If you haven't heard of Hatch Show Print in Nashville, Tennessee, it's about time that you do. This working letterpress is steeped in the traditions of yesteryear and, through good old-fashioned hard work and craftsmanship, keeps producing fantastic posters for the music biz's biggest names. Here's what Hatch curator and designer Jim Sherraden had to say about his home away from home.
Q. Why is Hatch Show Print relevant today?
A. One of the many things that isn't lost on me when speaking to some of the tens of thousands of people visiting us each year is that each person perceives Hatch differently, each one of them would answer that same question differently, which is why Hatch is relevant at all. From a graphic designer's standpoint, Hatch is relevant because we've survived all the changes in printing technology to become the antithesis of contemporary digital design. Here at the shop, the printer is the designer, and the designer is the printer. All our work is done by hand.
And then for a history buff, we're relevant because Hatch is living history. We keep ink on the blocks and dust off their backs. We're in constant production. If one is a music fan, then Hatch is relevant because the music comes alive, either past or present, when viewing a Hatch poster. From the standpoint of a University graphics or printmaking teacher, Hatch is relevant because we teach through our extensive intern program and host several presentations and workshops every year. From the standpoint of a typography student, we're relevant because we demonstrate daily how type is set and how posters are designed and printed.
Q. Hatch has had some pretty famous clients. Had any memorable dealings with famous folks?
A. I'm always quick to point out that we're surrounded by legends every day in this shop, in the shape of their names on posters or their images on photoplates. This place keeps one humble because so many careers have risen and fallen in the years they've been Hatch customers. I'm also proud of the people who feel they can stop by and say hello, show their friends around and be proud as Nashvillians of the heritage of Hatch. Recent guests have included Norah Jones, Gillian Welch, John Prine, Joaquim Phoenix, Chris Isaak, the band Weezer and my dog Rudy. He's famous with the cats--famous for chasing them.
Q. What's your favorite poster in the collection and why?
A. My favorite poster in the collection is, and always will be, the last one we printed before we lock the door and go home because it means that Hatch is still printing, still in business, still relevant in the twenty-first century.
American Letterpress: The Art of Hatch Show Print is a new exhibition by SITES and will begin its national tour later this year.