Find Lead Graffiti on Facebook Find Lead Graffiti on Etsy

   Find Lead Graffiti on Twitter Find Lead Graffiti on Instagram




          Tour de Lead Graffiti 2015

the project | preliminary | clamshell | title page | descriptions | colophon | postcards | composite

Stage 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Rest | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | Rest | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21

2011 edition | 2012 edition | 2013 edition | 2014 edition

2011 - 2015 posters grouped by topic

A pile of pain  

What started as kind of a goof has turned into a bit of a thing.

370 > 800 pixel wide enlargement

The story

We ran a few of these composites—every run of every poster—when we started Tour de Lead Graffiti in 2011. For the past 4 years we have been including one of them in each clamshell box edition, simply as one of the prints and at no extra charge. This year it was 92 runs and you don't see many posters printed via letterpress with that many runs. This year the total was less than the record 109, but a number of runs were very complicated and slow to set up (see 8, rest day #1, 18, and 20).

We aren't sure how to classify the aesthetics of the piece, but it isn't often that you see a letterpressed piece with near 100 runs unless you are looking at Tour de Lead Graffiti. If you know what to look for and where, you can literally see some evidence of almost every one of the runs that make up the images on the 23 posters that constitute the body of work that is the 2015 Tour de Lead Graffiti. As we've said before, it is quite literally a pile up of the peloton, and like any good trainwreck, you can't avoid staring at it.

The sheet of Somerset Textured White 300 gsm became more and more limp as it was impressed over more and more of its surface. Also the weight of the piece steadly got heavier as each layer of ink was added. As the thickness of the paper changed, the impression from one layer to the next changed, typically reducing the amount of ink that was tranferring. This turned out to be a good thing as each progressive layer tended to completely cover less and less, preserving the earlier histories more.

We used rubber-based ink (except for the metallics, which are oil based), which needs to be absorbed into the paper to dry. However, as you print more and more layers of ink on top, it just sits there, nice and wet. Several times we used a dusting of cornstarch to get the surface to dry enough so we could handle it more easily. We also used slipsheets, but even then there are sometimes bits of offset on the backs of the sheets. We've gotten to where we like that.

As you can see, we tended to avoid intruding very much into the signature block most every time. Also nearer to the end of this project, we were careful to avoid any design that radically covers large areas with lots of large type, and we tried to be especially considerate with design placement, the amount of ink and the colors we chose, often printing with less ink than we would have for the normal posters.

The actual last poster, which ends up being the one on top, was the one for 2nd rest day. We wanted to include a nearby letterpress printer as a collaborator, but she was hiking a 270-mile stretch of the Appalician Trail (if you can call that an excuse), so we put it off until the day after Stage 21.