Craig Malmrose

from our  September 4, 2014 Fountain AfterDark

[Fountain, NC] Fountain General Store is hosting “Letterpress Posters: Local Music and the Art of Craig Malmrose” through October.

The exhibit, presented in the store’s front gallery space, consists of 13 limited edition letterpress posters that Malmrose has produced to advertise musical attractions coming to Fountain General Store.

Until the 1960s, letter press posters were one of the primary means for advertising concerts and traveling shows such as circuses. “They’re a perfect complement to our store and business, ” said Alex Albright, Fountain General Store proprietor. “They fit with the age and style of the building as well as the type of bluegrass and country music entertainments we feature. Plus, they’re beautiful in and of themselves.”

Malmrose uses basically the same techniques for printing as those developed by Johannes Gutenberg for his first 15th century letterpress. For the Fountain shows, he produces about 50 3-color posters for each event, which requires that each poster be pulled through the press three different times. “All impressions are pulled by hand, one at a time,” he explained. After about 50 impressions, the quality degrades, which becomes a natural limit to the number finally printed.

Malmrose, a professor of graphic design in ECU’s School of Art and Design, is originally from the western New York community of Bemus Point, on Chautauqua Lake. His work has won numerous awards for excellence at local, regional, and national levels and has recently been featured in Print magazine.  He has degrees from the State University of New York and an MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he studied graphic design, typography, visual semiotics, and computer programming.

He is also the founder and owner of Trade Union Press, a private press facility in Ayden devoted to the preservation and practice of historical typographic methodology and fine printing.

For his work on the Fountain posters,  Malmrose uses wood type that’s between 60-80 years old.

A limited number of most of the posters Malmrose has produced for R.A. Fountain are on sale during this show. “We put them up around town,” Albright added, “but collectors get most of them pretty quickly.”