Introducing ScrantonMade Artist Matt Hiller of Revival Letterpress

Thursday, August 30, 2012
We are thrilled to introduce the first artist of the ScrantonMade community; letterpress artist and designer Matt Hiller of Revival Letterpress.
Photo Credit: Jason Riedmiller

What is letterpress printing?
Letterpress printing is old technology. Johannes Gutenberg and the 15th Century old. It's a method of relief printing where a raised surface is locked up in the press and inked. Paper is then pressed against the inked form. These days, we tend to take advantage of the mechanical and physical nature of letterpress to get a deep, sculptural impression that begs be to touched. This is often what grabs people when they see a letterpress print, and it's just not possible with digital or offset printing. Conversely, a light "kiss" impression like the old-timers used yields a nice weathered look with a lot of character and variation.

When did you start letterpress printing and why?
I started researching letterpress printing in 2009 - the design process, the printing process, how the presses work, etc., and I bought my first press in September 2011. I got into letterpress printing because I love the physical manifestations of skilled craftsmanship and old technology. The process is slow, fascinating, frustrating, and thoroughly enjoyable. The finished product is always unique and, if successful, a thing of beauty worth hanging onto (an antidote to the modern/throw-away culture).

I know you design posters for local bands as well, have you always been a graphic designer or into art? I’ve been professionally involved in graphic design and ‘ink-on-paper’ since 2006, and have always been into the visual arts, though, it took a bit of time for me to realize that I was specifically into design. It took even longer to figure out that it was something that I could do, but it has officially taken over my brain. I see typography (and type abuse) everywhere, perhaps to the dismay of those in my company. My desire for letterpress was perhaps born out of my desire to make things - actual physical things - with my hands, instead of just staring incessantly into a computer screen...

Aside from printing, do you have any other creative outlets?
When I’m not printing or designing, I play music as much as possible with local bands Coal Town Rounders and The Bog Swing Group.

Favorite artists/Inspiration?
Hatch Show Print, Studio on Fire, Yee Haw Industries, The Mandate Press, Clawhammer Press, Paul Rand, Reid Miles, Jan Tschichold, Paul Renner, Adrian Frutiger, Saul Bass, Aaron Draplin, Experimental Jetset, House Industries, Emigre, Ptarmak, Invisible Creature, Aesthetic Apparatus, DKNG Studios, Little Friends of Printmaking, sign painters, tattooers, and typographers everywhere. This is a list that has no end.

Constant. Time is a big one. Old, finicky machines are another. Sleep deprivation and the creative process...

Do you offer custom work and what types?
Most of the work I do is custom. While I do make prints and various paper products for myself, the main push is to providing bespoke printing services.

Do you have an eco-friendly collection?
Letterpress is innately eco-friendly. It’s a craft that generates little waste. Additionally, the majority of the work that I print appears on one of two kinds of eco-friendly paper. Either 100% recycled wood-pulp based paper (made in Michigan), or 100% cotton paper (tree-free, cotton by-product). I use these papers because they are beautiful and environmentally responsible. I save off-cuts and scraps for smaller jobs or personal projects. The press is vintage, and the cutter and type are antiques - “design life” here is reaching into the neighborhood of 100 years old.

Favorite piece you have created?
I don’t have favorites, by nature, but I am really pleased with a recent poster I did for a collaborative show of prints. It was printed on construction paper that was rescued from the Scranton School for the Deaf sale. The poster features a big linoleum cut of a hand with six fingers, and an assortment of hand-set type. It’s an interesting format, tall and skinny, and I very nearly maxed out the form on the bed of the press. It came up about an inch shy of the 24” maximum. Maybe it’s weird to be excited about that, but I was.
If you could create anything what would it be?
A self-sustaining design studio/letterpress printing house.

Do you have any events coming up?
Currently showing at Electric City Tattoo Gallery, 618-620 Spruce Street, Scranton. This will be up until the end of September 2012.

Follow Matt:

Revival Letterpress
Instagram - @revivalletterpress

Some of the Matt's favorite artists:
Hatch Show Print
Studio on Fire

Artist’s other creative outlets:
Coal Town Rounders
The Bog Swing Group

Artist’s Current Exhibit (runs through Sept 2012)
Electric City Tattoo Gallery

ScrantonMade Cityscape!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our amazing logo image designed by Samantha Nardelli Designs.  We could not be more thrilled with it.

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