Intern at Big Fag Press

As part of my study abroad semester I’m doing an internship at a place called the Big Fag Press. An awesome networking connection got me exposed to this fabulous space, and I’m just beginning to get my hands dirty.

First, the machine itself is an offset printer. A classical Swiss printer with obscure buttons, ink rollers and dusty typed up instructions. This is the Big Fag Press. The clever owners obtained this machine when an unfortunate print company went belly up. At auction time the winning bid of $50 gave the machine new owners and a new space.

The garage of the Big Fag Press sits under the tracks of the light rail line in Glebe with doors that open out to a fabulously fresh and green cricket lawn called the Jubilee Oval. Previously the Big Fag Press was operated in another space but this new garage provides nice breathing room for the machine. The garage feels like a mix between metalhead tool shed and grandparent attic with plastic crate shelving, carts stacked with papers, and art prints stored nonchalantly in metal drawers. A series of metal shelves stack fancy dripping cans of ink colours waiting for use. You can smell a passion for print.

This week I got to talk to the other artists who produce prints in the place at a birthday evening picnic. (Yea, they do that kind of socialising.) The different descriptions range from magic to fun to collaboration and mostly learning to let the Big Fag Press do its thing. There is an element of spontaneity and loss of control with this big printer. Artists who have been tinkering in print work with Big Fag Press have a sharp to sometimes rudimentary understanding of the machine. But their work is clearly a labor of experimental love.

As an entity, the Big Fag Press runs as a collective of artists who are engaged by a “democracy of energy.” Which basically translates out to “he who does, will.” It’s a funky, junky sweet space of creativity. They run projects with artists, or partner up for exhibitions, and host workshops throughout the year.

I can tell that it’s going to be an exciting eccentric space, and I’m happy to be here to help. I start my internship this week learning about the press and setting up for a print exhibition coming up next week with artists from Indonesia. I got a sneak peak at the prints that are on their way, and am quite excited to see the magic happen.

Sara Marti, Visual Communication, UTS

Eloise Lindeback