Sunday, September 20, 2009

Roadworks: Steamroller Printing Street Fair

Roadworks: Steamroller Printing Street Fair
San Francisco Center for the Book
Sat Sep 19 12pm-5pm

This block party sponsored by the San Francisco Center for the Book is an irresistible photo op.

Roadworks Steamroller Prints
First, carved linoleum blocks are inked & laid in the street. Paper is carefully placed over the blocks, then heavy blankets.

Roadworks Steamroller Prints
A 2-ton steamroller is driven over the blocks twice, imprinting the paper.

Roadworks Steamroller Prints
The finished images are revealed to the crowd, often to a round of applause. One old lady was so delighted with the process that she actually jumped up & down as an image was about to be revealed. The images were contributed by a variety of artists. One large image, about 4 feet square, of a bear reading in a library, was especially popular with the crowd.

I enjoyed encountering the friendly vendors in the small print & book arts fair. They made me think I might enjoy taking up book binding as hobby. Ginger Burrell patiently & enthusiastically gave me a tour of her hand-made books incorporating a diversity of unexpected media, such as tiny LCD screens or the pockets from blue jeans. Listening to the fog horn noises on the CD included with her photographs of fog-shrouded landscapes really put me into the pictures. It is also good to know that there exists in my neighborhood M & H Type, a good old-fashioned type foundry.

I was very glad to meet Aaron Cohick, whose painstakingly manufactured art books I recently saw at Zine Fest. I mentioned the rather negative tone of the panel I saw recently about the demise of the book, & he had a wonderful response. In his view, "Digital is doing for the book what photography did for painting. It's setting the book free."


Megan Payne said...

That's awesome! I thought steamrollers like that are simply used for road construction projects. It's amazing that those tiles will produce an image when it is driven by that steamroller. Congratulations to everyone who made this project. You guys have unique artistic taste.

Axel Feldheim said...

Artists are good at finding new uses for things! This is an annual event, so you should check it out next year. It's impressive to see the large images the steamroller can print.