Church of Type from Two Dollars Please on Vimeo.
I wrestled Jesus for a snake once and lost .. he took the snake.
The only reason I moved to LA was for the traffic..
Nah, all kiddin’ aside, I was ready to pick up and lay some roots on the west coast and see what that’s about ‘cos I had a big dose of Tennessee, I’d lived it, I’d loved it and ready just to reinvent..
I came out here for a summer .. made some art .. got some sunshine on me and fell in love with it and I thought the universe just kinda sent me here, so here I am.
Y’know, I’m on the backside down here man, I call it the golden ghetto, and there’s still a little bit of flavor and craziness back on the west side of Santa Monica which I like.. some mom an’ pop stuff goin’ down..
I like bein’, y’know, in the middle of it yet on the side of it .. I haven’t advertised, no-one knows I’m here except for the sign on the door, so people are discovering me just as I’m discovering LA and it’s really been laid-back and cool that way, and this has given me a little island, y’know, in the wilderness here .. my little spot on Pico, an’ it’s kinda magic in that way..
Printing is essential to all education, all the other arts rely on it, religious movements depend on it. Hand compositors usually set the large type, called display-line used in advertisements and other printed matter. Hand composition offers opportunities for artistic expression. Compositors who have the ability to create original ideas are highly paid craftsmen. The work requires manual dexterity, good eyesight and thoroughness.
Our language, our structures, worldwide, it’s all based on communicating thoughts and ideas, an’ you start breakin’ it down .. you get down to the letter form .. and then y’know you break that down a million ways and you get a million styles of it all .. and so for me, y’know, once I got into letter press, it had to.. you physically have to have the type, you have to have the font, and there’s so many thousands and thousands of ’em created in the course of two or three hundred years here .. y’know in the 17, 1800’s most of it was made that’s in use today.
Those guys were my heroes and they were doin’ it by hand, they were engraving it into copper matrixes and pouring the lead moulds so .. it’s, y’know, you go back to the monks and the illuminated manuscripts, spending their lives, devoting their lives to spreading the word so to speak, y’know, but anyway once they were able to reproduce edition work it changed the world, and if you look, y’know, at the list of the hundred most important inventions of all time, Gutenberg’s Press, it’s right up there at no.1, so a lot of it is tied to the history which I really love that, but it’s also tied to the present and the now, and even though I’m usin’ the old stuff, I’m makin’ new stuff.
Having a shop where people can come in and see the action going on, y’know, I think that’s a really important thing, and bein’ able to produce just custom things and beautiful things for people … that’s a big part of it.
But the word, the word y’know it’s somethin’ man and the type .. you just … it’s so beautiful, it’s got it’s own history, it’s all carved into wood an’ it’s got dents and dings an’ imperfections and it prints crazily, but it’s pure, and that’s what I love about it .. it’s just really pure.
I was able to find a freedom and a voice, my own voice through a handmade approach to it, and I’ve always tried to make graphic design into art, make it more than what it, y’know, is or wants to be .. into something that it can be, an’ I think that’s been a good philosophy for me. But it’s been back-breaking work and there’s just no shortcut to it.
Of course, I have a mackintosh .. I can’t even get into my email, what an ordeal, fuckin’ thing, I have a hate – hate relationship with the computer .. always have .. it’s the reason I went lo-tech in graphic design, I did not, I didn’t like it and it didn’t like me. I’ve always just wanted to try an’ have fun makin’ art ..and as hard as that is .. it’s really hard .. let’s see now, it’s a goddamn serious business .. it just is .. it’s brutal!