Letterpress printer artist Amos P. Kennedy Jr. visits Emory to discuss creativity
By Maureen McGavin | March 9, 2016
Amos P. Kennedy Jr. at the press. Image courtesy Amos P. Kennedy Jr.
A sample of some of Kennedy’s letterpress-printer posters. Image courtesy Amos P. Kennedy Jr.
A Creativity Conversation with artist, bookmaker and letterpress printer Amos P. Kennedy Jr. and Randall K. Burkett, research curator of African American collections at Emory's Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, will take place at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, in the Teaching and Learning Studio of the Rose Library. The event is free and open to the public.
Kennedy, who left a corporate job more than 20 years ago to pursue his artistic passions full-time, uses an old-fashioned letterpress printer to make chipboard posters with social and political messages that reflect his views. He has lived and produced his works in numerous small towns such as Gordo, Alabama, but in 2013 he set up shop in Detroit.
A 2015 United States Artists Glasgow Fellow in Crafts, he was the subject of a 2008 documentary by filmmaker Laura Zinger titled "Proceed and Be Bold!" — named for one of his most popular inspirational posters that features the Samuel Mockbee quote.
"He's a very smart guy, incredibly articulate," Burkett says. "He's very no nonsense. He wants to talk about race and art and politics, and use his art to promote a better understanding of the issues of race in America. I find him energizing and full of imagination and life."
The Rose Library collects the work of Kennedy as an artist and a bookmaker. He makes his own paper; designs, composes and prints his own books; and is a passionate advocate for books, for reading and for libraries. His use of color and design is evident in a selection of his posters on display in the main corridor of the Rose Library.
Emory's Creativity Conversations series features a one-on-one discussion between an Emory scholar and a distinguished thinker and creator, giving the University community unique access to leaders in a wide range of fields.