Today, we’re pleased to bring you the second email highlighting the studio process of Mike Sonnichsen. We introduced you to his intaglio process last week, and today we’re going to show you the work that goes into his letterpress prints. We’re pleased to have two images from this series in our gallery right now.

The lego prints are similar in process to the intaglio prints: each finished print is created using just 3 ink colors. Also, each finished print is run through the press multiple times. Depending on the size and pattern of each image, some are run through 6, 12 or more times to complete the pieces which are characterized by radial symmetry and pattern exploration.

The method for letterpress printing is a bit faster for the artist, once the press is set up: ink is rolled onto the surface of the plastic pieces by the press roller and then and impression is made from the inked surface. Because the printing itself is faster makes it easier for the artist to create multiple similar original pieces in a series, known as an edition.

Mike printing the second layer, in Cyan ink on a Vandercook Letterpress

Mike’s statement about this series:

Letterpress print work with Lego flat tiles, suits my creative methodologies as it highlights pattern and symmetry, constructs of play, and chance operations. I have developed a personalized approach to Lego work in the last 3 years, and while the scale of traditional letterpress production is somewhat limited, I have started to collage sectional and tile elements into larger composite works. The precise and modular nature of this type of printing offers countless combinatory possibilities, a near overload of visual-systemic complexity, and a familiarity or accessibility through objects designed for play.

An example of another base layer for a new series.

Prints in the drying rack: This image shows how the print evolves with each additional layer of ink. I love seeing the edition in progress, as each layer is developed. As Mike says, “I too enjoy the process and drying rack pics… hardly anyone else besides the maker gets to see what is covered (lost? Gained?) in the process.”

More drying rack variations!

We hope you’ll come see Mike’s work in person at Mindport this summer! Many thanks to the artist for the generous loan of the work and for supplying studio images.

Check out more of Mike’s Lego pieces here!