Watch A 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.

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.

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.)

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

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