Varoom 41: Word Activism

In this excerpt from Varoom 41, themed on No Narrative, Tristan Manco explains how Tano Veron’s typographic works stand out in today’s visually saturated society.

Describing himself as a ‘Word Activist’, Veron uses text to spread ideas in the form of short epigrammatic slogans, using stencilled or wood-type printed posters and murals influenced by the local cumbiera letter-press aesthetic.

This style typically uses bold black letters printed over bands of bright tropical colours blended together on the printing press. Veron works directly with different printshops and his own workshop to produce posters in this traditional way, but to achieve the effect at larger scale he creates his own stencilled versions of these distinctive typefaces. Colourful and direct, his street messages are designed to make people reflect in a positive way.

Veron’s texts are not telling a story, instead they have an instructional quality as though they are providing official public information, with authoritative and sometimes prohibitive language. Their formality is of course a disguise, a diversionary tactic intended to alter our mindsets; we recognise in them the tone of officialdom, but contained within Veron’s messages are the seeds of rebellion. The subversive intention is to encourage you to question the visible and invisible rules of society and to challenge yourself.

Tano Veron features in Tristan Manco’s book – Stencil Graffiti Handbook published by Thames and Hudson in 2020

To see more of Word Activism purchase Varoom 41

9th April 2021

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