Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Every Taco Tells a Story, Don't It? Screen-Printed Tortillas Come to Cherokee Street for Southern Graphics Conference

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Jesus ain't got nothing on this tortilla operation executed by artist Kim Wardenburg and Eric Woods, owner of Firecracker Press. - FIRECRACKER PRESS
  • Firecracker Press
  • Jesus ain't got nothing on this tortilla operation executed by artist Kim Wardenburg and Eric Woods, owner of Firecracker Press.

On the surface, Cherokee Street seems fairly diverse: indie printers and hipster stores co-existing with Mexican grocers and restaurants, hip-hop clothiers and Asian-owned beauty-supply shops. Dig down a little, though, and you realize that neither the clientele nor the owners do much mingling.

What better way to shake things up than by breaking bread together? Or, more appropriately in the case of Cherokee Street, tacos?

Over the past few months, artist Kim Wardenburg worked with Eric Woods, owner of Firecracker Press, to interview neighborhood residents and business owners about their own histories and the story of Cherokee Street. Wardenburg furthered the collaboration by turning to Carlos Dominguez of Carniceria Latino Americana and Ana Rivera of El Chico Bakery.

You can see the product of that project this Friday from 5 to 10 p.m., in the form of the Printmakers' Special, a taco cart that will set up for the evening near 2800 Cherokee Street. The flour tortillas will be screen-printed with twelve assorted designs in edible ink.

FIRECRACKER PRESS
  • Firecracker Press

The designs, printed to order while the patron watches, depict members of the Cherokee Street community; the tacos will be wrapped with paper bearing screen-printed text from the interviews. The price -- in the neighborhood of five bucks for three tacos -- makes this genuine limited-edition art a real value, even if you are destined to wolf it down in the next ten minutes.

The first 250 paid customers will receive a free zine, Cherokee Street: A Collaboratory of Edible Ideas, which contains interview transcripts, information about the project and background about Cherokee Street.

In her student days, Wardenburg screen-printed on flatbread as a way of generating discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but felt frustrated by the lack of tangible impact. With the Printmakers' Special, she'll see results right on the spot.

The cart is only one element of a much larger series of events throughout St. Louis beginning on Wednesday, as part of theSouthern Graphics Council International conference. Conference organizers expect to draw 1,500 to 2,000 attendees. During the day the doings will skew toward the academic, but beginning on Thursday convention-goers will congregate in a different neighborhood each evening. Thursday's Delmar, Friday's Cherokee Street and Saturday is downtown and Grand Center.

Click here for more information about Southern Graphics Council International Conference-related events.

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