When I saw this series of prints by Dirk Fowler at Flatstock this year, I was floored. Allow me a brief digression to set the stage: Dirk and I had actually contacted each other back when I was running the End Grain, and I had completely forgotten it. After gawking at the bold and wonderful pieces he was selling that day, he asked if I was a printer myself. I told him I wasn’t much of a printer, but that I had a decent collection and actually used to run a site about wood type. He cocked his head as the recognition hit in, and I was flush with embarrassment for not remembering that he’d been nice enough to send me a note and I had written about F2 in response. Perhaps if I had been spending the last 4 years inhaling mineral oil and lacquer thinner I would have an excuse to be so air-headed!
I bought the FU print first. The contrast in color, texture and form was everything I love about wood type printing, and I was off to drop more cash at the other amazing artists at the show. But the knowledge that there were two more prints just like the one I’d just purchased lingered in my mind, and within the hour I had returned, completing my tryptic. They now hang over my bed, waiting patiently to be framed.
Now, you might question my taste level when I tell you I have a literal FU over my bed, and to that I would say: fair point. But life’s not worth living if you can’t have a sense of humor about yourself, so there they hang. I love how the double U and F prints contrast each other. The Double F print is compact, the composition feeling like it’s being sucked into the center of the page with an almost trembling force. It’s geometric and if you didn’t know the context you might not pick out the letterforms inside. The U, on the other hand, is almost flying off the paper. The letters repel each other like the magnets they mimic, and the layering in the printing gives the illusion that the second letter is almost floating above the other.
If you’d like to see more of Dirk’s working, check out his studio, F2.