Jon Hinkel operates the Tight Squeek Press, an artistic step back in time on the second floor of a studio building on First Street. The space is filled with old presses, stacks of paper and the odds and ends that help Jon and the machines crank out his artwork.
J. H.: I’m called an artist-printmaker, creating relief prints on paper using letterpress equipment. For me anyway, my initial artist-end is pretty inseparable from my printmaking. I draw, but I can’t remember ever finishing a drawing. When a sketch I’m working on has gained a fair measure of strength and coherence, that stage of things is done weather it likes it or not. If it’s a worthy image, I’ll carve it into linoleum or engrave it into hard maple. Then to the pressroom!
I’m told that I started carving linoleum blocks when I was 10 or 12 years old. I’m 60 now. I owe an uncle of mine — a brilliant hobby printer — who not only got me started, but served as a continual inspiration. Later on, I was fortunate to work in commercial print shops and to attend university art classes.
For challenges … well, a drawing takes a while, and a bit of effort to get the lines right. Now, transfer the image to a block (you’re redoing the image all over again). Now, carve the block (you’re redoing the image all over again … again — but this time, the hard way). Not done yet! Lock the block up in a press; ink up; cut the stock and run-ups; proof the block; apply adjustments to the carved image, to the ink’s color and/or consistency, to the image’s placement on the page. Now run ’em! (Oh, five colors was it? Repeat most of the steps mentioned above … four more times.)The rewards of working this way, Ah, the finished relief print — there’s nothing like it! Looking aft, the original sketch now appears as something pale but promising in its time, like a dog-eared travel brochure. The final relief print? That’s the trip! And the edition provides for lots for sharing.
Right now, my work can be seen mostly at the shop. (128 W. First St., Suite B. Welcome!) Prints of mine do indeed crop up now and then in various exhibitions. The Art of Ubuntu exhibition, opening on April 28 at Zeitgeist Arts in Duluth will include a piece of mine. I do hope to have a website up and going by this summer, displaying pieces of my work.
Presently, I’ve got several long-term projects in the works — among them, texts-in-progress of mine, to feature my block prints as illustrations (yes, I’m an aspiring writer, too). In time, I hope to produce these in house as fine-press book editions.
Jon Hinkel, proprietor
The Tight Squeek Press
128 W. First St., Suite B
Duluth, Minnesota 55802
Leave a Comment
Only registered members can post a comment , Login / Register Here