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The Lockdown Diaries | Newsletter

A couple of weeks ago, I reconnected with a friend of mine and gave her un update on my last 18 months in Australia. After talking to her, I thought of sharing my thoughts with all of you. The unique (and not so unique) situation of this Pandemic, is that no matter where you are in the world right now, there are many chances you can relate to my reality, and by learning about it, I hope we’ll feel closer to one another.

 

 

Last year, we were in lockdown for nearly seven months. By the end of 2020, many people around me were doing it mentally tough, including myself.

Many businesses closed down and the city had this weird energy around it. In my neighbourhood there were many empty houses as people moved back with their parents, or decided to leave the city as it was too sad/too tough. My area was particularly impacted as it is inhabited with artists and creatives in general, and a lot of them struggled financially.

My partner and I were very lucky to keep our creative space up and running. Half of us have been at Rotson Studios for a long time and know the value of our community. Many others left us, which is totally understandable. Our landlord gave us some rent relief but, in my opinion, not enough.

In October, the government offered a grant to everyone renting studio spaces, which felt like a financial reward for the ones who kept our desk space but we couldn’t use it for most of the year.

For some people, keeping the airports shut means peace of mind; and for the rest of the country, the other 50% of the population who has family overseas, it represents an open wound.

The State’s identity has developed significantly, which is a natural reaction due to the contrasting circumstances you are experiencing based on your location in the country.

There are many realities on my island, like in every other country around the world: People who are busier than ever; people who don’t believe in Covid; people who thrive in lockdowns; people who are falling in love, getting married and having babies; people who are losing loved ones; and people who are very homesick, wherever home is.

A couple of months ago, I travelled interstate to support my partner’s father after his hip replacement surgery. Two weeks later, the State’s borders shut down again and we are currently locked up in regional NSW indefinitely. The great news? We are healthy, close to the beach and the weather is freaking amazing. The not so great news? Work has decreased considerably and we are paying a temporary Airbnb plus our rent in the city, which is a financial stretch.

I consider myself privileged and especially lucky because I haven’t lost any friends or family due to Covid-19 so far.

My partner and I are doing really well. The intense conviviality of the last eighteen months has only strengthened our relationship, which makes my heart sing.

Lastly, I have done a lot of study and personal development, so I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about myself in the last year.

 

I would LOVE to hear from you and your reality.

 

Whether you are at the beach having a mojito, or covered in blankets dreaming of a better future to come. Above all, I hope this letter reminds you that no matter what, we are not alone.

Much love, Maria.


 

Stop Feeding Your Own Beast

I have recently discovered American writer Anne Lamott and she has inspired me with her quote, because it hits close to home.

Since the beginning of the Pandemic, I have found very difficult to generate personal work. This is a new experience, as I’m normally extremely self-driven and motivated.

I’ve reflected on it, and have had many internal dialogues with myself telling me that last year wasn’t an artist retreat that I scheduled in my calendar. It wasn’t a sabbatical to find my voice either. It was, and still is, a global health and financial crisis taking many lives daily. Nor my productivity, or my personal creative output are a measure of my self worth.

On the other hand, perfectionism is not new to me. It is an old toxic friend of mine often hanging around reminding me that nothing is ever enough. I push it away, Perfectionism pushes back. It is a long battle, and I’m very much working on it.

This work in progress brings me joy as 1) I am generating a new personal project, and 2) I’m not letting Perfectionism stand in my way to share it.


 

Oasis Spa | Logomark

This line of spas are on board all ships of the Britannia cruise line.

The logomark represents a water droplet made from leaves and branches. This represents both the sea aspect of cruising and the land where guests reach their various destinations. It also suggests both of the attributes of an oasis, which is typically an area of water surrounded by a number of trees or other flora.

The vector logomark was crafted taking in consideration offset, embossed, gold-foil and letterpress optimal reproductions.

Client: Oasis Spa World
Art Direction: Andrew Thomas from Inaria Luxury Brand, UK


 

Charlie’s Packaging Illustrations

Packaging illustrations for Charlie’s Artisan Cookies and Cookie Dough.

Client: Charlie’s Fine Food & Co
Art direction and packaging design: Lauren Vilitati


 

Find Your Inner Compass | Typism Podcast

Recently, Dominique Falla asked me to be part of Typism’s new podcast series, and talk about the concept of inner compass. You can now listened to it here.

After our conversation together, I decided to write an in-depth article with a comprehensive list of resources on the subject, in case you find that useful.


 

3 Outcomes to Script Brush Lettering

In this demo, I’m showing you three different outcomes to your Script Brush Pen Lettering.

1) Pixel-base image: Scanning your own original piece
2) Pixel-based image: Recreating your piece using a digital brush in Procreate
3) Vector-based image:

  • 3.1) Drawing outlines
  • 3.2) Using a stroke to create a monoline script lettering and adding animation to it with After Effects.

 

Live Online Calligraphy Courses

My live online calligraphy courses run in a webinar format via Zoom. I record each session and you are able to review the videos later on, and for those of you living in a different time zone.

Live online Intro to Copperplate
Sundays 29 August and 5, 12, 19 September
From 9.30am to 11.30am, AEDT

— Copperplate minuscule and simpler capitals
— For beginner and intermediate students
— Materials list supplied
— Personal class notes provided
— Handouts sent in advance
— 2 spots for BIPOC students available
— No calligraphy experience required
— Q&A session after each class
— Every lesson is recorded and uploaded 3 hours after each class


 

In-Person Calligraphy Workshops

These are my next in-person calligraphy workshops at Rotson Studios in Naarm (Melbourne).

Introduction to Copperplate calligraphy
Saturday October 16

Introduction to Blackletter calligraphy
Saturday October 17

Copperplate Capitals Weekend
Saturdays November 6 & 13


This article was first published as part of my bi-monthly email newsletter called “September 2021: The Lockdown Diaries”.