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This one-of-a-kind poster was designed and letterpress printed by Amos Kennedy. The text on this poster sayings “Go Green! Eat Okra!” communicates the annual Okra Festival held in Burkville, Alabama. Started as a small community event to celebrate the only crop that survived an unusually hot summer in 2000, the event has grown to an annual event highlighting the summer season. This is just one of the many posters Kennedy has made advertising cultural events in the rural South.
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.