If you’re a creative person and want to get inspired, watch this talk with Detroit letterpress artist Amos Kennedy Jr.
I was in the audience this weekend at The Compound Gallery in Oakland, and he was great fun to watch – inspiring, honest, provocative and authentic.
Kennedy has tons of conviction, a big sense of humor, and a great story about ditching a career he hated (computers) to do something he loved (printing), and scrapping to do it the hard way (without money.. he doesn’t believe in debt), but loving every minute of it (‘Hell I love to print!’).
He rants a bit about the problems with society (mostly on the mark), but comes across as a people person and a happy guy. His prints, while biting, are also funny and happy.
“Go make something,” is one of this lines, and maybe his main theme. “It is a joy to make stuff.” Stop complaining about your limitations or what you don’t have, he says, and just do what you can, don’t be afraid of failure, do it now, don’t wait, life is short.
This guy is an authentic character with tons of purpose… I feel lucky to have seen him in action.
Below is a sampling of his posters, from his website and other sources. He doesn’t seem to bother with a comprehensive catalog, but just prints them and sells them or gives them away… then does it all over again.
To give you an idea just how much attitude Kennedy has, here’s my favorite of several prints I bought at the show for $10 each (he signed each one):
And here’s another one I really like:
For more on Amos Kennedy Jr., watch this documentary about him on YouTube: