Rajiv Surendra Letters in Ink

If you have received your March issue of House Beautiful, you have no doubt noticed the amazing artwork of Rajiv Surendra. On the first page of the well (the editorial section of the magazine) is Garrow Kedigian‘s fantastical writing room, embellished (in chalk!) by the amazing artistry of Rajiv Surendra, below. And be sure to see the rest of Kedigian’s handsome Montreal abode – it proves the seductive power of a dark palette.

Rajiv Surendra chalk room at Garrow Kedigian, photo Paul Raesidephoto Paul Raeside

I have had Rajiv’s work on a long list of potential posts for a couple of years and this article offered the impetus to push him to the top. If he looks familiar, below, it might be because he starred as Kevin G., the rapping mathlete in the 2004 classic Mean Girls. He may not have found his calling as a rapper, a mathlete (he had to drop out of calculus) or even an actor, but he did as an artist/calligrapher.

Raji chalkboards for Sangan's Meat Locker

From chalkboard designs for restaurants such as Sanagan’s Meat Locker in his home town of Toronto, above, or Moor restaurant in Orlando, Florida below,

Rajiv Surendra lettering

to elegant custom monograms (his own below), Rajiv has established himself as a maestro of the written word – hence his business’ name, Letters in Ink, although clearly chalk is a medium he has mastered as well.

Rajiv Surendra monogram

Working on a 19th century rosewood lapdesk, below, which sits on an antique cherry and birds eye maple table, his calligraphy is all executed the old fashioned way with wooden pen-holders with metal nibs.

photo David Cooper of Rajiv Surendra calligraphyphoto David Cooper

Rajiv is a self-professed throw back, a lover of the past who studied art history in college and even created a sidewalk love note to his favorite composer, Giuseppe Verdi, on his birthday near Verdi Square on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Rajiv Surendra chalk art

There is no doubt that, in this era of technological anonymity, an appreciation for craft and the art of bespoke has surging appeal and Rajiv Surendra is riding the wave. What a marvelous surprise it would be to open the mailbox and among the bills and junk mail have such a letter greet you – with the charming dichotomy of Victorian lettering and a whimsical assortment of stamps.

Rajiv Surendra calligraphy

Anyone would be proud to send out a wedding announcement with such flair and finery

Rajiv Surendra wedding invites

or have a keepsake of wedding vows spelled out for eternity.

Rajiv Surendra wedding vows

If you were hosting a special dinner or festive occasion, custom calligraphy sets the tone

Rajiv Surendra calligraphy

And for those who need their first impressions to be remarkable, consider a business card like Rajiv’s below. Working with Smythson, his original art was made into a hand-engraved copper plate from which these stunning oversized cards were printed in gold ink on Nile blue stock with 23kt gold hand-gilded edges.

Rajiv Surendra Smythson stationery

Rajiv Surendra Smythson stationery 1

Even for more playful moments, Raji’s work enhances the occasion like the Valentine’s cootie catcher below.

Valentine's cootie catcher

So while not all of us can contemplate a Rajiv Surendra decorated room, it’s worth considering those moments in life when nothing less than hand crafted letters in ink will do.

rajiv surendra

all photos courtesy of Rajiv Surendra

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10 Responses to Rajiv Surendra Letters in Ink

  1. For me, this was the most delightful discovery that I have found chez vous for quite some time. Merci, Stacey!

  2. Sara coax says:

    I agree! Lovely work in chalk and print. Thank you!

  3. Jeannine Eitel says:

    Stunning!! He is retaining this almost lost art. He is a master of it!

  4. franki says:

    The BEST!!! franki

  5. Such a beautiful hand – it is wonderful to see a forgotten art revived!

  6. Eric Paris says:

    I am always hoping to receive an letter in the mail with such a gorgeous handwriting.

  7. What artistry!.. and long lost…thank you for this beautiful informative spread, Stacey …inspiring me to take an occasional break from my digital stylus!

  8. So much beauty. I’m speechless. The loss of beautiful penmanship in this moment of social media wasted time is tragic. Thanks. Mary

  9. SUCH BEAUTIFUL WORK BUT SEEING THE WALL DONE IN CHALK I WONDER IF SOMEONE COULD BRUSH AGAINST AND ERASE AND RUIN IT?
    I RECENTLY READ THAT THERE IS TALK OF NO LONGER TEACHING CURSIVE WRITING IN AMERICAN SCHOOLS….TO ME THAT WOULD BE TRAGIC.

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