When the Uber dropped my off at my appointment, I instantly noticed the sign a block away that read: Church of Type. Well that is a church I would like to worship. So, leaving this meeting I walked down the block and into the Church of Type.
Want to know something strange? After so many years living on the road and writing about travel, I still can revert to my intrinsic shyness. But the owner of the Church, a Santa Monica letterpress shop that would make any type aficionado swoon, instantly welcomed me. Kevin Bradley, a Knoxville native, is formerly of Hatch Show print and YeeHaw Industries. According to his site, he moved 30 tons of letterpress equipment across country when he moved to LA three years ago.
Kevin's prints reflect his roots, featuring soul and rock and country legends. (I can't escape the South!)
He has 1600 fonts -- really the only shop of its kind in Los Angeles. I completely nerded out, walking past the posters of Johnny Cash and current presidential candidates (the are brilliant).
Kevin gets a lot of Hollywood types in here (apparently J.J. Abrams is a big letterpress guy and pops in when he's particularly stressed.) Who knew? Apparently The Guardian did:
“I’m obsessed with things that are distinctly analogue. We have a letterpress in our office. There’s an absolute wonderful imperfection that you get when you do a letterpress, and that is the beauty of it. The time that is put in setting the type and running the press, inking the rollers, all that stuff – that kind of thing is clearly an extreme example. But it’s the beauty of the actual investment of time, and the amount of time that goes by lets you consider things that somehow, in a kind of weird osmosis or spiritual way, is somehow implicit in the final product. And that seems to not exist much any more.” -Abrams
There was no Abrams sighting today, but I got something better. The chance to sit in a chair and talk with a badass artist, blessed by his letterpress. And yes, I did take a few things home. You should too.
Visit The Church of Type at 3215 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica CA, 90405 or check out their online shop. You'll thank me.
I totally geeked out looking at the trays and trays of type and hearing from Kevin about his projects.
This is day 9 of 90 Days of Stories.