Shortly after turning 40, Amos P. Kennedy Jr. quit his job as a computer programmer at Indiana University -- submitting his resignation letter, rumor has it, on a piece of toilet paper -- to pursue a far more unpredictable and less lucrative career as a letterpress printer. This is a move that would strike most people as foolhardy, if not insane. But for Kennedy, who went on to develop formidable skills as a creator of prints and bound books along with a serious following, it was a true calling.
Kennedy will be in Buffalo to give a printing workshop as part of the "Analog Artist Showcase" in the Western New York Book Arts Center (468 Washington St.). Kennedy will demonstrate his techniques on the Vandercook press, a favorite of letterpress printers, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday. Following the second workshop, Squeaky Wheel Media Arts Center (712 Main St.) will screen "Proceed and Be Bold," a documentary about Kennedy's life and work by filmmaker Laura Zinger.
"The work of this self-proclaimed 'Humble Negro Printer' raises emotionally charged questions and reveals remarkable depth beneath the bold print," according to Zinger's website. "By learning the rules and then choosing to break them, Amos redefines what life (and letterpress printing) can be: exhilarating and subversive."
Tickets to the screening are $7 or $5 for WNYBAC or Squeaky Wheel members. For more information or to register for the free workshop, call 348-1430 or visit www.wnybookarts.org.