|Photo Credit: Jason Riedmiller|
What is letterpress printing?
Letterpress printing is old technology. Johannes Gutenberg and the 15th Century old. It’s a method of relief printing where a raised surface is locked up in the press and inked. Paper is then pressed against the inked form. These days, we tend to take advantage of the mechanical and physical nature of letterpress to get a deep, sculptural impression that begs be to touched. This is often what grabs people when they see a letterpress print, and it’s just not possible with digital or offset printing. Conversely, a light “kiss” impression like the old-timers used yields a nice weathered look with a lot of character and variation.
When did you start letterpress printing and why?
I started researching letterpress printing in 2009 – the design process, the printing process, how the presses work, etc., and I bought my first press in September 2011. I got into letterpress printing because I love the physical manifestations of skilled craftsmanship and old technology. The process is slow, fascinating, frustrating, and thoroughly enjoyable. The finished product is always unique and, if successful, a thing of beauty worth hanging onto (an antidote to the modern/throw-away culture).
I know you design posters for local bands as well, have you always been a graphic designer or into art? I’ve been professionally involved in graphic design and ‘ink-on-paper’ since 2006, and have always been into the visual arts, though, it took a bit of time for me to realize that I was specifically into design. It took even longer to figure out that it was something that I could do, but it has officially taken over my brain. I see typography (and type abuse) everywhere, perhaps to the dismay of those in my company. My desire for letterpress was perhaps born out of my desire to make things – actual physical things – with my hands, instead of just staring incessantly into a computer screen…
Aside from printing, do you have any other creative outlets?
When I’m not printing or designing, I play music as much as possible with local bands Coal Town Rounders and The Bog Swing Group.
Hatch Show Print, Studio on Fire, Yee Haw Industries, The Mandate Press, Clawhammer Press, Paul Rand, Reid Miles, Jan Tschichold, Paul Renner, Adrian Frutiger, Saul Bass, Aaron Draplin, Experimental Jetset, House Industries, Emigre, Ptarmak, Invisible Creature, Aesthetic Apparatus, DKNG Studios, Little Friends of Printmaking, sign painters, tattooers, and typographers everywhere. This is a list that has no end.
Constant. Time is a big one. Old, finicky machines are another. Sleep deprivation and the creative process…
Do you offer custom work and what types?
Most of the work I do is custom. While I do make prints and various paper products for myself, the main push is to providing bespoke printing services.
I don’t have favorites, by nature, but I am really pleased with a recent poster I did for a collaborative show of prints. It was printed on construction paper that was rescued from the Scranton School for the Deaf sale. The poster features a big linoleum cut of a hand with six fingers, and an assortment of hand-set type. It’s an interesting format, tall and skinny, and I very nearly maxed out the form on the bed of the press. It came up about an inch shy of the 24” maximum. Maybe it’s weird to be excited about that, but I was.
If you could create anything what would it be?
A self-sustaining design studio/letterpress printing house.
Do you have any events coming up?
Currently showing at Electric City Tattoo Gallery, 618-620 Spruce Street, Scranton. This will be up until the end of September 2012.