On 6th February 2019 it was Melbourne Lettering Club’s birthday.
Bobby and I celebrated by writing a bit of information about how it all got started.
Many many moons ago Bobby was working as a chef and as rough as that career was he could always go to the restaurant next door and ask questions. He wasn’t trained as a chef, in fact he was in the middle of finishing a design degree when first started to work as one. He noticed a huge difference between the life of a chef and the life of a creative, at how particularly he could always go to another chef and ask how to make a dish or to borrow a tool/ingredient maybe even borrow a person in staff there.
Whilst as creatives we often work in our own bubbles, techniques are like dark arts that are kept secret from the outside, and never ever ever talk about money. Now Bobby primarily works around lettering and illustration and wanted to be part of a community of people who are also keen on the art of lettering, calligraphy, sign painting, and type design at different levels. Why? Ultimately because it would have been super helpful if he was part of a community like this when first starting out, where he could have other people to guide me when starting to learn this craft, trade tips and experiences, and just basically be around with similar interests.
Sheepishly Bobby talked about it with some close friends and they were very encouraging. It wasn’t a crazy idea after all. However online groups are nice and all, but we creatives like to work on our own. How do we get people together and interact with each other?
One of our biggest inspiration was a photo on instagram by Type Designer and Founder of Lost Type Co-Op Riley Cran. He started these meet ups with his type nerd buddies and made a lettering club. I showed this to a couple of friends and they were keen on the idea.
Tegan was an eager freelancer trying to meet as many creative people as she could. While trying to get more design work, she did some magazine submissions, entered design competitions, and started exploring with other forms of art such as lettering. When she submitted a piece and tweeted about it, she never expected anyone to mention it again. But at an AGDA after hours Bobby introduced himself to Tegan and told her that he was a letterer too!
From here they saw each other at various other design events and art exhibitions, and Melbourne Lettering Club was soon on the horizon. They talked about how great it would be to have a community, and then they decided to do it themselves.?? Bobby introduced Tegan to Barry at Supergraph, and the rest is history.
The first MLC meetup was a low key night at 1000 pound bend in April 2014 that was exactly what they had imagined. With a roll of butchers paper, lots of markers and beers, creatives came together and drew on the table.
We have since tried to do this monthly, and many friendships have been formed from the group.??We have had after work drinks, before work coffees, weekend cake, countless bowls of chips, painted murals, been on the radio and had 2 exhibitions.??We share each others pens, support each other and never see each other as competition.??Last year we took MLC in a different direction and started a residency program, to help others share to the group and to help both Bobby and Tegan step back a little bit – for Bobby’s work and for Tegan’s new baby. We have had a great outcome and look forward to see what happens next.
If you’d like to join our group please find us on facebook.