Friday, October 17, 2008


I tend to write letters and make journal entries with my delightful manual typewriter, a virtually indestructible 1940's- era Royal Quiet Deluxe. I have been irresistibly drawn to old typewriters since I was a kid. At one point I owned 16 of them, but limited space and a practical wife encouraged me to sell off all but two. I kept the Royal because it is small, snazzy, a pleasure to write with, and an absolute workhorse. Also because it allows me the illusion of being in touch with literary history - the Quiet Deluxe model was also favored by Ernest Hemingway, Bernard Malamud, Richard Wright and Joan Didion.

I mention all this because of my exposure to the amazing typewriter sculptures of Jeremy Mayer. Mayer disassembles typewriters and then reassembles them into full-scale human and animal figures. He builds his figures using only the screws and pins that come from the machines - no solder, wire, welding, or glue. The results are extraordinary.

On his website Mayer writes "Typewriters...[have] always been intensely interesting to me. I think of the typewriter as a product of nature- it was designed by minds immersed in nature around them, and mimicked the curves, geometry, and physical processes abounding in nature. Though it is cold metal created by human hands, the typewriter is just as much a natural material as stone or wood."

He also notes, very much to his credit, that "I do not associate my work with the 'steampunk' aesthetic." Mayer is next scheduled to exhibit his works in summer 2009 at La Jolla, California's Device Gallery.

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