Who is the man behind PampaType ?
I trained as a graphic designer in Córdoba, Argentina,
where I was born. Then worked for some years in newspapers and magazines
at Buenos Aires but finally decided to get deeper in the universe of
text typography, which I have always loved. So I moved to Europe and
completed two postgraduate courses, one at Reading University (UK) and
the other at the ANRT (Nancy, France). I currently live in Puebla, Mexico,
where I happily teach typography and information design at the Universidad
de las Américas Puebla.
You seem to be a specialist of reviving old typeface. Why this interest ?
I dont think Im a specialist in reviving
old styles. There are people like Robert Slimbach or Matthew Carter
who are highly authorized on this field! I do think revivalism is a
major factor in the evolution of type design.
Is it why you decide to do your post-diploma in France ?
The ANRT, dependant of the Ministry of Culture, had a good reputation in my country, and it represented a worth opportunity for me to stay in Europe for a while, after finishing my MA course at Reading. I successfully passed an interview in the Musée DOrsay and they considered it worth to give me the chance to keep working in my "Rayuela" project. It was a perfect combination of resources and peace, a nice environment at an Art School in Nancy (capital of Lorena), also shared with teachers (mostly Swiss) who regularly visit the atelier to give advice. Among them there are Philippe Millot and Hans-Jürg Hunziker, to whose contributions Im deeply grateful.
If you compare the typography teaching in South America, the UK & France, what differences (if they exist) will you see ?
Thats a difficult question. It would be very pretentious
to say that my singular experiences were representative of countries
or continents! dont you think? My experience in the University
of Buenos Aires (Im sure not representative at all of "South
Americas typography teaching") was that of a very sociable
way of learning. Sharing four or five hours every Friday evening with
some 300 students can give you a perspective of what Im trying
to say. The experience at Reading (UK) was rather an individual process,
where you got to interacting with appropriate literature, writing essays
on specific subjects, following courses, complying with deadlines, always
focused on your single path. The ANRT was again a little bit more social
kind of approach, since you share the space and experience with other
four students (to whom I am also in debt). It was a more relaxed time,
without deadlines nor pressures. So if you knew what exactly you would
like to do that is the best place. Self motivation and self management
has been always important, in all theses different places, but the people
around you can make it completely different. I believe much in the social
part of learning.
You are Argentinean and work now in Mexico. Can you tell us more about the South American typographic landscape.
First things first: Mexico is in North America. Central
America starts in Guatemala and ends up in Panama, where South America
begins. This is a common misconception in Europe, perhaps favoured by
the idea that Latin American countries belong to the same culture, because
they speak the same language, which is not as easy to conclude. The
ways we speak Spanish, from Ushuaia to Tijuana, arent quite the
same in such a big continent, and it is profoundly linked to the voices
of each region, before Spanish conquest took place. Having said that,
I have to accept that living in Mexico makes it more familiar to my
countrys culture than living in other parts of the world. Many
things are common in our way of thinking, we are all extroverted and
very sociable for instance, but there are many differences indeed: weathers,
clothes, food, paysage, accents, smells, music, religion, colors, jokes,
traffic, sports, things that show in day by day life.
Can this culture be too a source of inspiration ? (Amerindian Glyphs, colonial typography)
Yes, I think these kind of sources have been taken widely
by Latin American designers in the last years. Good sites -like the
the Brazilian tupigraphica.com.br
or the Chilean tipografica.cl
- show how its been developed an inspiring commitment with vernacular
typography, street posters and popular culture. With local inflexions
this phenomenon is happening also in Mexico and in other Latin American
countries. Graphic designers are enthusiasts about looking to our own
graphic culture rather than importing ready-made formulas, as its
been the case during the 80s, when graphic design got impulse around
here. However I expect this actual enthusiasm will create new experiences
in the future, maybe from a more critical point of view; otherwise it
rests as a sort of fetishism which, at the end of the day, doesnt
make things better.