Mike Ainsworth

North or Nowt

I am nice, honestly!

How long have you been printing?

Around 2010 on my art foundation degree and i know work as a print and printmaking instructor at a University in Leeds teaching all print processes.

Describe your first encounter with letterpress

Tedious, fiddly, a lot harder than screen printing.

Where did you learn?

I've studied at in Chesterfield, then a BA in Fine Art at University of Leeds and a year studying at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in Budapest, though i'd say the most of my learning in printmaking has come from my time spent as an industrial screen printer and my current role teaching print and printmaking, that's where i get to really practice and hone my skills as a printer.

Who was your most influential teacher?


What super power would you like to have?

Telekinesis could be pretty useful for type setting, or super speed maybe... but perhaps both of these would just be easier ways of making mistakes as well.
But i think we can all agree that the best super power across the board would be the ability to materialise pizza through the power of thought...

Do you prefer to work alone or with others?

Alone (not to put anyone off working with me at LPW!! I am nice honestly)

What do you most value in your friends?

That they somehow continue to be my friends.

When do your best ideas occur to you?

When i'm literally about to fall asleep or when i'm furthest away from any materials that might allow me to record said ideas.

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

Cooper Black

What tool do you use more often than any other?

Pica Ruler, maintaining a letterpress room which students can access means a lifetime of putting things in their correct location.

What books are currently on your nightstand?

For whom the bell tolls - Hemingway
A burnt out case - Greene
Our man in Havana - Greene
Brighton Rock - Greene
Louise Bourgeois memoirs (still!)

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

Corita Kent OR Print Mafia

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

I personally don't own any equipment, i rely heavily on my place of work.

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

That i owned a print shop

When and where are you the happiest?

Arriba taqueira burrito bar in Budapest

What is your greatest fear/worry?

That when i'm at the dentists my tongue will get wrapped around the surgical drill and rip off.

What do you think is useful about what you make?

Good for covering up cracks/holes on walls

What’s your day job?

I work as a print and printmaking instructor at a University in Leeds.

Do you use any other techniques or media besides letterpress?