Letterpress printing is the same concept as Johannes Gutenberg's printing 'wine-press' - press the paper onto the inked letters, and after nearly 600 years, still leaves a superior impression to most other methods. The Bicycle Typograms are pressed from magnesium plates (modern), and the Interjections are composed from battered antique wooden type (note the cracks, grain and other artifacts when you view full size).
Print...print...print. The Bicycle Typogram is printed. Card, flood, print, pull, dry. Each impression represents a unique moment in time. Registration E tabs, press micro-adjustments, stencil-restricted ink deposits, attempts to make each moment an exact replica - the tick tock of a perfect clock. But perfection is not easily reproduced.
They are stupid awesome, if you're into that sort of thing, and you are, right?
Print-making is alive in Los Angeles at Grow Your Own Media, where a peaceful garden and botanic nursery surround a professional community screen-printing studio. Tomas Staub, creator of this gem, offers classes in the ways of the art, and makes the studio available on a per-project basis. Printing is unpredictable, but if you do catch a great wave of ink, you can ride it all the way to the end here.
Color... color... color... some live and some die for a color. Will you cry out for a color, at least open your eyes to these colors? Think now, will you buy now that color... color... color?
Printed upon the infamous acid-free 100% cotton Rising Stonehenge archival paper, made in the USA. Rising makes museum boards, so the print and matting will get along for years to come. Stonehenge paper is the real deal, and has those chaotic deckled edges that turn multi-color registration into zen archery.
Today the storm brings high waves, and the water is blended with pearl copper pigment. The rain adds humidity to the mix, slowing the pace, revealing more color. The smooth, uncoated, Classic Crest paper, provides a steady backdrop with it's natural color.
Every print on this run is a perfect print. This one rests at the paper print station in front of the drying rack of the growing Grow Your Own Media, where there's empty space, time to spare, an ink-mixing station, a roomy dark-room, a backlit wash-out sink, and a lounge. Fine art.
Printing can be messy. I wear an apron. Even still, the wet ink gets on my fingers, and my fingers touch the paper. The paper touches the print bed, and the print bed touches the other paper…
A bicycle frame in a screen frame, printing art to be framed. You click - or - tap to let the print get closer to you. Then back away. Made with quality components, it's time-tested and true.
Yes – multi-color. The soft white paper is indelibly perverted with an eye-popping triad of fluorescent orange, fluorescent blue, and fluorescent green racing ink, reflecting wavelengths of light impossible to capture in photography. 100% rag, chromatically run over by 3 blazing fluorescent inks.
On the edge of a precipice, travels your squeegee, herding a wave of liquid ink past photo-hardened polymer and tape into dry wood pulp. When chaos is your partner on the human-powered hydrodynamic press, the clock melts into a continuum, & forces free from friction flow fluid fantastically.
Deckled-edge Stonehenge paper is 100% cotton, you can feel it. The print sits comfortably upon it's surface.
The value of gold, is in your mind. Will you eat, though bold, that fluorescent orange? Can you stop time, with a fresh color green... of lubricants licking the bearings of the machine?
Mini... mini... miniature... Letterpressed miniature prints are type-high. The first spoils from a foray into the realm of pressed letters. Known in the art as broadsides, these are a little less broad, so they are mini prints here, all crisply pressed with the best non-toxic rubber inks on Fabriano Medioevalis cards. Fabriano has been making paper like this in the same mills in Italy since the early Middle Ages!
You can get lost in a color like this. Lost in the length of the waves.
Smiles all around as the last print is made and nearly all impressions are pulled off with absolute perfection. A numbered edition of 80 is declared, and the prints are left to dry in the setting California sun. Time to clean the tools, eat a burrito, and pose with signed artist proofs for the print studio.
3… 3… 3… The Bicycle Typogram is now printed in 3 colors. A limited edition of 33 prints, hand pulled by me, Aaron Kuehn, as museum quality art specifically for custom framing (to protect the delicate chemistry from the ravages of our harsh planet, and make the formal viewing experience more profound). This edition is unspeakably HOT.