The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art (SLOMA) will welcome another art teacher to its agenda: Master Calligrapher Victoria Johnson, who has done calligraphy for more than 20 years for clients such as Tim Burton and Vogue Magazine, is planning to teach her calligraphy skills at the SLOMA in the beginning of the upcoming year.

Victoria Johnson hopes to pass her calligraphy skills on to Cal Poly students getting ready to write wedding invitations through classes at the SLOMA. – Courtesy Photo

“I’ll start with italic then we can move onto other scripts,” Johnson said. “It’s the basic one that people should learn first. And I’d say it’s the easiest one to learn first.”

Johnson said she’s hoping she can start a buzz with Cal Poly students, especially students who are engaged to be married and wish to create and design their own wedding materials.

“I think about the women that are going to be getting married — how they could do their own wedding invitations,” Johnson said. “I think that would be a wonderful thing for them to create their own wedding invitations. They could do their place cards and announcements, it’s just endless what you can do with calligraphy.”

Johnson, whose business blossomed in Beverly Hills, California, more than 20 years ago, didn’t initially have her mind set on the business, but she was focused on being a mother to her then 4-year-old son.

“I wanted to be a stay at home mom,” Johnson said. “I took my son, moved to Beverly Hills, California, and I had been practicing calligraphy.”

Johnson said she’d always loved doing calligraphy, so she handed out samples and eventually developed a successful business.

“I wanted to be a stay at home mom so badly,” Johnson said. “But I handed out 1,000 business cards, and I was able to create a fantastic business in Beverly Hills and raise my son.”

Sure enough, her business, Inkwell Calligraphy, has garnered clients such as Dustin Hoffman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Ralph Lauren and the Disney Channel. Since Johnson moved away from Los Angeles, she said she’s been able to keep a few clients while she builds up her most recent endeavor — a greeting card business.

“It’s not what it used to be because of the economy and computers,” Johnson said. “And I’m working more on my greeting card business. So I just do a few clients that I’ve kept over the years like Cartier and Chanel.”

Now residing in Cayucos, Johnson’s greeting cards can be found in 12 stores with her 22 different cards, which include original poems and artwork. And, like her calligraphy, the cards are all hand-drawn with a pen, nib and inkbottle.

Although her name is not fully recognized in town just yet, students seem interested in the prospects of the class. Architecture junior Matt Shara said he enjoys exploring his own handwriting and is interested in taking the class to enhance his school projects.

“I think that whenever you write something, whether it’s for your own notes or a card, or have writing adjacent to a project, not only does your content influence someone, but also how the handwriting is written,” Shara said. “That also influences their perception. So I’d be interested in taking the class, and I’m sure she could expand my interest in my handwriting.”

Art and design junior Ariel Rosso agreed and said calligraphy is an important part of being an artist.

“I’m an art major and graphic design and calligraphy is an important skill to have,” Rosso said. “Especially a master renowned calligrapher like her — I definitely would go.”

Rosso said she knows other art and design majors would be interested in learning from Johnson as well.

“I know a lot of art majors would really benefit form that and really like it,” she said. “It’s really exciting to hear that in San Luis for someone to do that. It’s important as another artist to go to as many things as you can and experience that kind of stuff. And I know that AIGA — the graphic design professional association — has a Cal Poly chapter and I definitely think that if she did do this, they could play a huge part in collaborating with her and getting students to come.”

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