Do you have equipment that you’ve had since the beginning?
I have one printing press that I still have, and I occasionally use. It’s a screw-top press, and I printed stuff at the Great Went on that, the Great Went robot poster. That might have been one of the first ones I printed on there. It’s just basically a bookbinding press—very simplistic, and you have to roll the ink on.
What equipment are you using now?
I’ve graduated. I have that, and I also have a Washington iron handpress. It’s a press that is from the late 1800s, and it allows me to do much better registration. When I get a chance I do that, but a lot of the Phish stuff, I go to a printer friend of mine in Chicago who also did the masks, as well, Bruno Rohner and his letterpress. He is a fourth generation Swiss printing family, a huge printer in Chicago for years, and a lot of people
know his family. It’s great to be in really, really experienced hands in that way. He teaches me a lot, and shows me things that I can do. These machines are amazing. He runs these things called Heidelberg. Most of them are from the 50s and 60s, and earlier. I learn every time I go into the print shop there.
You’ve had some exhibitions of your work in various cities over the past few years. Who is selecting the pieces for display at these events?
Recently, I’m represented by a gallery in Miami, 101/Exhibit. It’s actually a collector who has been collecting my stuff for a long time. I’ve done some pieces for his family. His family, both his parents, has owned galleries in the past, and just opened one last year, and he asked if he could represent me. I had a gallery opening in the summer, and he curated that. Sometimes, I get someone else to pick out the art. I actually picked out the art for this one. I shoved a bunch of art into a box, and shipped it out.
I kept a lot of the 1999s and 2000s out of what I’m showing at Festival 8. Part of the reason is because they’re so darned expensive. I hate shipping them around everywhere, and having to worry about them. I did bring 2003 posters and stuff that I’ve done while Phish wasn’t playing, so my more recent style is represented in this show.
You also had an exhibition at the Phish comeback shows at Hampton in March.
Oh, yeah, yeah, we did have a little show there at a hotel. It went really well. That was the first show of the year for me. I’ve done a lot of shows this year. I’ve been out and about. It’s a nice thing.
I had Bonnaroo. That was more or less a representation of the gallery stuff. They actually brought a lot of framed pieces out to Bonnaroo. (laughs) The frames got a little beat up out there. It’s a little more low tech [at Festival 8]. I can’t really afford to ship the frames all the way across the country. Yeah, it’s a little more scaled back, more impromptu like the Hampton show—putting the prints up, and showing the work.
And you won’t be working at Festival 8?
I’ll be around, but I didn’t bring my printing press. I’ll be there, talking, and hanging out. One of these times, I’d love to come out with a nice, printed-from-scratch, on those premises. That’s what I did at Great Went, and that was a very good situation. It created a lot of interest in my work. Part of the reason is, I think, it was such a rainy weekend, and I was printing on water-based inks so only a handful of those prints made it out of the concert in one piece. Because of the limited nature of them, they’ve become very valued.
Another serendipity thing. You just never know.
What are your upcoming projects for the near future?
I’ve still got stuff on the drawing board. I just finished doing some work for Magic Hat. I’m doing some of their packaging for one of their beer labels coming out. I’m doing some more Phish stuff, and hopefully, get to do some regular old art prints and release them. But yeah, this year has just been breakneck. It really hasn’t stopped since getting ready for Bonnaroo. Right after Bonnaroo, was the art show, then I did the Alpines and the Gorge [Phish 2009 summer tour], and now this—crazy.
A bit of a break over the holiday season?
Yeah. Yeah. I’m hoping for a little bit of decompression. But I guess I have things on my plate for [Phish] for the fall tour, as well. I’m sure we’ll talk this weekend. We’ve all been so busy. It’s good to see everyone, too. It’s nice that they’re touring around with their families. I haven’t gotten to meet the extended family of the different members. Mostly, I talk with Page.
Yes, the two of you were roommates at Goddard College at one time.
Yeah. And the rest of the band, except for Mike moved to Goddard, as well. I got to know them there, but I mostly stay in touch with Page. I keep up with his stuff. I’m looking forward to meeting the other band members’ kids. I remember meeting Trey’s daughters way back when, but now they’re all grown up. They’re around my son’s age. He just started high school. I’m looking forward to this weekend.