I love posters. They catch your attention. They freeze a moment — an event, a time, an era. They are art, or can be. They convey useful information. Posters are the predecessor of newspapers, which began as handbills stuck on walls, and — encouraging to those of us who linger in the inky professions — they not only remain, but thrive in the electronic age.
|Atlas Stationers, 227 W. Lake St., Chicago, a cool, family-owned store,|
crammed with office supplies and neat stuff.
Undaunted, I contacted the mothership of poster printing: Hatch Show Print, of Nashville, Tennessee, a busy and growing letterpress shop that has been turning out posters, for circuses and country music acts and, now, a blog, continuously since 1879. They have an unrivaled collection of wooden type, some characters six feet tall. In November, I wrote this post about them, and commissioned Hatch to make my poster — after I endured the customary two-month waiting period, that is.
I sketched out the poster, and Hatch's Laura B. produced the poster at right from my design, printed on heavy stock paper. Working with her was pleasant beyond words. I'm biased, of course, but I find the result very handsome. Only 100 were made, and I've signed and numbered them, 1 through 100. Most I'm either giving to friends and supporters of the blog, or putting up around town, in simpatico places of business around Chicago, in the windows of friendly stores. Not only is it lovely art, I tell the at first skeptical proprietors, but if they put one up, I will photograph the poster and post the picture on the blog, where they will enjoy a blaze of publicity, and people will consider them hip. I'm thinking through the ethical/legal aspects of also plastering the posters in public spaces—that'll be a separate entry. What's the point of a poster if you don't cook up some wheat paste and slap it up on a brick wall, somewhere? The question is where. And I suppose "if" too. One must act morally.
When I announced my intentions last November, several readers signed up to buy the poster sight unseen —I have a list of their names, and will contact them individually. But I'm also offering a few for sale to the public for the quite reasonable price of $15, plus $6 shipping and handling (aka, postage and a sturdy mailing tube). I'm planning to sell 40 and then stop.
If you would like one, send a $21 check to me, Neil Steinberg, at 2000 Center Ave., Northbrook, IL, 60062. If you're in a different country, send an international money order and add and extra $5 — $26 total — for the international postage. Make sure to include your name and address. While I would never suggest that the poster's scarcity will make it valuable someday, well, stranger things have happened. When I'm dead and the things are selling on eBay for a thousand dollars a pop, you'll wish you had bought one now. And if they're never worth more than $15, or two bucks, or a dime—my hunch—it'll be something you'll enjoy looking at for quite some time, and remind you which blog you should consult on a daily basis.