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Chris Fritton’s Itinerant Printer Project Drives by The New York Times

By Harriet Staff


Artist Chris Fritton’s Itinerant Printer Project has made it to the pages of T: The New York Times Style Magazine. On the eve of his pop-up appearance at Drive By Press in Brooklyn, NYT writes: “One certainty has emerged: even in the Internet age, letterpress is far from dead.” More:

In the last half of the 19th century and in the early years of the 20th, back when printing was a trade, there was enough work to carve out a living for anyone with the skills and a union card almost anywhere in the U.S. — and some printers with a taste for travel found their work on the road. The peripatetic lives of these tramp printers, as they were known, are the inspiration for artist Chris Fritton’s crowdfunded Itinerant Printer Project. The campaign will take him to more than 100 letterpress shops across the country, creating postcards and prints to send his backers along the way. (So far he’s visited 67.)

“I was really fascinated with the idea of being this conduit of information,” says Fritton, 39, who has collaborated with artists like Richard Tuttle and the poet Carl Dennis, and designed posters for dozens of bands, including Deerhoof and the Wu-Tang Clan. Fritton, who left his job last winter as the studio director for the Western New York Book Arts Center in Buffalo, N.Y., has been crashing with a friend in Brooklyn where he is wrapping up a stint at the Arm Letterpress in Williamsburg. His work there, a series of neon-hued abstract prints, will be featured at a pop-up shop Jan. 29 at Drive By Press in Bed-Stuy, along with a sampling of the other printed ephemera he’s made during his journey.

“When Chris told me what he was doing I thought, ‘Wow, that’s awesome, bring it back to the 21st century,’” says Greg Nanney, the owner of Drive By Press, a commercial studio that began as a roving, educational venture operating out of a pickup truck. “I told him, ‘Come to Brooklyn.’”

In all, Fritton estimates that he will cover over 30,000 miles and make over 30,000 prints over the course of the project, using an assortment of vintage equipment, including antique wood type, metal type, cuts, ornaments and photopolymer plates. “Every shop has its own idiosyncratic collection,” he says. “I never know what I’ll find.”

Continue at The New York Times.

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Posted in Poetry News on Friday, January 29th, 2016 by Harriet Staff.