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Tacoma’s new letterpress art mag “Rotator” unveiled Friday at Fulcrum Gallery

Post by Rosemary Ponnekanti / The News Tribune on Oct. 12, 2011 at 6:13 am with No Comments »
October 11, 2011 10:18 am

They say that when technologies die, they become art. If that’s the case, then Tacoma’s art scene is getting a jump on its print media, because tonight sees the Fulcrum Gallery launch of a brand new art magazine which both rallies around print as a communication tool and turns it into art. Called Rotator, the magazine is the brainchild of a group of Tacoma letterpress artists, writers, designers and photographers: Ultra-designed, it’ll come out in editions of 500 every quarter. And while the content is well and truly worth reading, at $20 it’s also the kind of thing you’d buy to keep as art rather than use to line the birdcage.

“It’s meant to be more of a piece of art than a piece of journalism,” says Tom Llewellyn, a local writer and letterpress artist, and one of the Rotator team. Other designers include Llewellyn’s Beautiful Angle art buddy Lance Kagey, plus Chloe and Chelise Scheffe, James Stowe and Tyler Kalberg; writers include Michael Sullivan, Dennis Flannigan, Mary Boone and Art Chantry.

So what’s in Rotator? Well, you’ll have to go to the first-issue launch party at Fulcrum tonight to find out everything, but it includes local art, graphic design, photography, and stories on Seattle band Pickwick, Seattle artisan woodcarvers, a typeface collection in Kent and Tacoma architecture that never made it past planning. Each issue also sports a hand-letterpressed cover and includes a handmade insert. And yes, there’s advertising – but so arty you’ll probably take a while to realize it’s there.

Rotator isn’t Tacoma-only – the scope goes from Portland to Vancouver and slightly across the mountaings – but Kagey says it’ll never devolve into a Seattle-based publication like City Arts.

“We believe Tacoma is the epicenter of the artisan movement and where all the variables coalesce,” he says.

There’ll also be a website, which will cover the same content in a very different medium, though still with artistic aspirations. But for the Rotator team, it’s print that’s key.

Says Llewellyn: “We think print has a particular place – a way of interacting with content and design that is tactile. The act of holding paper in your hands and the simple motion of turning a page is an intrinsically different way of reading and seeing. So we’re taking that experience to an extreme level and changing the question to one that asks, ‘Can a magazine be a piece of art?’”

Launch party 7 p.m.Friday. Free, magazine $20. Fulcrum, 1308 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma. 253-250-0520, www.fulcrumtacoma.com


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