Don’t Miss This – Bruce Licher, founder of Independent Project Press (Bishop, CA) will be our keynote speaker and guest for the 2017 Print Week. If you’re a letterpress printer, a lover of anything analog, or interested in graphic design, music, or DIY culture you’ve got to sign up for Print Week. Here’s a bit more about Bruce and just a few reasons why…
Musician, artist & designer Bruce Licher founded Independent Project Press after learning the art of letterpress printing at the Women’s Graphic Center in downtown Los Angeles at the beginning of 1982. His initial projects centered around creating album covers, postcards and promotional stamps for his band Savage Republic. It didn’t take long before he was producing work for other L.A. underground music groups, along with a growing number of clients in the Los Angeles design community. In addition to packaging and releasing music on his own record label (Independent Project Records), his other music-related projects have included work for clients ranging from R.E.M. to Harold Budd to Stereolab. Independent Project Press also produces elegant and creative business stationery, invitations, wine labels, promotional stamp sheets and booklets, and numerous other pieces of letterpress-printed ephemera for clients large and small. Licher was nominated twice for a Grammy Award for his album packaging, and has been credited with starting the trend in letterpress-printed CD and record packaging using industrial-style chipboard. Since early 2015 Licher has been working with the LA-based artist Shepard Fairey, handling the print work for all of Fairey’s Obey Giant letterpress print editions. Bruce Licher’s graphic design and letterpress work has been featured in two major design exhibitions at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City, and has also been exhibited in California, Arizona, and Paris, France. After 17 years living and working in Sedona, Arizona, Licher and his artist wife Karen relocated Independent Project Press to the small Eastern Sierra town of Bishop, California, where they currently reside.
Rudy Vanderlans, in his introduction to Emigre magazine #16, 1990 writes: “Vernacular styles cannot be taught in the traditional sense. They are born out of a direct need or out of a particular way of working that is often indigenous to a certain trade. Bruce Licher’s work is a case in point. His gritty letterpress style evolved from the need to package his records. He bought a second-hand letterpress, learned how to print, and in the process, created a highly personal approach to graphic design.”
Peter Gilstrap, writing in the Phoenix New Times about Bruce’s work, has said: “What Bruce Licher creates at Independent Project Press rides the line between “art” and “product.” The relatively small batches of album sleeves, postcards, stamps and other memorabilia that he produces are meticulously crafted, and are fed into the presses by hand, piece by piece. His combinations – austere photographic images, disparate mixes of Dada-esque typefaces, postage-stamp visions swathed in gold, silver and blood red – are instantly distinctive. Created inside Licher’s design ethos, something as potentially mundane as a business card emerges as a haunting work that seems antiquated yet vibrant and contemporary.”
Check out the Print Week schedule to find out more about Bruce’s talk. Sign up for his workshop, and join us at the banquet to hear more.