Sheets of colour

Artist Tyree Callahan's Chromatic Typewriter "types" paintings, with the machine's keys as different colours.

Artist Tyree Callahan was working in his Washington studio when he had the idea to add some text to a watercolour. He thought to use the old Olivetti typewriter he had laying around.

It was while doing this the idea for the Chromatic Typewriter struck him. The Chromatic Typewriter has the letters on the word processing machines replaced with different colours. So instead of composing a letter using words, the Chromatic Typewriter allows you to make paintings using different colours.

Taking it further, Callahan transformed a 1937 Underwood Standard typewriter into a “painting maker” by first cleaning the nicotine tar that had manifested on the keys of the typewriter over the years.

The colours that Callahan chose for the Chromatic Typewriter are from an HTML colour palette that is available online. He also modified the space bar so that it can be used to create “negative space” in a painting.

The works produced by the Chromatic Typewriter will probably not be of world-class variety but it sure sounds like a lot of fun to do.