Another Week, Another Awesome Artist Interview! September 25, 2013 10:20

Salutations all!  Though it's not Friday I figured, since last Friday saw no Artist Interview post, better late than not at all! This week we're featuring Rebecca Ann Rakstad of RAR RAR press.  You know her from her sassy, clever, tongue in cheek letterpressed postcards and prints. 

Tell us about yourself.   What do you do?  Where are you from?  Is it the same place you currently work out of?

My name is Rebecca Ann Rakstad also known as Reba RAR RAR. I’m from Chicago and have a studio in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.

How did you come to start Rar Rar press?  What's the history there?

Rar Rar Press was kind of an accident. In the early 2000’s (fresh out of art school at SAIC) my work was primarily photography, book arts and zines. I had the feeling letterpress and I would be a winning pair so in early 2004 I took my first letterpress class at the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago. My first print was a postcard and after that I spent the rest of the semester making postcards and other mail art. I began Rar Rar Press during that time mainly because I needed a press name (RAR= my initials). I saw the indie craft world starting and I wanted to join the club. By the fall I was doing my first indie craft fair, Art vs. Craft in Milwaukee, under Rar Rar Press.

What inspires your work?  Do you have any influences, mentors, idols, that you look to for guidance or ideas?

Pop culture, punk ideals and the art of hand printing inspire my work. I look up to other great printers who use handset type in their work especially Brad Vetter, Jen Farrell of Starshapped Press, Hatch Show Print, Pioneer House, Amos Kennedy, and Tracy Honn (to name a few).

I saw from your Facebook page that you teach classes as well. What types of classes do you teach?  Why teach classes when have your hands full already making your own wares?

So far I am just teaching a beginning letterpress class on Students get to learn a little wood type history, hand set a few words and have them printed. A lot of people have no idea how involved letterpress can be and love the chance to see how it all works. I love teaching and have always believed in skill sharing.

So, you live in Chicago, you went to school in Chicago, how did you get involved with Craftland?

I started doing the Craftland holiday show in the late 2000’s after finding out about the show from other craft friends.

Got any words of wisdom for someone looking to turn their craft into a business?

Do what you love and be original! Find that thing no one’s making and fill that hole. I started making postcards mainly because no one else was, let alone doing handset letterpress work.

What do you do in your free time when your not printing or teaching?

I’m usually cooking or baking something up at home with a record blasting.  I also hangout with babies to make a little extra cash.

If you could meet one person in the whole of the multi verse, who would it be and why?

Bill and Ted, but mainly there phone booth so I can go back to several points in the history of print. I’d see Johannes Gutenberg invent moveable type & the printing press, watch J.E. Hamilton monopolize the wood type industry, design type next to Jenson, Garamond, Bodoni & Oz Copper, and make posters with Globe Poster Co. & Hatch Show Print in the early days of rock n’ roll.

Thanks to Rebecca for sharing a bit about herself!  You can check out her store at