Letterpress Artist Nicole Cooke

Letterpress Artist Nicole Cooke

buffalo artist nicole cooke

buffalo artist nicole cookeWhat is your name?
Nicole Cooke

What is the name of your business?
Type & Resolution

Where can customers follow your work?
Instagram | Facebook

How did you end up in Buffalo? Are you a Buffalo native?
I grew up in East Aurora, and then left for college for two years, and an internship for one summer. I returned in 2010 and I’ve lived in Buffalo ever since. I graduated from Buffalo State, and I have called the Elmwood Village home for about 8 years now. I was definitely one of those people who grew up swearing I’d leave and never come back, but what I realized was that I just didn’t have access to the best parts of Buffalo growing up in the ‘burbs. When I started spending more time in the city during my breaks between semesters, I fell head-over-heels in love with this place. I still daydream about wandering out west some day, but Buffalo will always feel like home.

How did you become a ShopCraft member?
I had the amazing good fortune to be invited to join ShopCraft pretty early on, because I had met Christa and co-founder Megan through the craft market circuit. I was new to the game at that time, and I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to not only sell my work at a shop on Elmwood, but become a part of the maker community that ShopCraft works so hard to nature.

In what way(s) is your work and/or lifestyle environmentally friendly?
While printmaking is not typically known to be an environmentally-friendly medium, there are a lot of ways that modern printmakers are working to lessen the eco-impact of their work. I print at the Western NY Book Arts Center, where we primarily use donated paper and ink that may have otherwise been thrown away – and probably not disposed of properly. We also use baby oil to clean our presses instead of toxic solvents, and recycle phone books as cleaning pads for our ink brayers. I up-cycle my prints that don’t turn out by making them into other objects, like gift tags. I use as much of my scrap paper as possible for proofing, or printing smaller jobs in an effort to waste as little as possible.

Describe your creative process in as much detail as possible:
My creative process changes all the time, and depends on which medium I’m going to work in. I have become quite the jack-of-all-trades as a printmaker, photographer, graphic designer, and amateur calligrapher.

When it comes to letterpress, I’m always thinking about quotes I want to work on or color combinations I want to try – I keep a running list on my phone to reference when I’m in the studio. When I’m ready to print, I generally change my mind twenty times before I settle on an idea, but then I put a good playlist on and get to work. One of the greatest things about printmaking is that the shop is a highly collaborative environment, and there are always other artists around to bounce ideas off of or ask questions to. My goal for this year is to try to push myself to make work that is more challenging on the technical side, like layering colors and printing matrices besides type.

I sign and edition all of my letterpress prints; they are limited edition, and I do not scan them or reproduce them digitally. I might get into that at some point, but for now I like the idea of adding this ephemeral quality to my work. If you see a print you like, pick one up before they’re gone!

What does it mean to you to be a member of an artist collective like ShopCraft?
I love being a member of the ShopCraft collective because I have grown immensely and learned so much from the other artists who make up this community. If I have questions about making art, running a tiny business, setting up for a show, or anything related to my craft, there is always someone who has been there before and can offer advice. Once in a while I get to share something with the others, too. The collective is an incredible resource.

How do you order your wings?
Sadly I don’t eat wings very often because of dietary restrictions, but when I do, charred BBQ from LaNova, or gtfo. Don’t forget the bleu cheese!

What is the most meaningful thing a customer/client has said to you about your work?
The most meaningful experience I have had with a customer who purchased a print from me involved a woman approaching me at a craft show months later and explaining where the print ended up. As it turns out, she is a human rights lawyer and a law professor who fights *really* tough cases. She hung a letterpress print that I made which has an Against Me! lyric that says ‘fight every fight like you can win’ on her classroom door to remind her students that no matter how many times they lose, the next case is always worth the fight. I’m getting choked up again as I write this – it is such a privilege just to be involved in some small way with the work that they do. Hearing this story had a profound impact on me.

If you could share a piece of advice with people who think they are ‘not creative’, or don’t think their art is ‘good enough’, what would it be?
I believe that everyone is creative, but a lot of people fall for the myth of inspiration. People think that artists hang out at home until they one day feel some metaphorical lightning strike and – like magic! – they create some kind of masterpiece. While it is true that sometimes inspiration hits and helps things along, most of the creative process involves work and practice and commitment. Discipline has to pick up where motivation leaves off.

What about Buffalo inspires you?
Buffalo inspires me because there are so many creative, hard-working people starting new business and supporting legacy companies through a network of people they probably went to high school with, or ran into at The Pink on a Friday night. That sort of close-knit connection paired with a determination to lift Buffalo up to the city we *know* it could be, is pretty incredible. We are a hard-working and hard-partying city with an exciting future ahead of us.

What is your super power?
My super power is creative problem solving. Come at me with your greatest conundrums!

letterpress home decorWhat is your favorite charitable organization?
2018 will be my 6th year participating in the Ride for Roswell. I started riding in memory of my grandfather, Dave Oldman, after we lost him to pancreatic cancer. So far I have biked a total of 225 miles and raised over $11,000 for Roswell Park Cancer Institute, where my Grandpa was treated with unwavering dignity and immense kindness until he lost his battle in 2012. 

A note from ShopCraft:
” Each yeah Nicole prints a letterpress print that is used to raise money for her Ride for Roswell. We are excited to be offering this year’s edition in the shop and online, with 100% of the purchase price going to directly to her fundraising efforts.” 

Tell us a joke:
I have an extremely dry sense of humor, and I’m pretty bad at jokes tbh. I can’t even think of one right now. Help!!!

What is your most prized possession?
I don’t know if I could ever choose a most prized possession. I’m a very sentimental person and I have a hard time getting rid of things. I love my bike because it brings me so much joy, but I also love the desk in my office which used to belong to my grandfather. We would be here all day while I try to narrow it down!

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