Letterpress List No. 46: Drop in the Bucket

My father’s a pretty good amateur painter, but he’s sort of funny about his art.

One day Shop Boy was home for a visit, for instance, and all of Dad’s paintings — watercolors — were piled up in a corner behind a door, mostly images of sailboats, lighthouses, rural landscapes.

Dad could’ve made a killing in Baltimore, home of the painted screen. Never heard of that? Dad, neither, or we’d have had one in Cranston, R.I. Sadly, you don’t seen many painted screens even around Baltimore anymore, except perhaps as yuppie kitsch. The screens served several purposes, from adding color to the gritty urban landscape with an idealized view of suburbia to preventing unwanted visitors from seeing inside. An occupant could stand behind the painted screen sticking out his tongue at a vacuum cleaner salesman, for instance, and the dude would go away thinking no one was home. Fun, right?

Well, Wally St. Angelo would have been the king of the screen painters. Of course, Shop Boy’d have grown up thinking a “paramour” is “what you use to cut the grass, hon.”

As it is, Dad chucks his work in a corner. So Shop Boy steals it when he can. And years from now, when an authentic Wally St. Angelo is selling for a cool million bucks or so, who’s going to own that market?

Shop Boy! Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

It’s like I tell Mary: Don’t hide your light under a bushel … or under the top of an old dim sum steamer.

OK, it’s an oddly cool old hand-painted metal thing that we found for 20 bucks at a local junk shop. One man’s trash is another woman’s, um, samples receptacle. Yep, all my favorites are in there: There’s the zombie/woodlands wedding invitation; colorful party invites; the most intricate and lovely, hand-fed, “buy 8, get 1 free” coffee card ever printed (two colors one side, three on the other); the baby announcements; off-kilter “neighborhood napkins”; coasters; business cards … in a big pile. I tend to go on about Mary, but she really is quite talented, and Typecast Press has been cranking out a good number of cool projects.

When you’re busy, who’s got time to actually create a lovely samples book that we can whip out to impress visiting clients? Put it on the to-do list, you know? (Like updating our website’s photos.)

In the meantime, at least we know where all of our samples are. In that funny-looking thing over there.

Just lift the lid. But be careful. It’s, ahem, pretty bright under there.

***

Letterpress List No. 46

Searchin’the Coasters (It’s there. Keep digging.)
When I Grow UpGarbage ( … I’ll have a samples book.)
CoconutHarry Nilsson (Mix it all up.)
By the WayRed Hot Chili Peppers (Heavy glow beneath the marquee.)
Been Caught StealingJane’s Addiction (Just helping Dad keep the house clean.)
Where It’s AtBeck (Red pot. Gold-painted dragons. Can’t miss it.)
Moments in LoveArt of Noise (Skating by with what we’ve got.)
Big ShotBilly Joel (Putting on a show.)
IfBread (Paint-by-numbers schmaltz, but the girls used to dig it.)
The Long Way HomeSupertramp (Part of the scenery.)
Who Can It Be Now?Men at Work (The big sell.)
UninvitedAlanis Morissette (Talk to the screen.)
Nobody’s HomeKansas (Hiding in plain sight.)
Light My Firethe Doors (No shrinking violet.)
Rockin’ the SuburbsBen Folds (Maybe a bit too much.)
Band-Girls-Money Tsar (Or none of the above, I guess.)
You’re a Star Josie and the Pussycats (And the bushel is lifted …)

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