Proceed And Be Bold!

by Kiko Matsing

Alabama printmaker Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. will be visiting UIUC as artist in residence from 28 Feb to 4 Mar, 2010.

(from Tuscaloosa News, 2008)

I love the joy and wit of his posters, which reminds me of the textual playfulness of Dada printed art. I got one with the Camus quote: “The purpose of the writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself”. It still smells of ink!

Here are some of my favorites:

Kennedy has also been a subject of the documentary, Proceed And Be Bold!.

At 40 years of age, Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. abandoned the traditional American Dream to follow his own. Unsatisfied with his comfortable, middle-class life, Amos traded in his computer for a printing press and his white collar for a pair of overalls. Armed with life, liberty, peanuts, and a meager yearly income of $7,000, Amos cranked out a new, mutinous declaration of independence.

Proceed and Be Bold! joins Amos for a titillating retelling of his story, while examining the pretensions and provisions of the art world. The work of this self-proclaimed “Humble Negro Printer” raises emotionally-charged questions and reveals remarkable depth beneath the bold print. By learning the rules and then choosing to break them, Amos redefines what life (and letterpress printing) can be: exhilarating and subversive.