News | March 28, 2023

Arion Press Launch New Book Arts Residency

Arion Press

Vincent Valdez

Arion Press's new King Artist in Residency is a new book arts initiative in honor of the Grabhorn Institute’s late board chair Kevin King. The King Residency will bring visual artists to Arion’s historic facility to create and conceive book and print projects alongside the Press’s team of expert craftspeople.

Artists will have the opportunity for hands-on training and collaboration with Arion’s foundry, pressroom, and bindery and enjoy access to unique printmaking equipment, archives, and resources located at the historic press which, together with M&H Type, is America’s last printing facility where books are made from start to finish by hand under one roof. The King Residency has committed funding for three years and has assembled a Steering Committee of community leaders to guide the program. Each residency will be for up to six weeks, with studio and living space provided for the artist. 

Being onsite at Arion will give artists in-depth access to materials, tools, and tutorials–offering an inside look at the techniques and skills in the art of hand bookmaking. The King Residency’s mission is to offer contemporary artists the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of bookmaking and printing, the space to create powerful new work, and the chance to connect with the wider Bay Area arts world through a carefully curated calendar of events and visits.

The inaugural artist-in-residence is Texas-born painter Vincent Valdez, who will be working closely with the Arion staff to create the artwork for the Press’s upcoming edition of Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (set to be published in September 2023). Valdez will be in residence at the Press through April 17.

Vincent Valdez is recognized for his monumental portrayal of the contemporary figure. His drawn and painted subjects remark on a universal struggle within various socio-political arenas and eras. He states: “My aim is to incite public remembrance and to counter the distorted realities that I witness, like the social amnesia that surrounds us all.”  Valdez currently lives and works in Houston and Los Angeles.