Get to Know: Aaron Cohick

Aaron Cohick, proprietor of NewLights Press, an independent publisher of experimental literature and artists’ books, has been named the new printer at The Press at Colorado College.

He received a BFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2002, and an MFA in printmaking from Arizona State University in 2007. For the past few years he has worked as a commercial letterpress printer in San Francisco and taught at the San Francisco Center for the Book.

Cohick, a native of Pennsylvania, says he has always had a dual interest in writing and the visual arts, but never knew how to put them together until he took a bookbinding class. “We worked with type-setting, binding, letter press printing, and screen printing, and I realized that was it – that was what I wanted to do,” he says.

Cohick hopes to make the experience, knowledge, and equipment at The Press at CC more broadly accessible to students. “I’d like them to discover The Press early on, and not just their senior year,” he says. “A year is not enough time to learn this.” He also hopes to increase the number of publications produced by The Press, and to increase its visibility, both nationally and internationally.

Cohick enjoys the slow, repetitive, careful – almost meditative – process of printmaking. “All aspects of it are very appealing,” he says.

Cohick takes over from Colin Frazer ’02, who ran The Press from 2006 until his departure this summer for the Rhode Island School of Design, where he will pursue an MFA in design. Frazer, a physics major, became interested in The Press during his senior year when he took a printmaking class with Professor Kate Leonard.

Founded in 1977, Colorado College’s fine letterpress has produced many superb works of art that are now features in collections at Yale University, Harvard University, Chicago’s Newberry Library,  the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Rijksmuseum, to name a few.

The Press at Colorado College, now housed in Taylor Hall, got its start when Jim Trissel, a former CC professor of studio art and art history, was enlisted to help transport an old press to the campus in the mid-1970s. Trissel, whose father and grandfather had both worked as printers, took a sabbatical from 1977-78 to learn the technology, design, and history of printmaking, and later began to collect classic typefaces.

Over the years, The Press at Colorado College has published notable books including a book produced on commission from the Arts for Nature Trust of England as a 75th birthday gift for Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh; several books collected by the Newberry Library in Chicago; and three publications included in the New York Public Library exhibits “Seventy from the Seventies,” “Eighty from the Eighties,” and “Ninety from the Nineties.”

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