Today at the Book Art and Letterpress Lab at the University of Arizona we met Chris Fritton, who travels as “The Itinerant Printer” across America throughout this year, visiting letterpress printshops in about every state. Chris sees his mission not only as an adventure in printing (he uses only the collection of type, cuts and plates of the places he is visiting to keep all on-the-road-prints individual) but also in connecting people, sharing information and capturing the spirit of the analog revival.
This was a very nice and inspiring meeting, so be sure to visit your local printshop when he’s around. Of course there’s lots of beautiful print souvenirs to get for fair prices too.
Right now the route leads him through the Southwest, going up the West coast next – just check the route on his website.
One of the highlights of our recent trip to Los Angeles was visiting Kevin Bradley in his Church of Type at Pico Blvd in Santa Monica, not far from the ocean.
We had seen the documentation about his letterpress paradise some time ago on Vimeo (see the clip below) and Kevin spend more than an hour showing us around his studio, explaining the whole process of his work in detail and let us sniff around everywhere.His work covers the studio from the bottom of the wall to the ceilings, and one doesn’t really know if this place is a store, a museum or a working place – in fact it’s all of that.
Kevin’s huge collection of wood and metal type may be one of the biggest in use today, and for us it was very impressive to open a few of all these numerous drawers and to explore all the beautiful typesets, hand-carved woodblocks and the weird collection of metal plates with wrestling images.. This place is just full of so much history.
The results of Kevin’s work are for sale in the frontspace of his studio (and on Etsy too, see link below), and there’s a lot. If you are into typography, letterpress or print making do not miss his holy chapel of type.
Ok, this entry is considerably overdue: it was during research for the first Desert Dust Cinema film festival in Lobo/Texas (2011) that I first watched the “Demonstration Reel” by Sculpture – an “opto-musical agglomerate”, as they call themselves. Londoners Dan Hayhurst and Reuben Sutherland mix do-it-yourself techno with animated collages, experimenting with psychedelic picture discs, reel to reel tape recorders, samplers, Effectron & Walkman and comic strips – as someone said: “a charmingly surreal and hypnotic cut & paste show”.
A perfect combination of contemporary media, clearly inspired by sounds and visions of the past. These clips show only the tip of the iceberg – go to see the live shows and take a first row seat if Sculpture are around.
In december 2011 Sculpture took their portable laboratory to the saasfee pavillon in Frankfurt, here’s a short clip with live recorded sound that in no way can sum up the flickery, dreamy, chaotic, hypnotical, hyperactive, charming and magic show.
All releases are great, but try to find the 12″ picture vinyls on the Dekorder label with the zoetropic images for having your own little Sculpture show at home (sold out at Dekorder, but try Discogs).