Conveyor hosts an online journal with posts featuring conversations with artists, bookmakers, and small publishers, including artists who publish other artists as part of their practice. You are all of those things, so I thought it would be interesting to talk to you. Yeah, yeah. I guess I am.
How did you get started as a publisher? It’s funny. My dad's side of the family has run a printing and publishing company for over a hundred years. I went to the factory a lot as a kid. I still vividly remember the paper dust on the machines and all the smells. I used to draw on paper from the cut-off bin, that’s even how I made valentines. In high school, I worked there during the summers, doing the different tasks from stuffing envelopes to working in the binderies. I didn’t like doing that work then, I thought it was terrible.
What changed? I worked there again after college. I had to move back home to Pennsylvania for a little while and was running my family’s digital center. That's when I decided to start a publishing house. I thought it was cool that I had access to all kinds of equipment. At MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) there was an emphasis on both collaboration and using the materials available to you. With those things in mind, I started asking friends what projects we could work on together with the resources I had available.
So you started a printing and publishing project within your family's facility? Yes and no. I would print in their facilities on third shift, using the presses to print flat sheets. Then I would take those back to my studio and do a lot of the bindery work by hand. I had some equipment there of my own, like paper cutters and letterpresses, but a lot of the work I did by hand.
What made you decide to do all your own work by hand? It was a combination of factors. Part of it is that I’m a bit of a control freak and I learned through the years, from just doing it over and over again, how to get it right. I also wouldn't have been able to afford running that business had I not been doing all of the labor myself. So it made sense to me financially, too.