[The visual stylings of the legendary Hatch Show Print shop.]
I've always wanted to own my own screenprinting studio and just make tour posters all day. It just seems like that would be "livin' the dream." This dream was founded when I walked into the legendary Hatch Show Print Shop for the first time back in my days as a Nashvillain (not the correct term for someone from Nashville, but isn't it way cooler?); Everyone there was cooler than any other combined workforce I'd ever seen and they were all just hanging out, exercising their creative muscles, working with their hands on letterpresses from the 1800s, with Johnny Cash playing on the old radio sitting on the front desk. Living. The. Dream.
[The walls of the shop are covered from floor to ceiling in posters.]
[The back of the shop where all the magic happens. Hatch Show still uses the same presses they used when they first opened.]
Hatch Show Print was established in 1879 in Nashville, TN by brothers Charles and Herbert Hatch. They learned the trade from their pops who owned his own print shop in Wisconson. The brothers kept the tradition and passed the business along down to their kids who took over in the mid 1920's. Nashville was, and still is, country music central and Hatch Show Print capitalized on this, making posters for almost every act that came through there from Johnny Cash to Hank Williams to modern day acts like DMB. It didn't hurt that they were based right behind the mecca of country music, the Ryman Auditorium where the Grand Ole Opry was held. Hatch Show struggled through the years to survive in a digital age, but through the help of many people it is still around today and is one of the oldest working print and letterpress shops in the U.S. Today they still print their traditional music posters (they've printed posters for bands like John Mayer, Merle Haggard, Eric Clapton, Louis Armstrong, Death Cab For Cutie, The Raconteurs, Lou Reed, Smashing Pumpkins, Interpol, Ted Nugent and everyone in between) but their client list has also grown to include names like Nike, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Jack Daniels and more. Not too shabby, eh? I think there's something to be said about holding onto the craftsmanship of letterpress and printing while everyone else switched to offset. It's kind of sad that there trades and crafts are a rarity.
[More posters. Click to enlarge.]
Hatch Show's website sucks. If you go there looking for proof of the above amazingness, you will be very disappointed. The Country Music Hall of Fame is in charge of Hatch these days, and I just imagine the CMHF as being run by a bunch of old geezers with boleros and ten gallon Stetsons on Hover Rounds. (You're probably going to have to google every other word in that last sentence if you've never lived in the South.) Anyone over 60 with a bolero collection and a license to drive a Hover Round is almost definitely the last person you want running your website, although they're the first person you'd want for a jolly old grandpappy. But go your nearest public library and pick up the book Hatch Show Print: The History of a Great American Poster Shop (hopefully they'll have it in stock) for proof. I own it and it was worth every penny. If that fails, just google "Hatch Show Print" and "legendary" and you're sure to find more proof than Horatio Caine and Columbo have in their whole fictitious careers combined. That's a lot of proof.
And did I mention they also have their own vino? Look for it the next time your at Target. I almost lost my mind when I saw it there for the first time. It was a little piece of Nashville that had somehow managed to find me all the way across the country in Orange County, California and it reminded me of home. If there were a soundtrack to my life, Ryan Adam's "Oh My Sweet Carolina" would have been playing at that moment. "Oh the sweetest winds they blow across the south."
Here's the latest update on the painting. Have a great Monday friends.
On my iTunes: Honorary Title's "Petals"