Arts

Celestine Gonzales ’21 Shares Calligraphy Online

COURTESY OF CELESTINE GONZALES

“Higher, Further, Faster” is Captain Marvel’s slogan. As a fan of Marvel Comics, Celestine Gonzales ’21 often uses superheros for artistic inspiration. Actress Brie Larson, who plays Captain Marvel, once liked one of Gonzales’ art posts on social media.


Using her calligraphy pens, Celestine Gonzales ’21 writes careful loop-de-loops in black, accentuating the letters with pops of color before posting the final creation on her Instagram account, @celestineletters. In a recent post, the words “I’ll be there for you” from the theme song of “Friends” were centered in a yellow, hand-drawn frame over a purple background. White streaks frame the letters on both sides as ornamentation.

The instagram account started at the suggestion of Gonzales’ friend, Kedai Wei ’21. According to Gonzales, she uses it as a way to map her progress, share her calligraphy, and store all her drawings. Additionally, Gonzales has a RedBubble page where she sells sticker prints of her work.

Wei said, “I think calligraphy brings out [Gonzales’] artistic side… Calligraphy gives her a sense of purpose that she is able to do something that she really wants to do without judgment. It is something that makes her really happy.”

Gonzales began learning calligraphy in eighth grade. According to Gonzales, she had always enjoyed writing in cursive and wanted to explore other styles of writing, and after discovering calligraphy, she was drawn by its practicality and widespread use.

“[Professional calligraphers] make designs for different murals, gyms, menus for restaurants or cafes, or inspirational quotes on walls, and that is what I thought was so cool about calligraphy- the fact that you can see it everywhere on such a large scale,” said Gonzales.

For Gonzales, calligraphy is a way to relieve stress. Throughout the day, she brings her pens with her to class and draws whenever she has spare time.

“Calligraphy is very therapeutic for me. I write anything, [such as] words that I hear or read, in my notebook. I sometimes write the same word over and over again if it’s stuck in my head. I also write lyrics, and it’s so therapeutic for me to get everything out,” said Gonzales.

Gonzales incorporates her various passions, including her love of Marvel movies, into her calligraphy. In one drawing, she used Captain America’s catchphrase “I Can Do This All Day,” using different shadows, gradients, and fonts for each separate word. In another, she explored what Peter Parker’s yearbook would look like in Spider-Man.

“I imagined what it would be like if all the people in Peter Parker’s school signed a yearbook. I thought about what their different handwritings would look like based on how they act in the movie, or what their personalities are like. I tried to imagine how and what they would write in a yearbook,” said Gonzales.

Actress Brie Larson, who plays Captain Marvel, recognized Gonzales’ work on social media. One post from Gonzales’ account displays the words “Higher, Further, Faster” in reference to a quote from Captain Marvel, filled in with a red, blue, and gold pattern.

“Sometimes I’ll tweet at celebrities and they’ll like it. It’s mostly [celebrities that] notices. I wrote a quote from one of Brie Larson’s movies in calligraphy and put it on Twitter and she liked it. There are some independent artists that I’ll tweet and they’ll retweet them or comment about how cool they are,” said Gonzales.

New techniques and styles continue to appear in Gonzales’ work. During a summer trip to Venice, she discovered a glass dip pen in one of the shops, adding a new element to her calligraphy.

“[Calligraphy] is something that is so consistent and easy. It’s always just right there for me. Whenever I feel stressed, as soon as I feel anxious, I pick up the pen and write. In a way, I feel like I’ve been doing calligraphy my whole life,” said Gonzales.