Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Typewriters – Not Just for Storytelling Anymore

Mona Lisa Typed by Paul SmithEver since I posted the story about the typewriter factory possibly closing, I’ve come across more typewriter stories on the ‘net than I thought possible…without even looking for them.

I think this one, about the artist Paul Smith, is pretty interesting. He was born in 1921, with such a bad case of cerebral palsey that he didn’t attend school.

It didn’t stop him from creating some wonderful art – with a typewriter.

Smith taught himself to be an artist, using shading techniques similar to charcoal drawings. He most often used the keys @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ to create his art, backing up the carriage and typing over and over again in the same areas of the page. He sometimes smeared the ink with his thumb, adding depth to the picture.

It’s a far cry from ascii art, eh? Here’s some by Jorn Barger for comparison. Mona Lisa by Jorn Barger

During his life, Smith created hundreds of pieces, including portraits of presidents, animals, religious icons, and especially seascapes and pictures of boats. Often, he gave the pieces away.

I love how he wrote “Typed by Paul Smith” on each piece he created.

See more of his art at the

Close Up: Mona Lisa's Eyes by Paul Smith

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