“Hushed Writing” (Grafía Callada) is a fascinating work created by Pepe Gimeno, an artist, typographer, and graphic designer from Valencia, Spain. Composed entirely by scraps and trash that Gimeno found on Mediterranean beaches, the project explores how raw, natural materials can be incorporated into a modern graphic context. He arranges an eclectic mix of seaweed, shells, glass, plastic, fishing nets, and driftwood into the structure of a book.
Pepe Gimeno began “Hushed Writing” in 2001. Gimeno was invited to take part in an art exhibition just as he was preparing to go on vacation by the beach. These unique circumstances shaped the materials he chose to work with and the strategy for his project. Without access to his usual tools and technology, Gimeno began to collect and arrange the objects he stumbled across while taking walks along the beach. In scattered trash, he discovered texture. In broken objects, he saw a story. From this point, Gimeno set out to create visual interest using scrap materials. He was careful to keep the objects in their natural state - never painting or cutting what he would find. He envisioned a work of contemporary visual culture applied to primitive methods and materials.
“Hushed Writing” is at the intersection of art, editorial design, and literature. Each page of the book is crafted to transmit a poetic message and to establish a narrative without a single word. From digital code, sheet music, maps, and hieroglyphics, Gimeno draws inspiration from different sources of communication and symbolic representation. He incorporates titles, chapters, headlines, typefaces, and many of the traditional elements of a book, except the use of the classic alphabet or typography. By creating a book that can only be “read” graphically, Gimeno pushes the boundaries and separates the notions of form and content. In his own words, “A book is something more than a sum of pages filled with text. A book is also a sequence of planes, of surfaces, on which the printed areas, whether text or image, are composed and arranged, taking on their own values and constructing their own language.”
Pepe Gimeno worked as a graphic designer for several advertising agencies in Spain before setting up his own studio in 1986. His studio specializes in everything from branding, typography, packaging, signage, and publications. Pepe Gimeno is known for creating his own font - the “FF Pepe” typeface - and for designing the official Tourism Symbol of the city of Valencia alongside his studio team. “Hushed Writing” is one of Gimeno’s most innovative projects - the first out of a series of works Gimeno has made out of residual materials.
“Hushed Writing” is displayed both as an artistic exhibition of over 50 stunning original pieces (56” x 40”) and as a physical book envisioned by the artist. The work has been showcased at the Type Directors Club in New York in 2015, the Instituto Cervantes in Chicago, and the Spanish Cultural Center for Latin American Cooperation in Miami in 2016.