Ink-Stained Life, a set on Flickr.
It may be easy to guess why I named my blog Ink-Stained Life. I’m a writer, after all, and as a result I often end up with ink all over my hands. (I still prefer to draft lengthy stories by hand. Somehow it helps me get away from my internal editor and just write.)
But it’s also a reflection of the ink that permeates my house. I fell in love with letterpress prints while in graduate school at Alabama. I lived on the same block as Kentuck Art Center, a fabulous little gallery that annually hosts the Kentuck Festival of the Arts in a park nearby. The gallery participated in Northport’s monthly art nights; the first Thursday of each month, galleries stay open late and offer incentives for patrons to come visit. (The event has since expanded to include Tuscaloosa galleries, as well.) Sometimes the incentives were food or drink. Sometimes they were art openings, frequently with the artist on hand. It was during one such event that I wandered down to the gallery and met Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.
I walked into Kentuck and was awestruck by a wall covered with Kennedy’s letterpress prints. Each was unique, and they were all priced at $10. “I can afford an original piece of art?” I thought to myself. As a grad student, that was a surprising idea indeed.
I spent a long time examining each poster, trying to select just the right one to take home. (Yes, they were $10, but I was still too cheap to buy more than one! Remember, I was living on student loans and dreaming of a future in the high-paid field of journalism.) I finally settled on a patchwork-like Good Coffee poster. Kennedy autographed the poster, and I returned home to tack it to the wall in my bedroom. And just like that, an addiction was born.
I’ve since framed that first purchase, and I’ve bought so many more, from Kennedy and others, that I don’t have space in my home or office to hang them all. (Nor do I have the budget to frame them all! the problem with letterpress posters is they’re frequently odd sizes and require custom frames, which means the frame usually costs much more than the artwork inside.) Because letterpress and other forms of printing are generally accessible art, I also have met and in some cases am friends with the artists whose work hangs throughout my home.
My life has become ink-stained in more ways than one. The words that decorate my walls are a constant reminder of beliefs I hold dear, hopes I hold close and people I adore.