Hello and welcome to Week 12 of #HOMwork!
This week, we have a special guest assignment from typographic illustrator & animator Joseph Alessio. Based in San Francisco, he & his talent with type have racked up an impressive roster of clients, like Target, Airbnb, and Google. Check out more of his work here and sign up for his lettering class on Skillshare here!
Joseph and I met for the first time in San Francisco last year but had been internet pals for many years prior. I couldn’t be more honored to have him join us for a week of HOMwork!
The place could be a city you’ve visited, a place you’ve lived, a specific landmark—or something as broad as a country or state! The composition could be based on the place’s name, a nickname for a city, or a phrase or quote about that place (e.g. “Georgia on my mind”). You could even make it in the style of a tourism poster or a souvenir postcard. When you post your #HOMwork on Instagram, be sure to tell the story behind your piece in the caption of your shot—why is this place personally significant, and what has its impact been on you?
When you create your composition, be sure that it reflects the place it is about, or the personal story behind your piece. Lettering can be very emotive—just as we use language to express nuanced feelings or descriptions, creating language through typography and lettering is a fun opportunity to make those feelings or impressions into an image.
Is your place about spending a romantic week in Paris? You could try a flourishing, expressive style.
A rust belt city in America’s Midwest? Go with an industrial vibe.
Express it in the letterforms, the medium, the colors—since I often like to work with tactile media, I chose flower petals arranged in a bright gradient to reflect the colors in SF’s architecture and the amazing sunsets that we get, at least when it isn’t foggy.
For my place, I chose the San Francisco Bay Area! A couple of years ago I was living in Denver when I took a chance and abruptly moved out to the Bay. Moving on its own was crazy—I was in 3 car accidents in 3 different states in a 3 week timespan around the move (none my fault, thankfully), my landlord refused to return my deposit, the moving truck had engine trouble in the middle of nowhere, and someone smashed in the car window the day after I got to Oakland—which I feel is some sort of bay area rite of passage. You know those times when it feels like everything that could possibly go wrong is happening? It was miserable, and some tears were definitely shed.
But over time, the magic of the bay area grew on me—SF’s soft pastels stair-stepping up and down hills to the edge of the continent, Oakland’s grit and graffiti and sunshine, Berkeley’s rolling hills. San Francisco has a colorful and complicated history. The romanticized city of poets and artists, of flower power and Stonewall, a counterculture icon—and also the home of skyrocketing rent, culture clashes and enormous wealth disparity. Steinbeck wrote presciently in 1958, “San Francisco is a golden handcuff with the key thrown away.” But amidst all the problems this place has, I’ve grown immensely, personally and professionally, since moving, and have had the happiest times of my life here. The diversity, the cultural milieu, the outdoors—there are so many things to love about the bay area.
To borrow another glass-half-full quote, as Frank Lloyd Wright said, “San Francisco is the only city I can think of that can survive all the things you people are doing to it and still look beautiful.” It’s been a bit of a love-hate relationship, but I think I’m in love with you, SF Bae!
Make sure to tag both me @alessio_joseph and Lauren @homsweethom in your post, too. We’ll both be featuring our favorite pieces in our Story all week!
Joseph and Lauren