For Rajiv Surendra, the handwriting is on the wall … or chalkboard … or paper. The Toronto actor (Mean Girls) turned pen and chalk artist honours the old blue-collar trade of sign painting with Letters In Ink, a calligraphy service that elevates even the simplest of messages into a masterpiece of elegant flourishes and exquisite script. Self-taught after coming across old letters penned in the mid-1800s, Surendra works freehand, even on large wall installations, meticulously replicating vintage fonts including Copperplate and Spencerian Script.
The artist’s chalk work appears on restaurants and retail blackboards throughout Toronto and New York where he splits his time. He also helps companies liven up business pitch storyboards, or theme chalks an office wall. Event work includes pen-and-ink invitation design and hand-addressed envelope lettering, along with on-site signage and live interactive installations. “Technology just can’t replicate the power that handwritten script gives to words,” notes Surendra.