Just my type

Round & About

Keira Rathbone

Chiswick artist Keira Rathbone owns 40 typewriters; but she doesn’t use them to put together modern art installations, she creates unique prints by using them the traditional way…she types

From pet portraiture to prints of Putney Bridge, Keira Rathbone’s art has captured plenty of attention – she’s even appeared on The One Show and national radio.

Keira Rathbone travelling and working

So how did Keira discover she could create artwork using a simple typewriter?

“I was at art school in Bristol and I saw someone typing at a typewriter in our studios,” she says. “It reminded me that I had previously purchased a little orange portable one for £5 from a charity shop and I made a note to dig it out when I was next at my parents house.”

At home with the typewriter, Keira’s words dried up: “But I just typed anyway, repeatedly hitting the same characters, actually avoiding creating words. I felt set free and started to enjoy fashioning the distinctive shapes and textures, how they look sitting next to each other or overlapping, experimenting with soft and hard keystrokes.”

Landscapes, city scenes, even celebrities have all been Keira’s subjects, but why not just use a pen or pencil?

Putney Bridge by Keira Rathbone typewriter artist
Putney Bridge by Keira Rathbone typewriter artist

“I like the typewriter because of its simple mechanism, she replies. “I stand a slight chance of being able to fix its minor problems. I’m not really into makes and models, as long as they work well and I can fit them in my pannier, suitcase, rucksack or under the buggy, ready for when inspiration strikes.” Keira doesn’t even sketch her subject first: “I don’t really want to know how an impression will turn out before I start, other than a vague composition.”

If you want to know more about Keira’s art and perhaps commission her, there’s more information on her website at www.keirarathbone.com