3-Minute Interview: 3-Minute Interview: Printmaker Alessandra Echeverri

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Local,People,3-Minute Interview,April Burbank

Echeverri is an artist who uses an old-fashioned letterpress to print cards, invitations, posters and books at Typecase Industries, a company she and two friends co-founded last year. They work at 52 O Street Studios in D.C., which will host an open studio weekend on May 18-19.

Why is it unique to use a letterpress machine for printing? It's a huge machine -- they weigh, definitely depending on the kind of machine you have, anywhere from 500 to 3,000 pounds. They're expensive to buy. ... You have to know how to work them, how to print them, how to fix them. ... We're our own mechanics.

What's the appeal of printing that way? The appeal is it's a fine-quality, handmade product that's kind of hard to find now, because everybody can do desktop publishing, but not everyone can do this. And it's like this old-school way of printing. That's how everything used to be printed. Everything -- newspapers, books -- so it's kind of going back to that.

Your website says that your work is influenced by your Colombian heritage. How does it impact your art? It doesn't really impact Typecase too much, because our designs are wholly based around our clients. But in my personal art, it means a lot because my art is mostly abstract or goes toward the abstract. ... I'll pull patterns from things I see, which growing up with my parents was Colombian things in our house. Also, if I include text, a lot of the time it'll be in Spanish.

How's the art community you've encountered in D.C.? I would say that there is a really big art [and] graphic design community in D.C. ... Overall, I was surprised to find out there were so many artsy people in D.C. It doesn't seem like that kind of city sometimes, but you just have to know where to look. - April Burbank

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