We had the good fortune of connecting with David Wolske and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk has played a vital role in my career. Eighteen years ago, I made a conscious decision to leave my job as a website designer (a growth industry) to focus my creative energy on typography and letterpress printing—a 560-year old technology. To offset the risk of entering a field with limited career opportunities, I earned my MFA in graphic design so I could teach at the college/university level. My career as an educator provides health insurance and a consistent income. This (false?) sense of security liberates me to pursue my passion for experimental letterpress printmaking at night, on weekends, and over summer breaks. In my artistic practice, I often incorporate improvisation and chance processes—both are forms of risk. Not knowing what a design/composition will look like hones my ability to be present and responsive to relationships of form and color. If I’m excited about the direction a piece is going, knowing the next decision could ruin it can be nerve-wracking. But that keeps the work exciting!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
To me, one of the highest forms of creativity is to reimagine and repurpose something and give it a new life or meaning. I’m most proud of inventing a new printing technique. I call it “isotype” printing. This unique methodology makes it possible to safely and sustainably mask antique wood fonts to create abstract shapes. I use the “isotype” printing technique to make experimental typographic work that pushes the medium of letterpress printing forward while still honoring the centuries-old traditions and craftsmanship of printing from movable wood and metal type.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Denton, so that’s where I spend most of my free time. It’s hard to beat a day that begins with a pastry from Ravelin Bakery and coffee from West Oak Coffee Bar. For cocktail hour, we love Harvest House, Eastside, and Ten : One Artisan Cheese. Favorite dinner spots include Komodo Loco, 940’s Kitchen and Cocktails, Hanabi Ramen, and Hannah’s Off the Square. In Fort Worth, Ampersand Coffee is a great place to caffeinate before hitting up the Kimbell Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum—one of my favorite museums in the country. Acre Distilling is the perfect place to wind down and enjoy fantastic craft cocktails. Dallas has so many incredible museums. I’ve only lived in the DFW area since 2017, but I’ve already spent countless hours in the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Dallas Museum of Art. Also, the art on display at NorthPark Center is shockingly good. The best food experiences I’ve had in Dallas were at the now-defunct Top Knot (RIP), Velvet Taco, and a memorable Thanksgiving dinner at CBD Provisions. Also, the biscuits at Overeasy are worth the drive from Denton.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Giving credit and recognition to the people who have encouraged, loved, mentored, and supported me is super important. My life would not be possible without the boundless belief and love of my wife, Lauren Huber; my parents, Marvin and Tamara; and my brothers, Nathan and Adam. I also have a loooooong list of mentors, classmates, colleagues, and artistic heroes that I have to thank. In no particular order: Jim Sherraden, Paul Brown, James Reidhaar, Jenny El-Shamy, David Churchman, Jennifer Farrell, Ambica Prakash, Adrienne Hooker, Jeff Hanson, Vida Sačić, Greg Corrigan, Richard Zauft, Marnie Powers-Torrey, Amber Heaton, Claire Taylor, Mary Toscano, Andrew Shaw, Laura Decker, Emiline Twitchell, Emily Tipps, Becky Thomas, Ethan Ensign, Paul Alessini, Robert Buchert, Phaedra Charles, Amos Kennedy, Alexander Landerman, Jim Moran, Bill Moran, Bill Jones, Geri McCormack, Jeff Waldvogel, Jen Mayer, Chris Jennings, Andy Rogers, Tamara Grusin, Scott Moore, Erin Beckloff, Katherine Fries, Allison Fisher, Stephanie Carpenter, Klara Vith, Celene Aubry, David Shields, Brad Vetter, Rick Valicenti, John Pobojewski, Gloria Kondrup, Martin Venezky, Rick Griffith, Cynthia Mohr, Hepi Wachter, Clinton Carlson, Eric Ligon, Doug May, Stephen Zhang, Michael Gibson, Keith Owens, Troy Abel, Karen Dorff, Erica Holeman, Alicia Eggert, and Jenny Wilkson.