I love Typographie
7 April, 2009, 7:04 pm
Filed under: Lacoste, School, Transit, Uncategorized

Hello friends…

I promised to tell you about my amazing day I had on Sunday. So here it is… a little late and probably a little condensed because it’s late here and I need some shut eye.

Anyway, on Sunday the printmaking and graphic design students had a field trip to Les Baux and San Remy. In Lex Baux, is a letterpress shop and print museum. The letterpress shop was, at one time, owned and operated by Louis Jou. LJ was a renaissance man of sorts and was responsible for the revitalization of the town of Les Baux after WWII. It’s mostly one big tourist spot now but a kind gentlemen keeps the shop running and oversees a museum with a bunch of incredible prints and books. His collection includes several original Albrecht Durer prints and an entire set of Goya’s “Tragedies of War” series of prints.

Before going to the letterpress shop and museum, we had a bit of time to kill when we arrived. So, Tom (my fellow thirtysomething) and I wandered off to enjoy what we could of Les Baux. We first stopped at this store that had these huge aisles of cookies that you grabbed individually and stuffed into a shopping bag. All kinds of delicious chocolate, cinnamon, almond, sugar and what-have-you cookies. We then came upon a cafe and decided to enjoy a cup of coffee (or “cafe.”)
We walked in and ordered our drinks and then discovered there was a table waiting for us right next to a window with a spectacular view of the Alpilles (mountains that are kind of the beginning of the Alps.) The cafe au lait turned out to be quite nice and came in a much bigger mug than everyone else has been serving it in. (What gives?) It made me feel alive to be in this spot I had never seen before – enjoying a fine beverage at pretty decent altitude and just taking it all in. Ya know? ‘like I just hit “pause” on all the crazy shit in my life.

After my little existential moment… we headed to the letterpress shop. This is the part where even though I was in a foreign country, I felt I had briefly regained a little piece of myself that had gone missing. The shop was vastly different from Hatch Show Print (a letterpress shop in Nashville, TN where I had interned for several months) and yet it was very similar in that it obviously had some history and the presses definitely had some mileage on them. On the main work table was a beautiful print and behind it sat the type and imagery, locked in a chase for viewing. I made sure I bought one of the prints. There were many gorgeous prints that made it hard to choose exactly which one I wanted to purchase.

After spending some time in the shop, we walked across the street to the museum. The museum is really hard to describe… except that it was like a treasure trove of printmaking goodness. There were all these beautiful books and prints and linoleum carvings (including one of the burning of Joan of Arc.) A few of us remarked that we really didn’t care about the upcoming trip to Paris and that this was worth the trek overseas alone. I’m not really doing this place justice at all… (plus it’s getting late and my brain is slowly turning into mush.)

Following our time in Les Baux, we headed to San Remy. Van Gogh hung out here and liked it so much he wound up in an insane asylum on the outskirts of town. It was such a nice day out. ‘perfect for walking around and exploring the town. We all got ice cream (some called it gelato, but thanks to my wife, I knew better) and then just sort of wandered off around the town. I did walk past a hotel where Van Gogh painted one of his famous self portraits. Oh and apparently Nostradamus lived there at one point, too. We walked past his apartment. Killer.

Since I’m doing such a piss poor job of explaining how awesome the letterpress and printmaking museum was, here’s a link to the pictures I took along the way. Hopefully you can get even a glimpse of how beautiful and inspiring some of this stuff was. I may try to travel back there during some of my free time.

Alright… well there you have it. It was a pretty stellar day. Classes have been pretty intense. Most people only take two classes when they come here because of the condensed schedule and so they can enjoy being here. I’m taking three classes. I’m exhausted. I’m enjoying it too… but I am feeling the burn. ‘looking forward to the weekend, for sure.

Bedtime for Brett!


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