1977 in Madison, Wisconsin when Dikko Faust pied (spilled)
an overfilled job case of cold metal 8 point Century Oldstyle.
Dikko sorted that type for weeks, made his first two books and the paper
for his third, and moved to New York City. In 1980 Dikko Faust married Esther K Smith and Purgatory Pie Press merged with the E K Smith Museum, a museum of found art, including The Apron Collection. Their wedding invitation was their first print collaboration.
Falling in with an NYC Anglo Irish contingent, Dikko and Esther and baby Georgia Luna met Patrick Brill (aka Bob & Roberta Smith) late one night in a cafe before Nolita was Nolita. They organized a trip for Georgia’s pre-school to attend Patrick’s exhibition at The Cooper Union and the rest is history. Collaborations prior to the Gotham Golem Print and InstaBook => Elvis is Everywhere, Jesse Helms Night Attire, UnPop Recurd, We Spy USA, and The Critics Rave.
Purgatory Pie Press has had solo exhibitions at the libraries of the Metropolitan Museum and London's Victoria & Albert Museum. The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, the Tate, the Walker, and the National Gallery of Art among many other institutions collect Purgatory
Pie Press's limited editions.
Dikko hand-sets wood and metal type and uses letterpress as an experimental relief printmaking medium. Esther edits and designs and stitches books. Faust and Smith collaborate with other artists and writers, making limited editions and artist Books. Faust and Smith collaborate, bouncing things back and forth. Starting with production limits--press size, paper size, number of colors/printings, they talk about approaches, scribble something on paper. Faust hand sets the wood and metal type and proofs the words. Smith cuts the proofs and pushes elements around on paper the size of the finished piece. Faust arranges that design on the press and proofs it. They tweak spacing, try colors and papers. An accident can solve a design problem. Fibonacci Flower began black on white. When collaborating artist Susan Happersett wore a vintage coral-pink sweater to a meeting, that became the ink color. Because that ink was on the press, Faust used it for HOW TO MAKE BOOKS proposal cover which began the design of that book.
One night, researching on-line for his CUNY Non-Western Art History class, Dikko shrieked EUREKA! He saw a 3-color pattern in the oldest known wall-painting (c.9000 BC!) He began drawing this pattern on every available surface, set it in type--and his tesselation series began.
Purgatory Pie Press’s HOW TO MAKE BOOKS exhibition began at the Cooper Union launch and has traveled to RISD, SVA’s Design MFA gallery, Pyramid Atlantic, Minnesota Center for the Book, Athens Cultural Center, Pratt Institute, University of Puget Sound, and the Wright Museum of Art
in Wiscosnin. The exhibit has morphs as it’s moves, the installation changing to fit the space and adding new works and design proofs from Magic Books & Paper Toys and The Paper Bride.
Faust and Smith travel as visiting artists, lecturing, demonstrating, and making collaborative projects in art centers and universities. Faust teaches letterpress at SVA. Smith teaches Artist Books at Cooper Union. Extraordinary A+100 students can apply for internships. The press also designs and prints logos, letterheads, invitations, custom books and cards. Purgatory Pie Press made the wood type logo for Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Green, Brooklyn and their posters,
bookmarks and business cards. For WORD bookstore in Greenpoint, Bklyn, Purgatory Pie Press made wood type greeting cards: EAT. DRINK . SLEEP. READ. WORD.
Purgatory Pie Press:
Dikko Faust & Esther K Smith
212 274 8228
us some mail