Being driven by passion isn’t enough; having the appropriate skills should complement it. Enrolling in Lasalle College of the Arts after finishing my diploma in Business did help me achieve that. During my final year in Lasalle, there was a short lecture on forgotten crafts, and there was a video about letterpress printing which really intrigued me.
After graduating in 2012, I went to a small town near Sydney, stayed above a pub for about two weeks and learnt the fundamentals of letterpress printing. I had so much fun working with an old press and I never looked back since. In 2013, The Fingersmith Letterpress was born and I now work in my backyard studio.
How did you get started in Letterpress printing? And out of all the other mediums why this one?
To me, Letterpress printing is printing with soul. It is slow print and requires patience to get the desired results. I really like the hands-on aspect of it as well as the organic look of the printed piece.
I want to ask about the process of letterpress printing because it’s a little mysterious to me, and I’m not entirely sure what goes into it.
Every print starts with a rough pencil sketch. From there, I clean it up in illustrator and make a photopolymer plate for each color. I then hand-mix the desired color with rubber based ink and feed papers into the press to be individually printed, color by color.
How was creativity a part of your childhood?
As a kid, I loved to make and build things with my hands. Lego was one of my favorite activity and most of the time I end up building my own creations instead of following the instruction manuals. I also remember copying illustrations from Archie comics and Disney storybooks onto random scraps of paper.
What’s inspiring you these days?
I’m inspired most during my travels. When I’m exploring an unfamiliar place and observing people in their environment, ideas just seem to flow more freely.
Do you have a motto that you live by?
When in doubt, do the right thing. I hate the feeling of my conscience eating me alive.
It feels like a mystery when we look at creatives working for a living, there is no hard and fast rule on how to ‘make’ it. It’s important to show people practical examples instead of just ‘follow your dreams’. Speaking of practical, what lessons have you learned about business from the work you do?
For me, building an ongoing relationship with my clients and suppliers is far more important than getting a one-time big order. It is also important to meet people in your industry and no matter what you do, be kind to others. You never know if they know someone who knows someone who knows another person that would give you a dream project.
What do you do for fun?
Mostly sports. Anything that doesn’t require me to stare at a screen is fun. It could be bouldering, strength training, surfing or even dancing in the shower…
What are your days like?
I’m allergic to routine so usually, no two days are alike. When I’m not printing in my studio, I’d be out meeting clients or working on illustration projects on my computer. Midnight to early mornings are the best times for me to work on illustration projects as there are fewer distractions.
Your travel postcards series is really interesting. What’s the next few location you intend to travel to?
In a couple of days, I’ll be freezing my pants off in Iceland so I’m really excited about that. There’re so many other places in the world to explore, and I’m happy to be wherever my feet take me.
Are you creatively satisfied?
Consistently, yes. But I think I have a massive appetite when it comes to creative satisfaction. It is something that I will perpetually crave.
That said, where do you see yourself in the next few years? Are there any projects you want to explore?
Definitely working on planting my products in stores overseas and attending more tradeshows. I would also love to work on more bespoke illustration projects.