Hello, World!

Besides a brief travel blog, I’ve never lengthily shared my thoughts and experiences on the internet. Perhaps for the better, as there are already so many people who have so many things to say.

But once in a while, I have a thought that gives me a little tingly feeling. This tingly feeling indicates that this is a good thought, a clever thought, a useful thought even.
And why not share these thoughts? After all, we are social beings, and sharing our thoughts can benefit both the sharee and the sharor.

For anybody who doesn’t know me, and I will assume that is most people reading this, let me briefly talk about myself.
At the time of writing, I am twenty four, Dutch by nationality, and have been living in New Orleans since 2013. New Orleans is a colorful town, in which I find myself able to do whatever I want, whenever I want to. In exchange for this, I deal with poorly maintained infrastructure, rough summers, and a lack of decent grocery stores.

I enjoy consuming many things, including but not limited to food, visual art, film & television, music, alcohol, drugs, and so forth.
This isn’t relevant, as nobody is defined so much by their consuming as by their creating.
The latter I aim to do on a regular basis, as it brings me great joy. Letters, particularly, are something I get a kick out of bringing into this world.

Why letters? I have yet to find a definitive answer in my mind or soul to this question. I’ve had an interest in drawing for as long as I remember, an interest in architecture since I hit puberty, yet the lettering arts remained completely unexciting until I legally entered adulthood at eighteen. I remember walking down a street in Nashville, a place I hit up during my travels, and seeing a rather mundane tattoo shop sign. Instead of ignoring it like I did the thousands of signs I had seen in my life prior, I paid attention to the shapes of the letters. Tuscan serifs, I now know.
At the time, it seemed insignificant, but now, six years later, I realize this sign opened the door of typographic arts a slight crack. Just enough for me to want to peek through.

The next decisive moment came when I met a lady in New Orleans who’s house I stayed at for a few weeks. She had practiced copperplate calligraphy for a while and showed me some basics. Although I naturally sucked at it, learning that there are rules and reasons behind the way letterforms look, made my interest explode. This was architecture on a personal scale!

On a side note, the lady who showed me the basics of calligraphy is now my wife.

And so here I am, my knowledge and skill of letter form and history exponentially expanded, but still hungry to learn more. I see progress, which motivates me. I also see that I have a long road to travel to be where I want to be, and I don’t foresee myself reaching the end of said road at any point in life. Such is the lament of the craftsman: there is no such thing as mastery, only improvement on a former self.


Matthijs Herzberg