Watch A Steamroller Make A Letterpress Print On The Street

Watch a 7-Ton Steamroller Make a Letterpress Print on the Street

There are lots of ways to put ink on paper, so why not use a goddamn steamroller over pavement to make a massive letterpress print? At San Francisco's Roadworks Festival, an old-timey industrial construction beast from 1924 that's since been spiffed and shined made literal street art. And it was awesome.

Watch a 7-Ton Steamroller Make a Letterpress Print on the Street

The 11th annual event took place on Sunday in Potrero Hill right outside the SF Center for the Book, which is home to a whole host of incredible machinery used to print, poster, plate, set, and bind in all kinds of different workshops. Every year, a set of artists create an original, hand-carved, heavy-gauge linoleum square that measures a whopping three feet on every end for this run of ultra-limited edition prints.

Watch a 7-Ton Steamroller Make a Letterpress Print on the Street
Watch a 7-Ton Steamroller Make a Letterpress Print on the Street

These are inked up and laid out on Rhode Island Street, covered in paper and a few layers of thick mats, then smooshed under the weight of the seven-ton, toot-tootin' Buffalo Springfield — the name of the manufacturer that inspired the band, FWIW — which is brought down from the Roots of Motive Power collection in Willits, California.

The whole thing was pretty fantastic to watch, and a nice ode to the combo of old tech and people-powered craft coming together to make something completely unique and entirely special. (I took the vid: Yes it's vertical, and yes I'm sorry about that.)

Watch a 7-Ton Steamroller Make a Letterpress Print on the Street

The level of detail that comes out is just wow. Here's another cool finished work from Eric Rewitzer at 3 Fish Studios.

Watch a 7-Ton Steamroller Make a Letterpress Print on the Street

Here's to more big shows of big art in SF and beyond. [Roadworks; San Francisco Center for the Book]