Printing Artists ‘Drive By Press’ to Print with Public

The UT Visual Arts Committee, the UT Print Club and the Betsy Worden Printmaking Endowment are sponsoring a free and open lecture by Drive By Press at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, in room 105 of the Art + Architecture Building. On Wednesday Drive By Press will hand-print apparel with the public in the northeast corner of Staff Lot 9, south of the Humanities Building, on Volunteer Boulevard.

Co-President of the UT Print Club Emmy Lingscheit is really looking forward to the visit by the one-of-a-kind print makers.

“Drive By Press puts on quite a show on behalf of printmaking, really engaging and educating the public through their active participation in the process,” Lingscheit said.

Run by Greg Nanney and Joseph Velasquez, Drive By Press travels the country with their printing presses and 35 hand-cut designs on wood blocks. The men have two teams. Velasquez heads up the west coast operation with Ryan O’Malley. The team is currently in Texas. Visiting UT, Nanney and fellow printmaker Nick Alley make up the east coast operation. In this fashion, Nanney and Velasquez are able to double the amount of places they visit.

Nanney is surprised by the group’s success, but relishes his humble beginnings. He never thought they would continue the project beyond graduate school.

“We actually did this for credit to get our MFA’s, but people started getting excited about our printing,” he said. “Joseph and I had owned a gallery in Madison, Wis., so it was a little less nerve wracking knowing we were both jumping aboard. We really did sell everything we had for a press.”

Drive By Press began four years ago and has since visited more than 200 destinations, 46 states and more than 100 universities. The current tour began on Sept. 12 and will end on Dec. 4. The funding they receive through their T-shirt sales allows them to continue to travel.

Lingscheit is very hopeful the event will entice students to stop by.

“We’re expecting the event to have a great turnout because of its high visibility. Drive By Press will be stationed in an open parking lot,” she said. “There’s a decent amount of foot traffic and their set-up usually entails music and high energy…so yeah, it’s a party!”

Nanney enjoys traveling and showing others his style of T-shirt printing and other types of art. Drive By Press travels with one of the largest collections of prints by other artists in the country. These are on display during the presentations to the public.

The originality of his pieces and interaction by the public are things Nanney hopes the students will enjoy.

“They pick everything and we ink it up right in front of them,” he said. “It’s more fun than walking into Urban Outfitters and picking out a stock T-shirt. A lot of it is really hands on. We like to let people experience it because a lot of people aren’t aware of how things are made.”

Nanney wants students who aren’t necessarily artists to be able to feel comfortable around his art.

“Putting it in the streets, suddenly everyone feels free to judge and interact with it,” he said. “It’s much different than seeing art in a museum where it’s quiet and you can’t touch anything. But we like to sneak culture in on them.”

Lingscheit is enthusiastic about the effects their work will have on student artists.

“Drive By’s practice is a great example of the younger generation of printmakers pushing the boundaries, using very traditional media in non-traditional ways,” she said.

For information about Drive By Press, visit their Web site at http://www.drivebypress.com. To learn about upcoming events from the UT Print Club, visit http://art.utk.edu/printmaking/resoures/res_sg.html. Visit the UT Visual Arts Committee at http://cpc.utk.edu/Committees/vac.

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