I've known some nice people in my life, but I can't remember ever meeting a person as warm, gentle and gracious as Jim Sherradan of Hatch Show Print. After introducing myself and telling him that I'd dreamed of visiting, he opened the shop to me to photograph, chat, and answered all of my questions with a kind of authentic genuineness that I've rarely witnessed.
For years now, I have admired the work and history of Hatch Show Print. I've often considered making a pilgramage there, but it's a long trip from Toronto or Vancouver and I was afraid that I'd ultimately disappointed. Boy was I wrong about that. I'm glad to be wrong.
Hatch Show Print is enjoying a real rennaisance lately, due in part to renewed interest in music poster art from the likes of Bird Machine and others. There's even a new book on the subject: "The Art of Modern Rock - The Poster Explosion" from Chronicle Books.
According to Sherradan, business has never been better. Hatch is currently cranking out over 600 posters a year. He attributes much of the new interest to the computer. This is odd, because this is a very un-digital business. The reason, he feels, has to do with people's desire for something different and organic -- an alternative to the digital realm. In fact, the only computer at Hatch is their "retail computer" that runs their sales.
Jim has also started to create letterpress abstract art, using older out-of-use emblems, illustrations, and letterforms that might otherwise pass into oblivion. With his ideas and designs, Jim and I had much to talk about, and I sensed a kindred spirit.
Hatch is owned by the Country Music Hall of Fame, and run by dedicated people like Jim and his full and part-time staff as well as interns. It is a museum of sorts, but a working museum with an enviable client list.