Bryan Christopher Baker, 33
36th St between Ninth and Tenth Aves.
Mon Mar 8 2010
Photograph: Allison Michael Orenstein
Do you spell your name with a y to differentiate from the millions of Brian Bakers out there? No, but there is a silly reason for it: I'm from Sidney, Ohio, and since Sidney is spelled with an i, my mom made me Bryan with a y.
Cute. Is it bad that I think of Ohio as a flyover state? [Laughs] I would call that Indiana. Ohio has a couple of destinations. Like, there's, uh... Okay, nope. I guess you should just fly over it.
I will! What do you do? I am a letterpress printer and I teach people how to do letterpress work.
I'm always afraid of getting my hair stuck in one of those big heavy printer rolling things. That is a healthy fear. One of my close friends had her hair get totally caught in the rollers. But don't worry, it stopped the machine. She didn't get scalped.
Do you have time to make your own work? I do. I've been working with dice on the press and printing thousands and thousands and thousands of them. The prints have to do with fate and chance and controlling order.
Are you a closeted gambler? Mmm, no. I went to a casino once and lost, like, $100 in five minutes.
Do you take offense when people call printing a craft and not an art? Nah. It's the lay of the land. There's the old joke: What's the difference between a painting and a print? The answer is $5,000. [Laughs]
More from Bryan
"I'm a film buff. When you go out to a movie, you actually leave where you are and get involved in something else. It's great getting that submerged. My favorite film? The first that comes to mind is Orphe by Jean Cocteau."
"Before I came to New York, I lived in Knoxville, Tennessee. It's not totally backwoods and redneck. There's a certain stereotype that Tennessee has that's conjured from that movie Deliverance, but it's definitely not like that."
"A couple years ago, I started making fake paperwork. One series was an ingenuity-certification form, to determine if something was ingenious or not. I'd go around taking photos of items being used in a wholly new manner—like using a tennis ball to repair your van. The best one was a novelty giant foam cowboy hat. I came across a house where a section of the window had been busted out and they'd stuffed the top part of the hat through the window so that the brim sealed the hole. It was perfect."