James Jean's Kindling, Many Other Things

Monday, June 01, 2009, 10:38 AM

It's been a little quiet around the blog as of late. Okay, a lot quiet, six months of quiet, people emailing us to ask us if we're still in business quiet. Many things have conspired to keep us from making any noise, and most of them, I'm happy to report, are very good things. I'm finally allowed to share some news and there's so much to cover I hardly know where to start.

How about with our newest official release, "Kindling?"

We've had the honor and joy of working with James Jean before (also–did anyone see those Baby Tatooville nametags?), and so when Mr. Jean approached us with an image and proposal for a small edition, prints of which would go to both the Asian Art Musuem's permanent collection and a benefit auction by Hayao Miyazaki held at Pixar to save the Totoro Forest, we jumped at the chance.

James approaches the printmaking process with excitement and understanding. He knew exactly what he wanted and sent us a detailed proposal with the design, colors and printing processes all fully specified. It looked wonderful. And intimidating. It's safe to say that this print required the most precise registration we've ever attempted; it really pushed our use of hand-printing on 150-year old presses to a new level of exactitude.

With as much care as we could muster (think lots of bending over things with squinty eyes, loupes & micrometers), our first set of plates, with all of the wonkery of platemaking, hand-registration, wetting, drying, rewetting, and two runs through two separate presses, yielded prints in which the red image and the blue image consistently mismatched by about a sixty-fourth of an inch. Which is pretty gosh-darn good if you ask me: 1/64" is about the width of 4 human hairs. And it was very noticeable on every single test print! So we remade the red relief plate a 64th shorter and tried again, and sure enough things snapped a bit more into place.

We were hitting it within a 128th in any direction throughout the edition. As perfect as it gets in the imperfect world of hand-printing. The prints were then sent to James for a little hand-applied highlighting of the drops in white color pencil, and edition was complete.

  • James Jean: Kindling

  • Edition: 10, + 5 Artist's Proofs, 5 Printer's Proofs, and 1 Bon à tirer

  • Print Size: 11.875" x 9.5"

  • Intaglio and relief printed

  • Printed on Rives BFK printmaking paper

  • Hand-applied highlights in colored pencil by James Jean

  • Signed & numbered by the artist

Another reason for our silence: Brad keeps doing very cool things and then, no matter how much I bug him about it, never can get around to blogging about them. Like, say, going on a weeklong trip to Japan in conjunction with Mark Ryden's Snow Yak Show, or heading out to LA for a weekend to meet with Pressure Printing artists past, present and future. Or, say, designing Todd Schorr's new book, "American Surreal," to be released by Last Gasp in conjunction with Todd's museum retrospective later this month at the San Jose Museum of Art.

Hopefully I can get Brad to write a more in depth post about this (huge!) project and all of the work that went into it, but suffice to say that Todd Shorr blows my mind, from what I gather one couldn't ask for a better guy to work with, and the book was a complete labor of love.

In addition to these projects for Mr. Schorr and Mr. Jean, we've been doing quite a bit of work for none other than Mr. Mark Ryden. For one, there was the twelve-color screenprint, "Silence," which we produced with Mark for MOCA. That print really deserves it's own post so I'll spare you the details for now.

Also, we have taken on the production and sales operations of Porterhouse Fine Art Editions. This has of course been amazing and fantastic, but I'm not sure what else I'm allowed to divulge before a miniature Abraham Lincoln appears behind me and silences me with his third eye and his mind.

But wait! There's more! There are all kinds of print projects in the works, many of which are shaping up to be released in bunches during the latter half of this year. So–speaking of Todd Schorr–keep an eye out for this guy:

And prints by Ron English, Femke, Travis Louie, and who knows maybe another James Jean will all hopefully be hitting our virtual shelves before December. Maybe a COOP too? Time will tell.

In any case, get set for an print-and-blog-post-packed rest of the year.


Suzanne said...


Any idea how much the James Jean print will go for?



Sarah said...

wow. how cool must it be to see one's art letterpressed by such masters as yourselves? i'm pretty sure it's amazing.

Eric said...



the edition was completed a few months ago as more of a contract job and the 10 prints were sent to James, the Pixar show/auction, and the Asian Art Museum--unfortunately none of regular edition is or was ever available for public consumption. I know Brad does have a few printer's proofs that he's been getting alot of inquiries about and that he's wavering over whether to let go of them or not; shoot him an email at brad@pressureprinting.com to ask him about them.