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Inside a small car in a white-out snowstorm, somewhere on Route 14 from Chicago into Wisconsin, Miles Davis is blowing from the speakers: a loose, snaking, searching tune of ebbs and flows and magical interactions, open to possibilities. The driver, weary from his early morning white-knuckle ride, pulls over and listens. He hits repeat. As he gazes into the blizzard, a word takes shape in his mind, in letters bold and sculptural: ‘Masqualero’.
Years after Jim Ford finally made it home and sketched out the word for the first time, his magnum opus is with us. Masqualero is a tribute to Miles Davis in letterforms that are as enigmatic and complex as the so-called Prince of Darkness himself and the 1967 composition whose name they share. Cool, contradictory, still, restless, dark and flamboyant, illuminated by scintillating serifs and brilliant corners.
‘I approached drawing the letters as if they were marble sculptures,’ says Ford. ‘Many sharp, black, modern sculptures filling a large park … I was aiming for the highest level of detail, quality and sophistication that I could make, as if it really was for Miles.’ Masqualero, he adds, is ‘for the finer things. It dresses up words. It’s the black tuxedo or stiletto heel’.
Jim Ford is a visual artist and designer from Chicago. Jim works predominantly in type design, but includes custom lettering, art and illustration in his growing portfolio. He has designed custom typefaces for agencies, corporations, publishers, software and hard- ware manufacturers, video games, devices, you name it! In addition to customer-driven work, Jim also has a wealth of original typeface designs, ranging from traditional text faces to innovative display lettering.