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This one-of-a-kind poster was designed and letterpress printed by Amos Kennedy. With the quote “All Artists are Political”, Kenndy highlights the words of folk singer/songwriter and activist Si Kahn from his 2011 award acceptance speech at Folk Alliance International. Kahn spoke, “But all artists are political, whether we mean to be or not. If in your art you are silent about the challenging issues of our time, you have by your silence taken a political stand.”
Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.’s life took a sharp turn after he saw a vintage printing press in action while visiting Colonial Williamsburg. That chance encounter inspired him to change the course of his career, studying and eventually becoming a master letterpress printer.
Unlike so-called “fine printers” who have chosen to embrace letterpress as a precious form of high art, Kennedy’s work doubles down on the democratic and of-the-moment nature of printing. There’s an excitement and urgency present in each piece, resulting in posters that are just as informative as they are visually delightful.
He is best known for his intense use of layering, stacking phrases and words on top of each other until they are abstracted, almost hidden. He deftly mixes wood and metal type alongside handmade pressure prints, linoleum cuts, carved designs, and laser-cut imagery. Visual jokes are plentiful.
The Letterpress Posters of Amos Kennedy (October 8, 2020–January 3, 2021) is the inaugural exhibition of Poster House’s series installed in the entry gallery of the Museum.