Graphic Designer and Artist Phawnda Moore of Rocklin
● By David Norby
After graduating from UC Davis’ graphic design program, Phawnda Moore created special projects for clients in corporate health care, food commissions and publishing. Holding communication positions at the Placer County Office of Education and California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the artist has since been recognized nationally three times for her work as a designer and editor. Since 2010, Moore has taught calligraphy and mixed media at the Crocker Art Museum, Art League of Lincoln, University Art, Mendocino Art Center, Sacramento Fine Arts Center, local libraries, and in her Rocklin studio. She’ll be conducting classes in brush lettering at the Art League of Lincoln this month (details on facebook.com/calligraphyanddesignbyphawnda , and at the Mendocino Art Center next April. She also publishes free online tutorials twice monthly on emptyeasel.com Inspired by beauty, as well as connection, change, travel, nature and hope, Moore seems to effortlessly express these elements through her flawless, sensational script.
HLB: How did you learn and what attracted you to calligraphy?
PM: I watched an art history professor, Jim Lewis, draw beautiful letters in chalk, and a light went on. That was 40 years ago, but it seems like yesterday. Since then, my artistic pilgrimage has led to studying with master calligraphers and painters, and to share my skills with others. In art there’s always something new to learn, explore and pass on; the journey lasts a lifetime.
HLB: What were you like as a young artist?
PM: My grandma persuaded me to enter a supermarket art contest at age 14. I was thrilled to win the grand prize—a turquoise transistor radio. Turquoise is still my favorite color.
HLB: What inspires you?
PM: Classical lettering with watercolor and rhythm; texture tools; splashing colors and shapes around. Someone once said, “Everything on the page should speak to each other,” which defines strong design and is always part of my art and teaching.
HLB: What can students expect from your classes?
PM: Most of my students have retired from the business world and now want to keep journals, make personalized gifts, or send beautiful correspondence. I teach lettering—with a historical foundation—and design for their projects. They use modern tools, try new stuff from my studio, and see the process of creating. I encourage personal style for both poets and rock stars. Workshops are sometimes held in my Rocklin studio, and students are served morning tea and a gourmet lunch. I’m told it’s a “spa-like experience.”
HLB: What do you love about your community?
PM: My students! I’ve been designing my own holiday cards for decades and have hand addressed about 200, one to every student I meet each year.
HLB: Are there other mediums you’re drawn to, or anything you’d like to explore in the future?
PM: Watercolor, pastel, graphite, rubber stamps and stencils. After editing and designing 13 books for other authors, I’m in the process of writing my own book—a complete guide to lettering. I’m aiming for it to be published later this year—copies can be reserved now.