In an age when even penmanship is becoming a lost art, Bernard Maisner, a master calligrapher, upholds the time honored standards of the venerable art of fine craftsmanship in a field of creativity that commands the talent of an inspired artist. Maisner’s skill and talent identifies his work as a virtuoso artist who has made his style of custom calligraphy recognizable worldwide. He is a modern day visionary and his distinctive execution of personalized calligraphy is synonymous with luxury and the most celebrated social events and high-end occasions. In a recent presentation of the Artisan Lecture Series at the (GMST) General Society of Tradesmen and Craftsmen Maisner beguiled the audience with the vast scope of his distinguished career, his expertise on social calligraphy, as well as his retail line of fine stationery. In his calligraphy Maisner brings his talent as a contemporary artist to all aspects of calligraphy. His works which have been exhibit in museum nationwide attest to his multifaceted talent.
CUSTOM STYLE Maisner says that calligraphy has the potential to be alive in a way that typesetting can never be. His elaborately embellished letters, invitations and envelopes turn something ordinary like a plain piece of paper into a work of mesmerizing beauty. His masterful script is a combination of Spencerian and Copperplate writing with intricate flourishes and letterforms. As I watched his demonstration at the GMST lecture he mentioned that the calligraphy pens needed to warm up before being used, but after a few minutes he dipped the nip of pen into the ink pot and as he drew a guest’s name dramatic flourishes filled the page. In 2000, Maisner began his foray in social calligraphy, creating elaborately embellished styles. On display at the GMST were samples of custom designed wedding, anniversary and epic birthday invitations, menus, party and event announcements, placecards and personal stationery—all enhanced with the flourishes of the master calligrapher
COMMERCIAL SUCCESS Maisner is sought after by major corporations that commission him to give their name or message a unique identification. If you ever looked at out-of-ordinary calligraphied advertising, logos, slogans, books, retail advertisements and even CDs you may not have realized that these were Maisner-specific creations. On another interesting note, Maisner is also sort after for his ability to create lifelike re-creations of historical writings done for fictional characters in motion pictures; writing as Daniel Day Lewis’ hand in Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence. He puts a great deal of research into jobs were historical accuracy is imperative. As a result of his film work he has become a member of SAG, the Screen Actors Guild and frequently works for the movie industry writing live-on-camera and creating written document props. Case in point: He wrote on camera for a documentary film about the Oswald/Kennedy assassination.
BECOMING A CALLIGRAPHER Maisner says that he was self-taught and his fascination with lettering began when he made signs for rock bands. “I had a lot of lettering practice in high school and was even asked to create a certificate. I used Gothic lettering. My father saw it and thought that it was good and the next day he came home with calligraphy model books, pens, paper and inks. He encouraged me to practice every day.” Maisner was on his fledgling way towards segueing into calligraphy and later attended the art school at Cooper Union in New York. His teacher Don Kunz was impressed that he had never met someone who had done so much on his own. Obviously with such praise, Maisner was impressed with himself and thought that he knew it all. Kunz put him in the right direction in “beginner calligraphy,” which retrained his eye and hand properly.
Maisner honed his skills over the years and is now regarded as a prominent scholar and expert in the art of Medieval and Renaissance manuscript gold illumination techniques and has lectured at prominent museums and galleries. His works have appeared on Martha Stewart Living and in New York magazine as well as other major magazines and the Wall Street Journal as the definitive expect on social calligraphy. Visit Bernard Maisner Studio at bernardmaisner.com
For more information about the GSMT Artisan Lecture Series, held at 20 West 44th Street contact the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen at 212.840.1840, ext 2. Or email the program director Karin Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org Visit www.generalsociety.org.