Calligraphy & Community: What I Learned As An Event Calligrapher At TIFF

I’ve always loved doing live event calligraphy. There’s something about being in a space, witnessing my work come to life, and performing custom calligraphy on-site in front of others - the whole process fills me with excitement and inspiration.

But there’s one thing that I took for granted until recently. And that’s the power of calligraphy to bring people together. 

Me, standing at the red carpet for this year’s #LOREALTIFF event at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.

Event Calligraphy at Toronto’s International Film Festival

It wasn’t that long ago that I was reaching out to businesses and PR agencies all over Toronto to pitch my calligraphy services

On-site calligraphy is a wonderful and thoughtful way to elevate any brand activation or promotional event. However, my pitches didn’t always get responses.

The event was a L’Oreal beauty brand activation at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The reception space was decorated in beautiful white and gold accents.

So when I received an email one day from the public relations team working with L’Oreal, I was surprised and definitely honoured. They had found me through my Instagram page and loved my work. 

They asked me to be a live calligrapher at their upcoming event at TIFF, and of course, I jumped at the opportunity.

I had the honour to perform live custom calligraphy on-site for VIP attendees at TIFF for L’Oreal Paris. 

When I arrived on the day of to Hotel X, dressed in an outfit of minimalist black, I felt excited. The reception area was transformed into a beautiful space, luxurious yet understated in an elegant way with white and gold accents filling the room.

I was there with three other female calligraphers. The L’Oreal PR team had searched high and low for the best event calligraphers they could find in Toronto, and I was honoured to have been among them. 

The cocktail reception at Hotel X in Toronto was transformed into a beautiful space with white and gold accents.

The PR team at L’Oreal searched high and low to find the best event calligraphers in Toronto. Here I am alongside the incredible ladies of Via Calligraphy, Roesseinart, and Megan Nicole Lettering.

Our role was to perform custom calligraphy on-site for VIP TIFF attendees. I hand lettered the names of daytime TV hosts in the Toronto scene, local celebrities, and famous personalities onto name tags. 

It was a fun day full of vibrant energy and TIFF glamour. 

But my favourite part of the day was the community. 

Growing Toronto’s Calligraphy Community

I loved getting to know my fellow calligraphers. It meant a lot to me to share the space with other women in my industry, some of whom I had been following on Instagram and known only by name. 

We spoke freely and comfortably, making each other feel at home. We also passed the day sharing about our journeys as calligraphers, what we’ve learned about business and life, and the experience of being female business owners and entrepreneurs. 

It made me think of community and competition, and what those two words really mean. In Toronto (or anywhere for that matter), there’s a misconception that it’s a crowded market. That if you’re a calligrapher, a woman, and especially a woman of colour, there’s only space for one of us. 

But that day at L’Oreal and TIFF was a reminder that this is far from true. After all, there was more than enough space for the four of us!

I had the honour to spend the day with talented ladies! We spent the day sharing our journeys as entrepreneurs, calligraphers, and business owners. From left to right: Roesseinart (@roesseinart), Via Calligraphy (@viacalligraphy), Megan Nicole Lettering (@megannicolelettering), and me (Jovie of @pinyaletters).

Reflecting On Three Years of Pinya Letters 

As Pinya Letters nears our third year birthday in December, I can’t help but reflect on the journey and how much I’ve grown as a calligrapher and an entrepreneur. 

It really wasn’t that long ago that my husband bought me my very first calligraphy class. I had picked up my calligraphy brush on a whim, curious about what I would create. Who would have thought that less than three years later, it would lead to me working with L’Oreal at TIFF and meeting local celebrities? 

I also can’t help but feel thankful for the Pinya Letters community and how much we’ve grown. After all, it’s only because of our Instagram community that this opportunity found me in the first place.

I’m thankful for the other women I’ve met throughout my journey, the events I’ve contributed to, and the brands I’ve had the honour to work with. 

I know that the future only has more wonderful things in store and lessons to learn. 

Looking For A Calligrapher For Your Next Event Or Brand Activation?

Pinya Letters is now booking for the holidays and I would love to work with you. From on-site custom calligraphy services to calligraphy art installations, I can help you elevate your next event and make it a meaningful experience. Click here to get in touch

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