As a printmaker, if I could just as easily screenprint text, or even set type or make plates that would emboss text onto my images, why would I choose to use a typewriter?why drag around this heavy, old thing?
My work has to do with memory, and I tend to link certain places and times with events that I have experienced throughout my life. I got this 1959 Galaxie typewriter for $3 in Yankton, South Dakota, and it has become an important part of my studio routine. The sound of the keys, the physicality of the weight of each keystroke, and the smell of the ribbon of ink illicit specific memories from a time when it was a more commonplace item, not only for communication, but for storytelling. My grandmother in Ohio used a typewriter to write her narratives, sometimes plays or fictionalized stories, and during our summertime visits, I would sit near her, drawing with colored pencils at her desk. The use of a typewriter in my studio today, some 25 years later, unlocks those memories and takes me to a place of early creative practice.
The ability to feed a piece of printmaking paper through the rolls means that I can be incredibly flexible with the text, transcribing the words that I've either written, thought, or dreamed up from a space of nostalgia. I can duplicate words if I want to, as type is a repeatable matrix, but I don't have to constrain one memory to one print."Braided Beauty," intaglio, drypoint, type, chine collé, 2014
When a word or phrase calls for it, I don't hesitate to etch it - to literally scratch it into metal and make itself known. Sometimes the handwritten text is weightier than the cold separation of typed text.detail of "I Drew A Line in the Sand," intaglio, chine collé, 2013
It's fair to say that I have a love affair with things that are old and analog, thus the longstanding devotion to the art of printmaking. I believe the core of that love comes not only from a desire to create something by hand but also to share some small truths about being human.