Typewriter artist creates sensations with hidden messages

London-based artist James Cook uses typewriters to create masterful pieces.
Typewriter artist James Cook recreates view of Big Ben on site. Image is a hand holding up an image of Big Ben while looking down from a rooftop opposite the Palace of Westminster in London.

Think typewriters are just slow and outdated ancestors to the sleek modern keyboard? Well, think again because London-based artist James Cook has been using them to create mind-blowing artworks that make one appreciate the elegance and intricacy of this yesteryear invention.

Instead of holding a pencil, Cook constructs his drawings entirely from letters, each stamped on by the typewriter in genius arrangements that meld into lines, curves and shapes. In an interview on The Morning Show in 2020 Cook explained that the technique was something he discovered while studying art in college. It was previously used by US artist Paul Smith (1921-2007), who had severe cerebral palsy that restricted his mobility. Using the typewriter’s lettered foundation to advantage, Cook also includes hidden phrases and messages in the works, only discoverable to those with an eye keen enough to pick them up from the complex imagery.

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