After graduating I no longer had access to proper facilities, so I had figure out how to print without a real press. My “studio” was a plastic fold out table I covered with a sheet, a large piece of plexi, a broken mirror for ink, and my car as the press.
I designed a jig to hold my plates in place; the front lip is sloped so that the whole jig doesn’t shift when I run over it and the plates were locked in with bits of furniture similar to letterpress printing.
Everything had to be printed wet since I had no real control over how much pressure was applied, printing dry resulted in poorly inked images.
One of the hardest parts was finding the balance between how wet the paper was and how many blankets were between the plate and the tire. Images either didn’t get enough pressure or would show tire tracks.
Eventually the best balance was relatively damp paper that had soaked for about 8-10 min, newsprint, an old pillowcase, the remnants of a quilt, and a folded towel. The towel on top was really important because it absorbed the tire’s treads and did a better job of keeping those marks out of the prints.
Figuring out how many times to run over the plate took time as well. I ended up doing four passes for monotypes and six for collagraphs, but it really varied from print to print. I also set up my plates under my front driver’s side tire because that’s the heaviest part of my car.
Once I moved a plate there was no chance of running over the same print again because it was impossible to line back up with where the treads of the tires had already hit.
The prints to the left are collagraphs and the ones on the right are monotypes. The collagraph to the far left is an example of more prominent tire marks. I eventually stopped doing collagraphs with the car because in order to get the kind of pressure they required I had to either print really damp or use very few blankets, which both result in tire marks.
5 3/4” x 3 5/8” x 5/8”
Visitations features letterpress printed text and monotypes executed using my car as a press. It is a small variable edition of two and is a drumleaf binding with a break away spine.
This book was the end result of all my experiments with using the car as a press. It explores ideas of loss and the melancholic aftermath of grief. The book progresses from expressive mark making and dark grays to static imagery and muted yellows tones.