Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. is a letterpress printer based in Detroit. MCBA was honored to host him as printer-in-residence for the entire month of July, 2017. He lead a series of work sessions at MCBA inviting Twin Cities community organizations to make their own print signs, which were featured throughout Open Book as a building-wide “takeover.” We sat down with Amos to learn about what inspires him as an artist.
Interview conducted in July 2017 by Tracy Steiner.
How have you amplified individual and collective voice through your art?
By speaking truth to power.
How does the MCBA Book Art Biennial theme “Shout Out: Community Intervention, Independent Publishing, and Alternative Distribution” inform your work?
By doing. My work is informed by the work. It fuels itself.
Can mistakes lead to creative success?
There is no such thing as mistakes unless you want to suppress people. One learns through experiences. The outcome of the experience will vary. The concept of mistakes is rooted in the institutional racism of this civilization.
As an artist, what keeps you up at night?
Fighting institutional racism. It is the core of this nation. In fact, I am fighting to save the humanity of each of us.
What called you to the book arts as a profession?
I was thirty-eight years old when I learned about letterpress printing. I enjoy the processes of letterpress printing.
Who do you look up to and why?
I look up to no human. I look down to no human. We are equal. I look them in the eyes.