David-Armes-headshot-2-square copy

David Armes

Red Plate Press

There is nothing else

How long have you been printing?


Describe your first encounter with letterpress

Buying Shellac's 'At Action Park' LP in 1994 - all printed by letterpress by (the now defunct) Fireproof Press in Chicago, Illinois. In 2016 I met John Upchurch, co-owner of Fireproof, and he told me the story of how they printed the album. It's insane.

Where did you learn?

I was taught by Graham Moss (of Incline Press) at Hot Bed Press, an open access community printmakers' studio in Salford.

Who was your most influential teacher?

For letterpress, Graham Moss. At school, the English teacher who introduced a class of thirteen year olds to the poetry of e e cummings. Thanks for that.

Do you prefer to work alone or with others?

Both have their pros and cons.

What do you most value in your friends?

A strong appreciation of sarcasm.

When do your best ideas occur to you?

In the shower, on overnight trains and at the top of the hill opposite my studio.

If you were to die and come back as a typeface, which would it be?

Something tall and condensed, naturally.

What tool do you use more often than any other?

Pica pole / line gauge.

What books are currently on your nightstand?

James Kelman - The Burn
Hansjörg Mayer - Typo
Hamja Ahsan - Shy Radicals: The Antisystemic Politics of the Militant Introvert
GW Sok - Why Can't We Be Happy All The Time
Derek Jarman's diaries
That's Not My Frog/Tiger/Tractor/etc.

If you could study with any printer throughout history, who would it be?

Ken Campbell while he was making 'Firedogs' (1991). Or Bruce Licher in the mid 1980s.

If you have your own shop, what equipment do you own?

Eickhoff BS1 cylinder proof press
Vandercook '0' tabletop proof press
Squintani no. 2 platen press
Several Adanas
Creaser, cutter, type etc

If you could change one thing about your shop, what would it be?

Space for just one more case of type. Just the one, mind.

When and where are you the happiest?

Now - there is nothing else.

What is your greatest fear/worry?

I have a 15 month old daughter, so, you know, THE FUTURE.

What’s your day job?

Assuming this means "how do you make money?", since I went freelance in 2012 I've earnt money from:
Selling my work, taking on commissions, teaching letterpress, undertaking artist residencies, invigilating exams and tour managing/driving bands around Europe. Plus I sold some old guitars and a kidney.

Do you use any other techniques or media besides letterpress?

Carbon paper monotypes. Plus, I make music.