The Chromatic Typewriter

There is an old belief that if you can paint with a brush you can paint with words. Well, a new invention by artist Tyree Callahan gives the artsy adage literal meaning. Callahan reworked a 1937 Underwood Standard Typewriter, replacing the letters and keys with color pads and hued labels to create a functional painting device that the Washington-based artist calls the Chromatic Typewriter. The project was an entry in a 2012 arts contest. It is still a prototype and it will not likely be made for commercial sale, but it is an ingenious invention for anyone interested in abstract expressionism or colour theory.  Each color must be manually refilled after every painting and must be matched to the colours on the keys. Below is a photo of Callahan’s invention and four of the paintings that have been created using its keys.




by Andrew

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Sue Cross

Kandinsky had the idea that art could only be ‘explained’ within the creation of another work of art and so it would be interesting to see what emerged if a critic, who could touch-type wrote a critique of a previous painting and whether in the end they were more swayed by the colour and tone than the words. Thanks for posting this, it is a beautiful idea. All the best from Normandie, Sue

Beverly Nan Murphy

Absolutely brilliant. I have an original Underwood that belonged to my husband in
an honored place in my office, so these beautiful ideas have a doubly good meaning.’There is always something new under the sun.