Randy Bautista - Calligrapher
Randy Bautista is a calligrapher based in Southern California. With a day job as a research analyst in higher education, handwriting piqued his interest in school and calligraphy became Randy’s side hustle after he purchased a workshop in a box and then attended an advanced calligraphy workshop. Randy’s calligraphy style is classic and beautiful, a personal touch to stationery for special occasions. He works mostly on paper, has written on ornaments and enjoys when clients give him full creative control. His parents’ support is an inspiration to Randy and he has personal projects coming soon!
When did your interest in calligraphy begin? How did you choose to pursue it?
I’ve always been drawn to letter forms ever since I started to write especially since I went to Catholic school where handwriting and cursive was drilled into us. Throughout middle and high school, I would hand letter, doodle, and do fauxligraphy. I was always impressed by my parents’ signatures as well.
It wasn’t until 2014 or so when I was walking through Poketo in downtown Los Angeles that I came across a workshop by Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls. At the time, I couldn’t afford to take a workshop with her so I opted for the next best thing that I came across in the store: a workshop in a box. It had all the materials for learning calligraphy: straight pen holder, exemplar, ink, practice sheets. I went home and just started practicing. I still have those first couple of sheets I did and look at them from time to time to remind myself of how far I’ve come. It wasn’t until a couple years later that I decided to take an advanced workshop with Maybelle and things sort of bloomed out of that meeting. At the time, she wasn’t taking on wedding work, but she had referred me as one of her students who might be able to take on the work. That initial job lead to others and a couple years later here I am.
What do you love about the art of calligraphy and hand lettering?
I find calligraphy to be incredibly meditative -- focusing on creating different letters. When I work on client projects, it forces you to be in the present and concentrate on what you’re doing.
I love that it can be personal in the sense that someone took the time to write out something for you (or in a client’s case, commissioned someone) especially since we live in such a digital-heavy world these days.
What are some of your favorite calligraphy projects?
One of my favorites was creating individual thank you cards to my coworkers for decorating my office for my birthday also because I got to experiment a bit with a different calligraphy style.
I worked on a invitation suite along with day-of materials for the wedding day with Jill Sassa of ps paper (http://www.pspaper.com/) and Julia Lake of Julia Lake Parties (http://www.julialake.com/) which included hand lettering I had done along with calligraphy. This ended up being in Vogue (https://www.vogue.com/slideshow/david-foxley-ethan-leidinger-wedding-connecticut-gallery)
I also really enjoy when my clients give me full creative control over a project.
Do you have a favorite medium to work with?
Paper for sure. It’s portable, I can bring a nib, pen holder, and ink and just go at it.
What has been a challenging project, surface to write on, ink/paint to use?
The past two holiday seasons I’ve done some work with ornaments -- the first with an actual ornament and the other on a flat acrylic ornament. I found the former to be incredibly difficult to work with because of the rounded surface, so it was a lot of experimentation trying to find a tool that would give me something to how a pointed nib would. The latter was easier since I ended up using my normal nib and pen to write on it. Metallic inks for larger projects can be a bit challenging if you don’t have an ink stirrer since metallic particles settle to the bottom sometimes.
How do you get in a creative mindset? And maintain a creative flow?
My creative process is a little all over the place. Sometimes I’ll make lists of things I want to create before actually doing it. Other times, I’ll dive in and start doing calligraphy without a goal in mind. It helps to create a work environment that’s inviting. Sometimes I’ll have projects pile up on my desk and it definitely helps to clear the clutter before moving on to the next project.
Who/what is an influence in your life? What is your biggest driving force?
As cliche as it sounds, my parents have always influenced me but more on a subconscious level. For one, they were the first to emigrate to the US which paved way for other family members so it pushes me to be the best version of myself that I can. They were always supportive of me and my passions.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you are excited about?
The biggest and exciting thing I’m tackling at the moment as a personal project is branding! Stay tuned.
All images courtesy of Randy Bautista