even restored the files from originals which were drawn in a hurry on inexpensive paper and became rumpled or coffee-stained or water-damaged in Raphael's studio. We have cleaned them up substantially and are printing them now on heavy rag papers which show them off to their best advantage.
We are also offering a small number of copies of the book. A list and pictures of available prints, as well as more detailed images of the book itself will be posted on our company website in January of 2013 so that funders can select the samples they like best prior to the delivery of their rewards.
WHY WE DO IT:
We enjoy all the work we do at the Press, but this is an especially rewarding project. Raphael was an exceptional craftsman and a great teacher whose instruction had a life-long impact on many who worked and studied with him. This is an important project for us and one that also offers an opportunity for our funders to be part of a unique, worthy endeavor on behalf of a fine artisan whose life's work well deserves to be remembered. Thanks so much for taking a look at it!
Sincerely, Christopher Benson—Owner/Director of The Fisher Press
The book measures 12" x 17.25"—horizontal with the cover opening horizontally. The boards are covered in a deep blue Japanese silk (the original copy shown on the site was purple but they stopped manufacturing that cloth so we went to a blue).
There are 27 different sheets in the book, each reproduced at, or very close to 100% of it's original size from Raphel's hand. They are divided into three "chapters" with each section containing variations on a different letter form; so it starts with Chancery Italics, goes on to Fractur, or Germanic "Black-Letter" , then concludes with his blocks of script and alphabets. The progression is from formal and conventional scripts to nearly abstracted drawings made of letters.
The printing is spectacular. We direct scanned Raphael's sheets with a big flat-bed scanner at 400dpi resolution, so the detail and tonality is crisp and subtle, showing all the gradations of the water-borne inks as they hit the paper. The materials are pigmented inks on 100%rag fine art paper.
We think the book is a knockout. Of all our books made here at the press, this is the one that invariably makes people gasp when they turn the pages.