Art comes in all forms. Read how a whim to try something out turned from a hobby to a passion. Meet Cristina Germano, the face behind dazed & lettered.

Cristina Germano

Instagram: @dazedandlettered

dazed & lettered | Ottawa, ON

What attracted you to the world of calligraphy?

I have always had a love for typography and design so I followed a million designers’ accounts on Instagram and saw some that featured calligraphy styles. From there, I knew I had to learn.

I think that – art – comes in many different forms. It’s not just about paintings in galleries. Hairdressers, fashion designers, makeup artists – it’s all art. I think to be great – you need to have a natural ability, but it takes a lot of practice, commitment, passion and dedication. You have such an amazing portfolio and you are self-taught, how did you do it!

Ah, thank you!! I would agree with you on those qualities. I’m extremely passionate about art in general and I just hope it shows in my work.

But I think it’s the passion that drives anyone into committing to practice and creating.

A lettering artist that I follow, Scotty Russell, says to “Show up every day.” I have to remind myself of that from time to time, and that not every piece I create will be exceptional. Showing up is so important!

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I read an article recently spotlighting Master Calligrapher Paul Antonio – who said.

“Calligraphy isn’t just about writing – it’s 80 per cent thinking and 20 per cent writing.”

Do you agree?

Definitely! It’s as he explains; you need to sit your behind on the edge of the chair, sit up straight, keep your arm/elbow close to the edge and light. You want your arm to be light so you can move it easily with each letter. Then you have to think about the letter shapes and where to apply pressure. That’s all part of the fun!

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What inspires you as an artist?

Interpretation and experimentation. And I don’t mean just with lettering/calligraphy. We all see various art forms differently and they mean something different to everyone too. I try to experiment with different mediums to try something new, keep myself learning, and never be too comfortable in what I’m doing. I’m clumsy by default, but at least with art I can fix it and turn it into something that looks nice.

When you are working – what do you do to get you into the zone? Do you work better in silence or do you listen to music?

Being in the zone is my favourite. It’s where I have the most focus. Music is another one of my passions and if I’m working, you’ll see me with my headphones on.

Music keeps me sane.

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I love the look of calligraphy – it is so unique – I think that it is why it has become so trendy. People want something that is one of a kind. When clients come to you for custom pieces, what is the collaboration process like?

Sometimes people will come to me with an idea, even an example of something they’ve seen elsewhere and ask if I can do something similar. Other than that, the collaboration process is liberal. Luckily, people understand that everyone has a different style and you’ll get the style of whoever you seek out. It’s super flattering when people approach me with their own projects.

I didn’t realize that there were so many different styles and categories of calligraphy – modern, traditional the list goes on. Which is your favorite?

I currently specialize in modern. However, I always mean to sit down and practice the traditional style, then I end up doing modern. Can’t help it! So I guess modern would be my favourite for now, but I do love drawing serifs and non-serifs too, I just need more practice.

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Since we are a lifestyle blog – here are some questions on fashion and beauty.
Do you have a daily beauty routine?

Oh God, on weekdays I barely have a beauty routine, it’s embarrassing actually. OK let me try: I use Loreal Voluminous mascara, MAC powder foundation in NC35 and I’m out the door. I’ve been using that mascara and foundation for probably 10 years. Oh, and I hoard lip balms.

I will say that on weekends and special occasions, I wear more makeup – I love a good dark lipstick, mild cat-eye, and smokey eye treatment. My go to lipstick right now is either the NYX liquid matte cream lipstick, or the Sephora brand liquid matte cream lipstick. Both stay on while eating and drinking wine.

How would you describe your personal style?

In one word: free. Most of the time, I buy sweaters and shirts too big for me on purpose. I like my tops to be loose and not constricting, and bottoms are either skinny jeans or leggings. In the summer, I love a good sack dress (what my friends and I call them at least; literally just throw it over my head and I’m dressed).

If money was no object – what designers would be in your dream closet?

I’m bad at this. I don’t have a favourite clothing designer! And, if money was no object, I’d be buying plane tickets.

What is your favorite way to pamper yourself?

Nordik, pedicures and massages. But also a new restaurant. I love food!

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If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?

I think Europe. I’ve only ever been to my dad’s hometown in southern Italy so I’m hoping to explore more of that area this summer. I would love to go back to South America. I love exploring so if it’s somewhere new, I’m happy.

I have a book of quotes – whenever I read a book or hear a line in a movie I like – I write it down. What is your favorite quote?

Ou! I do this too. E.E. Cummings, “Listen: there’s a hell of a good universe next door; let’s go.”