NEW ULM– Sarah Evenson, the latest artist to take part in The Grand’s artist-in-residence program, is nearly complete with their residency project. Evenson described working in The Grand’s Cell Press as a wonderful luxury.
Evenson’s primary artwork is in printmaking, but this includes zinemaking, bookmaking and writing.
Evenson also identifies as a queer trans person, using them/they pronouns. Since earning their Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2016, Evenson has led an eclectic and varied career. In the last five years, Evenson has received many grants and opportunities to further their career and study of bookmaking.
After learning of The Grand’s artist-in-residency program, they jumped at a chance to work in the Cellar Press.
“I was drawn here because of the description of the letterpress equipment,” Evenson said.
Having sole access to the Cellar Press equipment, a large library of printing texts and ink was a rare opportunity.
During their two weeks at The Grand, Evenson has been working on a printing and distributing a zine edition. A zine is a noncommercial, homemade publication dedicated to a special subject. Using the Cellar Press equipment Evenson is printing single-sheet, cut-and-fold zines.
They described it as broadsheet zine. Each edition will come with a little slip cover. The zine will inclue a short poem on the subject of queer empowerment and community.
“As a queer artist I am interested in the way print media helped the gay community,” Evenson said. For a time, zines were the only method for publishing writings on queer theory and other LGBTQIA topics because regular commercial publications were afraid to print queer stories. The zine work is a tribute to this history.
Following the completion of their residency, Evenson will distribute the zines as takeaways at willing bookstores, arts spaces and community centers around Brown County and the surrounding areas. Evenson plans to create roughly 60 of the zines.
Evenson will also host a 90-minute workshop starting at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 22. The workshop will cover the history of print media from the German roots of moveable type letterpress printing to contemporary zine and DIY publishing practices.
The conversation will explore how print media and letterpress printing specifically have been used both as a tool of oppression and as a tool of resistance.
Those in attendance will get to know Cellar Press’s Vendercook letterpress and practice a simple cut-and-fold book form. Each attendee will leave with a small, staple-bound book with a letterpress printed cover and an inside that can be unfolded into a poster.