We had the good fortune of connecting with James Tucker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi James, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I was in college in Baltimore there were so many old storefronts in neighborhoods that were converted to houses. I thought it was a shame that these neighborhoods did not have community hubs anymore. At that point, I knew I wanted to create a shop that was community-focused.
At the time Anthony Bourdain and the food scene was really picking up. The storytelling of making things by hand, the care and craft into the service industry. I thought this could be all transferred to another area other than food.
Print called me to it because I was a graphic designer stuck behind a computer. Definitely not a skill that could make a community-focused shop one day. Print was a great entry point into a community plus a way to incorporate my graphic design skills into the dream as well.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art is focused on my craft of printing. It is stemmed in the printing process and the conceptual idea of making multiples. Why make multiples? My thought behind that is twofold. Making multiples makes the artwork less expensive thus, printmaking is the democratization of the art world. Secondly, making multiples, but not all the same, a varied edition, shows the handmade nature of printmaking over the computer, hopefully connecting the viewer to the maker.
After a hard time in public schools, I left high school early to attend a graphic design vocational school before heading to Ringling College of Art and Design where I found solace in the printmaking studios. Ultimately, I transferred to Maryland Institute College of Art and graduated with a BFA in printmaking in 2007.
I moved to San Francisco after graduation in the pursuit of getting a job as a letterpress printer to learn more about the trade and how to run a business.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would drive along Highway 1 up the coast. Stop along all my favorite beaches and little cafes along the way. Eat oysters, hike, check out the ocean. Stare at redwoods.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people that deserve credit. Teachers, mentors, other businesses. Who I thank most of all is my first printing apprenticeship at Hatch Show Print in Nashville and the crew there.