In this month's FOUND we get to know a man of all trades, Luke Graves, founder of Nashville letterpress company, the Type-High Club. Read on as we talk shop and discover the fine art of letterpress, how he got his start, where he's going, and the inspirational influence of Joe Pesci's rap career.
What's the story behind your name?
Around three years ago, I began printing under the name Type-High Club, which is simply a play on the standard height of printable type and the colloquial term for airplane sexy-time. It stuck and so I ran with it.
How did you get started?
I started working retail at Hatch Show Print in Nashville in 2014. A few short weeks later, I was enrolling in courses for Middle Tennessee State University’s Letterpress and Book Arts program, applying for a production internship at Hatch, and acquiring my first press – a Golding Pearl Old Style No. 3.
Letterpress is a centuries old process of relief printing that literally involves pressing moveable type, usually metal or wood, into paper with ink in between.
What’s your mission?
Really, I just want to continue to help push the medium forward while preserving its history and honoring those people and processes that have come before. And if someone gets something out of it and learns a thing or two along the way, all the better!
What’s your background in letterpress?
I was introduced to letterpress printing during my junior year of college. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to apprentice in MTSU’s Letterpress and Book Arts studio, intern on the presses of Hatch, work alongside the talented hearts and hands at Isle of Printing, and get to know the names and faces behind a helping heap of print shops across the country.
I’m not the most religious person, but there’s definitely something spiritual about the process. The feel of the paper, the smell of the ink, the rhythm. It’s the perfect marriage of art and meditation.
Do you have any events coming up?
Nothing is set in stone at the moment, but I’m always looking to meet and collaborate with other artists doing exciting things in the community.
How long have you been printing and making art with letterpress?
I’ve been printing in some form or another since 2014, having wrangled Vandercooks, Miehles, Platen presses, rogue Risograph machines, and even a laser cutter, or two, in that time.
Where do you see the Type-High Club next?
Given the proper time and resources, I’d love to see the Type-High Club grow to serve hobbyists and fine artists alike whom have a passion for all things printing via an editable online resource in addition to a welcoming physical space in which to create.
Where are you from?
The Danger Zone east of the Pacific Ocean, west of London, England, south of Mars, and north of Hell - Or the greater Nashville area.
What are your favorite mediums to work with?
Apart from letterpress, I’ve recently been exploring the wild and wooly world of Risography and dabbling in various audiovisual experiments.
Describe your creative process.
My creative process typically involves scrolling through Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram for hours on end and falling into various Wikipedia holes on such topics as Joe Pesci’s rap career, or the rules of snooker, until a dumb thing in my brain finally demands to be released, usually in the form of a bad pun.
Who or what inspires you?
Family, friends, technology, social media, Kanye West, public art, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Taylor Swift remixes.
Where can we find your work?
I can be found on Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, Soundcloud, LinkedIn, PlayStation Network, Bandcamp, YouTube, and Peach.
Are you working on anything now?
I can’t really talk specifics at the moment, but exciting happenings from the Type-High Club are on the horizon, so keep yer peepers peeled!
Where are your favorite places to hang?
You can usually catch me enjoying a Federale at Duke’s, taking in a show downtown, or on my couch watching Seinfeld re-runs until I pass out. All three on a particularly good night.
All photos and work by Luke Graves of the Type-High Club in Nashville, TN.
FOUND is a monthly series by Original Fuzz Magazine. We aim to discover visual artists from every corner of the world, no matter the background or creative vision. We believe that all art is as important to our culture as music, words, news, science, even religion. FOUND celebrates the visual and those who create it, serving as a platform for the creative pioneers who embody Original Fuzz and our products.
FOUND is brought to you by Liz Earle, a freelance writer and purveyor of curiosity and imagination in the arts.