There's lots to see here, but few of the prints are dated, and a majority are recent restrikes (new prints from the original vintage plates), so it's hard to get a sense of the firm's historical development. And all the restrikes and retro-styled recent prints can leave an artificial taste.
Over the past century, the firm shifted from custom-carved printing plates advertising coffee, sausage, or the B-movie Island of the Lost Souls with the Panther Woman to photographic reproductions (Elvis, James Brown, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton) that dictated more awkward design and a greater reliance on movable type. The old art seems to be drowning in a new photographic age.
But then in the '90s, in a landscape inundated by digital design, Hatch's handmade, back-to-basics, "authentic" look landed it commissions for retro-styled album covers. There followed a slew of work for Johnny Cash, the White Stripes, Beck, Lollapalooza — work that fueled the shop's renewed production of dynamic typography and custom-carved images. It's rocking — though at times awfully slick — stuff. Thank goodness for the economic clout of nostalgia.
Read Greg Cook's blog at gregcookland.com/journal.
: Museum And Gallery
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