Every Year a Vintage Steamroller Creates Massive Prints on San Francisco Streets

SFCB Annual Steamroller Printing Festival

Since its founding in 1996, The San Francisco Center for the Book (SFCB) has been promoting and celebrating books and bookmaking in the Bay Area. In addition to offering a range of in-person and online workshops, it also hosts community events that demonstrate some of the incredible artistry that goes into producing publications. On September 25, 2022, they will be hosting their 19th annual Steamroller Printing Festival in the Potrero Hill Arts District.

Using a large, teal-colored steamroller from the 1920s, the SFCB team and about 20 volunteers will show how this large machine is used to perform relief printing—one of the oldest methods of printing illustrations in books. “We celebrate this facet of book and print history in the biggest, over-the-top, spectacular way we can think of: by printing three-foot by three-foot linoleum blocks using a seven-ton 1924 Buffalo Springfield steamroller on the asphalt outside of our brick-and-mortar studio space,” SFCB tells My Modern Met.

Open to visitors of all ages, this event is a great way to see how art is printed on a grand scale. Furthermore, the festival hosts other demonstrations like bookbinding, and there's even the opportunity for people to print their own posters. All of the steamroller prints will be created “on-demand,” meaning they can only be purchased on the day of the event. These Classic Prints are gallery quality using extra dense ink SFCB calls “Roadworks Black” on Arches 100% cotton rag.

The 19th annual Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival will take place on Sunday, September 25, 2022, in the Potrero Hill arts district of San Francisco.

The San Francisco Center for the Book celebrates books and bookmaking.

SFCB Annual Steamroller Printing Festival

On September 25, 2022, they will be hosting their 19th annual Steamroller Printing Festival.

SFCB Annual Steamroller Printing Festival

They use a seven-ton steamroller from 1924 to make “on-demand” prints.

SFCB Annual Steamroller Printing Festival

Watch this video to learn more about the Center:

San Francisco Center for the Book: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by San Francisco Center for the Book.

Related Articles:

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M.C. Escher’s Mind-Bending Mathematical Prints Now Available Online

Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. When she’s not writing, Margherita continues to develop her creative practice in sequential art.
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