Penland letterpress instructor Bryan Baker was the subject of a nice feature on the New York Times culture blog on September 6. The Times has commissioned a series of artists–including Bryan–to create original works interpreting the paper’s iconic “T” logo. Bryan has been working for several years on a series of images made by creating layouts of casino dice in the bed of a Vandercook press and printing directly from them. There’s almost no limit to the number of ways you can arrange a grid of dice, and Bryan uses them to create subtle and clever compositions. For the Times prints, he carved the “T” as a linoleum block and printed it over several different dice patterns.
Among other things, the blog post by Naomi Reis says this:
“I love the physicality of letterpress printing — it is a very sculptural process, as you more or less have to ‘build’ what you print from,” Baker said. “It’s a blast to be working in this day and age and not be bound to the digital landscape. My main tools are lead, wood, linoleum, ink, paper, saws and knives.” His prints remind us that off the digital grid, there’s magic to be found in the everyday: that through the gamble of trial and error, basic analog tools can create things that are once utterly simple and utterly beguiling.
You see Bryan’s five “T” prints and read the post here. (Be sure to click on “full screen.”)
Bryan’s website is here.