The (girl) power of the press!
In the autumn of 2008, the U.S. Presidential election had the country whipped into a crazed frenzy. Artists and designers everywhere seemed to have their two cents to share, and we wanted to contribute something for the record as well. We soon realized we couldn’t produce an election broadside without, well, getting political—but our printing predecessors gave us a long history of incendiary broadsheets, so we took heart from that. And hey—we wanted to take "freedom of the press" into our own hands. So we put a little inflammatory writ in print—our first broadside, "Come, Come" (quote by Elizabeth Cady Stanton)—though tempered with a gentle reminder of the right and responsibility to vote. The prints were extremely popular, and the "Dead Feminists" series was born.
We have some rules for the series--the women we feature have to be dead, and we really avoid quotes that are simply focusing on "we can do anything men can do!" We’ve made a effort to find women who may be relatively unknown, or despite being famous might not be considered a feminist. We also donate a portion of the proceeds of each print to charities linked to the issues we highlight through the series. Lastly, we never reprint a letterpress poster once it sells out—so once they're gone, they're gone! (Which is why we have digitally-printed postcard reproductions of each broadside, to keep the image out there in the world.)
Each broadside begins as a completely hand-drawn illustration, including painstakingly lettered original typography. Chandler draws the design in pencil first, then cleans up the lines in ink and scans them into a digital file. Then we take that file, have it made into a film negative, and make our own photopolymer plates for printing. Jessica takes over from there, printing each poster by hand on an antique Vandercook press, carefully aligning the complex color registration on each piece.
There's a long tradition of artists acting as mirrors to what's going on in society, but more than that, we're literally using the power of the press to try to incite change and enhance knowledge. Broadsides (posters) were the first form of mass communication—the great-great grandpappy of the modern poster, going back to the early days of printing and public literacy. Today the media of mass communication have moved on, but the broadside is still a device employed by printers that has evolved into an art form. The Dead Feminists series hearkens back to the original purpose of the broadside: the idea of posters as rabble-rousers.
Thanks to YOU, our amazing audience of collectors and enthusiasts in every US state and countries all over the world, we're thrilled to know that the words of these historical women are still relevant—and that art really can change the world, one broadside at a time.
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Chandler & Jessica
Owner, Illustrator (Chandler), Printer (Jessica)
Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring began the Dead Feminists letterpress series in 2008—taking quotes by historical women and tying them to current social and political issues. Each poster is hand-lettered and letterpress printed in limited editions.
Greenville, SC, United States
We have our reproduction postcards printed at an offset printer to ensure the highest quality available and the lowest price we can offer our customers. Each postcard is printed in the U.S., and color-corrected to stay true to our poster designs.
Accepted payment methods
- Accepts Etsy gift cards
Sales outside the USA may be subject to taxes or duty upon receipt of shipment. The buyer is responsible for any customs duties that may be incurred. For items that require customs forms to be filled out, the item will be declared as merchandise, and its value listed—no exceptions. Thank you for your patience.