*notcot in design , 18:30

Prints Gone Wild- 11.12.06

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NY Corespondent, Sanam Petri, checked out Prints Gone Wild last week ~

I walked by the show three times before I realized I was passing it. And even then, I only stopped because of the strange tire bubble thing sitting on the roof.

Ten print shops, about three dozen Brooklynites milling around this strange Chinese auto warehouse. The show was set up so that nothing was priced over $50; it made for a haggle-free, let’s-celebrate-the-dying-art-of-handmade-print sort of vibe. Printmakers from all over the country, selling everything from turn-of-the-century woodblocks to abstract lithographs. It was a lot of fun… Lots of pictures and more continued below.

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The diversity and creativity behind all the printmakers was amazing, but there were two shops that really stood out: The Isle of Printing from Nashville, TN and the guys at Drive-By Press. Bryce Mcloud, head artisan of the Isle of Printing, first opened the shop to “help preserve the practice of letterpress printing and incorporate it into the modern world.” A lofty goal, perhaps, but he does it well. His designs are a cheeky mix of retro/modern typefaces, figures, and caricatures.

There’s something really satisfying about each one of his prints; they’re all just a little beveled from the woodblock, and smell faintly of fresh paint. As you can see here, a print from his poster for Gillian Welch has found a happy home in my living room. (If you can’t catch Bryce while he’s out on tour, the IoP site has lots of reasonably priced prints, each one hand-signed by the printmaker.)

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The Drive-By Press guys, Greg Nanny and Joseph Velasquez, have made it their mission to democratize the art of printmaking. For a small donation ($1+), they’ll let you choose a print and teach you how to pull it yourself. They said the sexy Hello Kitty is in high demand, but the skeleton in the space suit had me at Hello. They fitted me with my very own rubber gloves, and off I went.

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The process of pulling a print, even one operating out of the back of a station wagon, is more involved than I expected. People who do this for a living, by the way, have massive upper-arm strength; cranking that wheel all day is ridiculous. But these two guys have made a life out of traveling around and teaching the art of printmaking; and they’ve got a serious passion for it. Not to mention some serious talent.

And a few more fun pics i couldn’t resist (Sanam sent so many amazing ones, had to pick and choose a little, but only a little!)

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2 Notes

does anyone have a link to this exhibit? the links in this article are bunk… theres no info…

----- drazin 13.11.06 12:12

Wow, what a find. I’m a huge fan of almost all kinds of block prints but some of these are particularly amazing. Thanks for finding this and sharing an underappreciated art form with the rest of us.

----- Colin 12.11.06 21:43

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