Let’s See That Printed: Isle of Dogs by AJ Masthay

As soon as AJ Masthay’s “Isle of Dogs” print passed through our platemaking department, we had to know more. Discover as we catch up with AJ of Masthay Studio, and this sneak peek. Find out what is the inspiration for this ultra-detailed piece… and where can you enjoy this piece.

The piece was created for an upcoming Isle of Dogs group exhibition hosted by SpokeArt NYC at the Parasol Project, 213 Bowery, NYC. From their Facebook event page:

“Spoke Art is pleased to present the Isle of Dogs Art Show. This is an officially licensed art exhibition tribute to Wes Anderson’s most recent film. The dynamic group show features over one hundred artists, painters, sculptors and print makers, debuting one weekend only in New York City’s Lower East Side.

Isle of Dogs Wes Anderson AJ Masthay letterpress print

Isle of Dogs

Isle of Dogs, Wes Anderson’s most recent project, is a stop-motion animated film set in a Japanese dystopian future. The story follows a boy’s journey to find his dog after the species is banished to an island following the outbreak of canine flu. Inspired by the adventurous tale that Anderson brought forth, a select group of artists have created character portraits and highly detailed environments and scenes inspired by Isle of Dogs. Featuring a diverse array of painting, sculpture and limited edition prints, each artist offers their own unique perspective and interpretation of the Wes Anderson film. This whimsical and canine filled pop-up exhibition is an absolute must see.

About the Piece

I personally love the quirky works of Wes Anderson and am a huge dog lover. I have two very spoiled Labrador Retrievers Dexter & Halley. When asked to participate in this exhibition I immediately said YES!

My piece features the main characters from the film, both human and canine. As well as, the scene in which they debate whether to attack. Spoiler alert – they realize he has come searching for his own dog “Spots” and decide to help him in his quest. 

Isle of Dogs Wes Anderson AJ Masthay letterpress print

The print is a reproduction of a detailed graphite drawing utilizing a Boxcar Press’ photopolymer plate with a 133 LPI halftone screen applied. We’ve found that once dialed in on our Vandercook Universal III, these halftone plates reproduce tonal drawings beautifully. They come very close to the detail typically found in lithographs.

To mimic the graphite work we do the following steps. First, we mix a fairly stiff, dark gray ink with a touch of brown to warm it up a bit. Next, we use a paper that is soft and supple, such as Arches 88. Finally, we finish the piece with a hint of hand-applied color in the pilot’s eyes. As a result, this slight variation adds a personal touch of individuality. The hand coloring piece complements the printing perfectly.

Isle of Dogs Wes Anderson AJ Masthay letterpress print

The Final Edition size is 100 signed, numbered and titled, 15”x20” on Arches 88. Prints are available to purchase at the event. Remaining prints will be made available online following the event, through SpokeArt.

The Isle of Dogs Art Show group art exhibit is running from November 9th, 2018 – November 11th, 2018. For more details, check out their Facebook page here.

Letterpress Art Sales to Benefit Baby’s Medical Procedures

Today we’ve got details about a worthy event that will help a young boy’s medical expenses and provide you with a chance to obtain some limited edition fine art prints for your walls! Prints for Platelets is helping raise funds for Nico Bond, the 17-month-old son of Arizona Master Printer Brent Bond of Santo Press and artist Veronica Villanueva.

Since November of 2011, Nico has undergone 2 bone marrow biopsies, over a dozen transfusions and is still undiagnosed with a blood disorder that leaves him with very low platelet counts.  Prints for Platelets will give you a 20% discount off all Santo Press Prints with 100% of the proceeds going to Nico’s medical expenses through the month of May.

Santo Press Prints offers high quality relief prints, monoprints and monotypes from 16 regionally and nationally recognized artists. Shown above is a photopolymer and reduction linocut from Veronica called Nicolas’ Odyssey.  Veronica tells us this about the creation of this print.

Getting pregnant wasn’t easy and the pregnancy was a high risk one.  I made this print when I was pregnant with Nicolás.  It seemed that even before birth Nico has gone through a whole odyssey.  And it seems that his odyssey continues… The key image was created digitally and relief printed from a Boxcar polymer plate, colors were developed via a reduction linocut.  The print was from an edition of 50 which was donated to Mesa Contemporary Arts at Mesa Arts Center for their annual fine art print calender fund raiser.

Click here to go to the Santo Press website and choose one or more signed, numbered, and titled prints from the artists and receive the 20% discount through the month of May.   The prices are very competitive and with an additional 20% off, it’s an easy but meaningful way to help this little boy and his parents while supporting fine art printmaking.

The Boxcar Press Holiday Gift Guide: 22 Gifts for a Letterpress Printer

(looking for our favorite letterpress cards for valentine’s day? Check that out here!)

Need holiday gift ideas for the letterpress fanatic in your life? We’ve put together a list of our favorite gifts for this holiday season—we found some amazing letterpress pieces online, along with some great books and handy supplies that any printer would love to receive.

A holiday gift shopping guide for letterpress lovers, created by Boxcar Press

1. Boxcar Press apron: A heavy duty printing apron with deep roomy pockets, made right here in Syracuse, New York. $16

2. 9SpotMonk letterpress placemats: 10 by 15 inch placemats, letterpress printed on 100% Recycled Kraft Paper, and packaged in a sealed, clear cello bag with 3 non-toxic crayons. $14 for a set of 24.

3. Studio on Fire calendar: Positive Apocalypse Edition. $30

4. Gutenberg Printing Press: A miniature Gutenberg Printing Press. $37.39

5. Wood type: The bold Preissig design is offered as a woodtype font – prices range from $22 – $470.25

6. Johann Gutenberg and the Amazing Printing Press: This book focuses on Johann Gutenberg as an innovator who developed a way of casting metal type, a linseed-based ink, and a press to allow the transfer of inked letters to paper. Great for ages 5 & up. $16

7. Pantone iPhone case: Available in 9 colors. $36

8. Rubber based ink: Rubber-based inks are our ink of choice for general letterpress printing. Choose from a variety of colors (prices vary). Oil-based inks, acrylic inks, metallic inks and other supplies also available. $31.20

9. Glow in the dark posters: Goodmorning, goodnight glow in the dark prints by Dolce Press. $45

10. Vandercook Press book: A new, essential Vandercook reference book by Paul Moxon based on his “Vandercook Maintenance” workshop with notes on significant models and competing presses. $55

11. The Cloudy Collection: Monster Parade:A four-color, 8″x10″ letterpress print created exclusively for the Cloudy Collection. The print comes in a custom folder that features metallic silver printing on black paper. $75

12. Boxcar Press t-shirts: Choose from the Vandercook Universal III; the Chandler & Price Craftsman 12 x 18; the Heidelberg Platen 13 x 18; and the baby Sigwalt 5 x 8. Made in the USA! View them all here. $16

13. Letterpress Woodland Creature clocks: This bird clock was letterpress printed by the Sesame Letterpress Shop. $30

14. LetterMPress App: Experience the craft of letterpress on your iPad or Mac. $9.99

15. Roller setting gauge: This handy tool will help you accurately measure the height of your rollers so your press can produce the crispest printing. $22

16. Mark Twain’s Book of Animals: Twenty-five impressions of each of the thirty-one prints Barry Moser designed, drew, and engraved for Mark Twain’s Book of Animals have been printed on an archival sheet from the Zerkall Paper Mill in Hurtgenwald-Zerkall, Germany. $3,500

17. Letterpress holiday coasters: Printed by Paisley Tree Press. $10 for a set of 8

18. The History of Printmaking: A highly interactive tour of the history of printmaking covers Sumerian cuneiform, the innovations of typographer Frederic Goudy, the works of Rembrandt and Henri de Toulouse-Latrec, and comic books. $13.77

19. Dead Feminists Broadside: On a Mission: A 10×18 broadside, printed by hand on an antique Vandercook Universal One press. Each piece is printed on archival, 100% rag (cotton) paper, and individually signed and numbered by both artists. $35

20. Gutenberg Printing Press pencil sharpener: A detailed, cast metal miniature model of the Gutenberg Printing Press, complete with moving parts, is also a pencil sharpener! $6.95

21. Letter from Santa: We love great type and letterpress, but man, seeing real live amazing gorgeous calligraphy gives us the chills. This is a hand-calligraphed, personalized letter from Santa (if Santa was a really talented calligrapher) $15

22. Hamilton Wood Type: A History in Headlines: A 65 page book outlining the history of the Hamilton Wood Type Company and the importance of wood type to the growth of printing world-wide. $20

Amos Kennedy Prints!

Last week, we were honored to have famed letterpress printer Amos Kennedy pay us a visit. In town for Amos Kennedy Prints, a special exhibition at the Community Folk Art Center at Syracuse University, Amos shared with us his love for old wood type and snapped lots of photos of our newly expanded print shop. (Also, it should be noted that Amos is one of the funniest guys we’ve ever met and had us cracking up the whole time he was here.)





(Umm…we may or may not have been really excited to have Amos drop by for a while.)

Of course, it was only fitting for a Boxcar contingency to go visit Amos in action on the opening day of the exhibit where his passion for wood type, bold color and political innuendo took center stage. As a sponsor of the exhibition, one of our old Vandercooks stands proud and at the ready now through April 4. More details can be found at the Community Folk Art Center’s website. If you’re in the Syracuse area, don’t miss the chance to take part in this special event. Thanks for stopping by, Amos!





Fine Press Broadside: When Poetry and Letterpress Meet

One of the coolest collaborations Boxcar is proud to be a part of is our sweet partnership with the YMCA’s Downtown Writer’s Center here in Syracuse. In 2002, the Downtown Writer’s Center launched a broadside series as fundraiser for their reading series. Two poets are selected annually and Boxcar’s own Harold Kyle takes the lead on designing and printing the broadsides in support of the series.

This recent broadside is for Jane Hirshfield’s poem, “Critique of Pure Reason” and Phil Memmer of the Downtown Writer’s Center calls it one of his favorites from the series. As Phil notes, “The detail in both the border and background is marvelous, and serves to echo the subject of the poem…and the careful way in which the poem itself is presented is simply perfect.” Phil also shares that the best commentary on the broadside might be from Jane herself, who gasped aloud when she first saw it – we love that!

You can check out other broadsides in the series in our letterpress portfolio. The Jane Hirshfield broadside, $25, and others in the series are available through the Downtown Writer’s Center by emailing phil@ymcaarts.org

Awesome Cloudy Collection Prints, Letterpressed by Boxcar Press

The opportunity to print these bold limited edition letterpress prints, the first release from the Cloudy Collection, was a really cool experience. Boxcar’s relationship with David Huyck, the self-proclaimed instigator of the Cloudy Collection, dates back to the college years and recently took shape in the form of this really fun collaboration between David, a collection of highly inspired artists, and us.

Keeping the Cloudy Collection prints affordable was a central focus for David in developing the project. Ultimately, each of the seven prints was letterpressed onto one large sheet of paper and then carefully trimmed to the finished 4×6 size. As they were letterpressed together, the ink colors needed to be the same for each print so color became a major unifying factor in the designs. David used that as an opportunity to suggest a theme as a way of keeping the prints conceptually linked as well so the prints would truly feel like a cohesive set, despite having been dreamed up by different artists. With clouds on the brain, the theme was in place and the Cloudy Collection was born.

Each Cloudy Collection set will feature an offbeat seven prints, with an eighth bonus print. At times the bonus print will be offered as a free addition to the collection of seven, but there are also plans in the works to offer annual collections of just the bonus prints from each print set, intended to be released quarterly. The bonus prints will also be available for sale individually.


For the upcoming second set of prints, due to be released late next month, David is moving away from the orange and black palette and adopting the classic ice cream sandwich color combination of pink and brown. Each new set of prints will feature varying colors, themes and artists to keep the collection fresh and to help draw a broader audience to this unique series of ongoing collaborations. It is David’s hope that with each new contributing artist, their following of fans will visit the site, become intrigued and ultimately get introduced to new artists and new perspectives.

With Boxcar’s own eco practices as inspiration, David made sure to keep an environmental perspective in mind when working on the project. David says, “Boxcar was an inspiration here – running on 100% windpower and using vegetable-based inks made me feel like I could add an eco-friendly layer on top of the idea of having great art for sale.” A portion of proceeds of the print sales will be dedicated to The Nature Conservancy, an organization David’s wife has worked with extensively over the years, and a special Earth Day promotion also helped to raise additional funds.

Thank you, David, for the opportunity to work with you on this great project and for allowing us to share it with everyone! You can purchase the first set of prints from the Cloudy Collection on the official website for just $35, but you better move quick as we were excited to learn there are only 5 sets of the 100 limited edition sets remaining!