Artist Phil Hansen used his vintage Smith-Corona electric typewriter to type an intricate and tiny portrait of Kendrick Lamar, with words from his song Be Humble. The portrait is part of his series Poems in Poets, which also includes Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, and Bob Dylan.
Sometimes inspiration comes in the strangest places. Artist Phil Hansen recently had this experience when he saw a picture of cliffs on the ocean which instantly reminded him of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem Annabel Lee. A poem that explores the death of a beautiful woman who, with her lover, lived in a kingdom by the sea.
Jumping off from this unexpected inspiration Hansen began to explore words that remind him of individuals. For instance how the word captain may remind you of the poem O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman or if you’re a bit braggy and someone says you should be more humble and you start internally rapping Kendrick Lamar’s Be Humble. Words make powerful sticky connections.
Taking this idea and turning it into artwork using a typewriter required meticulous planning. Each letter had to be laid out and accounted for. Hansen hopes that as we read haltingly through the picture (the words are separated by dots, not spaces) we think of the words in our lives that are paired with people.
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