Creative Characters interview with Eric Gill


Creative Characters interview: Eric Gill

Photo by Claire Loewenthal

Eric Gill has never been easy to pigeonhole: a socialist Catholic, a spiritually minded family man, a keen and active admirer of female and typographic curves alike. For many decades, Gill — a stonecarver, graphic artist, type designer and writer — has been one of the most fascinating figures on the British design scene (although, as he explains in his own inimitable style, he is not particularly fond of “design”). We are extremely proud to have struck up a dialogue with one of the great letter makers of the twentieth century. Meet Eric Gill, a man in love with letters and life.


4 Responses to “Creative Characters interview with Eric Gill”

  1. A sexual abuser of his own children and even his dog. I have never been able to look Gill’s eroticism in the face again since reading Fiona McCarthy’s biography. Even using Gills Sans (which I like) feels a bit like playing a Gary Glitter track at a party.

    • Yes I know, all true. However… I can still appreciate the typeface

      • Me too, hence my Gary Glitter analogy. Great party music – at least for a particular type of party at a particular point on the party timeline – but forever tainted with the moral turpitude of its creator.

        Maybe the softening effects of time will rehabilitate Glitter’s music before its pop disposability renders it completely redundant anyway.

        With the gloss of time, Caravaggio’s murder and Dadd’s patricide seem only to add to the mystique of the artists and their work (though Caravaggio’s brawling still seems violent and uncouth, whereas only the meanest spirits would attach any moral culpability to Dadd for his mental illness).

        It may also be worth considering whether great art is tainted less by the misdeeds of the artist than middling or mediocre art is. Perhaps there is a correlation, too, between the damage done and the relationship between the subject of the art and the nature of the sinning; As I said, Gill’s eroticism – which I used to regard highly – is forever dead to me; his fonts & calligraphy less so. Whilst ‘Do You Want To Be In My Gang’ may be rehabilitated some time in the future, nobody is likely to play ‘Gang Bang’ in a very long while.

        Describing Gill as a ‘spiritually minded family man’ begs a question or two, though.

  1. 1 Eric Gill | Typophile « Steffan Jones-Hughes

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