Jay LaCouture has been a part of our extended family for a few years now. Apparently he’s not only a talented printmaker, he’s also an American Ninja. After years of working on projects with the likes of Fish McGill, Josh Falk, Nick Z and Evoker, the crew came together and asked Jay to be down with Project SF.
Big up to Jay for letting me interrupt his screen burning to talk about printmaking, Project SF and kicking ass.
Q: Why did you decide on screen printing as your medium of choice and what attracted you to printmaking?
A: Screen printing entered my life as a necessity really. I was creating t-shirt designs faster than I could make money to pay my printer at the time, back in like 2004. So I picked up one of those teach yourself screen printing kits at the art store in fenway and that was that. It was cheap at the time and it helped me create more, and that’s what I wanted.
Now, after all these years of doing it for other people, when I started doing more fine art stuff it just felt natural to integrate it. And plus… there’s still a lot of magic for me with printmaking. Figuring out how your going to pull off something that isn’t straightforward or that moment when you pull the screen up to see the first print, you can’t beat that.
Q: You do a lot of print work for various companies. What have been some of your favorite commercial projects to date?
A: Yeah the commercial stuff has really helped me get to where I am. I’ve learned a ton printing stuff for people who asked me to do something I’ve never done before. One example, that was an amazing project, was finished last summer for Get On Down out of Malden. I pulled 17,500 prints for a re-release of Arthur Russell’s 24 -> 24 Music boxset. It was a huge challenge both for the number of prints I had to pull off and that the boxes themselves where 1 1/2″ off the print surface. That’s actually where I learned how to print stuff like the wooden panels I did for the Friends with Benefits show.
Next to that, the prints I did for the MBTA were a real challenge. The lineup for the Spider Map is super tight and the margin for error is minimal.
Aside from that, I’m blessed to work with companies that are involved in music and the arts. I’ve worked with UndergroundHipHop for quite a while now doing a lot of different things for them, as well as the Goodlife and StingRay Body Art. Working with good people on good projects is really what its all about at the end of the day.
Q: I’ve heard you can kick my ass in a fight… care to explain that?
A: Hahah I’m a lifelong martial artist. It’s just a part of everything I do. I definitely apply a “train hard” mentality to all my art endeavors because of the successes I’ve seen in that area of my life.
Q: You’ve worked with pretty much everyone in the crew. What are your thoughts on linking up with Project Super Friends?
A: Well I mean, now that I’m here I guess I can finally admit how hard I’ve sweated the projects you guys have done for years and years. To be working with people you looked up to when you first started getting into the game, there isn’t really a better achievement.
So that is to say I’m psyched.
Q: Got any big projects in the works? Your wood panel prints were a big hit at Friends With Benefits… any more panels in the foreseeable future?
A: Right now I’m working on a couple commissioned pieces similar to the work I had in the FWB show. I’m going to be creating more paper prints for some shows happening in September, and I’m going to be hitting the sketchbook hard in August for work that’ll become a next set of wood panel pieces. Really enjoyed printing on the wood and will definitely be doing more experiments with that.
Q: Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule for a little Q & A. You’ve been everyone’s friend for so long, we all psyched your family now.
A: Yeah buuuddy