Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

Start watching
SoCal Update

SoCal Update

Start watching
a large damn with graffiti of a woman with a hammer on it, mountains in the background

Earth Focus Presents

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
Professor T

Professor T (Belgium)

Start watching
Artbound

Artbound

Start watching
Emma

Emma

Start watching
Guilt

Guilt

Start watching
Line of Separation Key Art.

Line of Separation

Start watching
Us

Us

Start watching
The Latino Experience

The Latino Experience

Start watching
Key Art of "Summer of Rockets" featuring Keeley Hawes and Toby Stephens.

Summer of Rockets

Start watching
Death in Paradise Series 10

Death in Paradise

Start watching
millionaire still

KCET Must See Movies

Start watching
Independent Lens

Independent Lens

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Earth Focus

Earth Focus

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

Church of Type’s Homegoing

Church of Type panoramic | Courtesy of Church of Type
Support Provided By

In just five years, Kevin Bradley’s letterpress emporium the Church of Type has become a landmark destination for artisanal, slow culture Los Angeles. His Santa Monica shop has printed some 500,000 items, in editions from monoprints (his own art) to 200 (the minimum order) to as many as 10,000, from rock ‘n’ roll posters to wedding announcements. What makes this feat so impressive is that Church of Type is not only pretty much a one-man outfit, but it’s also 100 percent computer-free. “This is Gutenberg technology!” effuses Bradley, “not the soulless, cold black dot that is the pixel. Does the human hand really matter? Well, it had better, because I’ve invested my life in it. It’s old-school, but I’ve been trying to make it new for 30 years.” 

Church of Type interior | Justin Cram
Church of Type interior | Justin Cram
Sample works from Church of Type | Courtesy of Church of Type
Sample works from Church of Type | Courtesy of Church of Type

Though he often did street fairs like the Abbot Kinney and Santa Monica festivals. He is, no pun intended, a tireless evangelist for this art form. In his persistent and impossibly disarming Southern accent, Bradley is relentlessly humble about his success and the impact he has had on the city’s makers-based landscape. “I’m just a hillbilly kid, and I survived this long, that’s a real success!” He jokes that he has “no idea” what kind of movement he sparked because he “never left the shop.” The Church of Type has been open to the public every day. “I’m a tour guide from 9 to 5,” he says, “and an artist 5 to midnight.” His personal work includes super large-scale like 10-foot pieces, taking advantage of what has been the biggest letterpress in L.A. at 10 x 4 feet, and creating literary works laid out in his fonts, which exist as both images and stories, which he calls “screenplays.” 

Now at the end of February, Bradley will pack up his church — er, shop —  and its 30 tons of equipment and inventory, and head home to Tennessee (not quite to his hometown, but close). Bradley doesn’t see it as the end, just one end among many in life, the kind that that clears the way for a fresh start. Like so many before him, he didn’t intend to even stay as long as he did. A year, maybe. That was in 2012. “I was on my own when I got here,” he recounts. “I didn’t advertise or anything, I just hung out my shingle and got to work. I was discovered here while I was still discovering the city.” He had known Annie Adjchavanich (who had been working with La Luz de Jesus and various indie-art outlets) from their Washington, D.C. days at the Corcoran, about 25 years ago. Through her, he met the late, great gallerist, publisher, and collector of Lowbrow art, Greg Escalante, along with his cohorts like Craig Stecyk and Paul Frank. “Those guys were amazing,” he remembers. “So welcoming. I love every single person I met here.” 

But his lease is up March 1st, and he’s really leaving. If you’ve never been or if it’s been too long, this is your last chance to see what it’s all about and to pick up some art from the archives. He’ll be in the shop every day until he leaves. Though he’s too tired from all this packing up to throw himself a party, he says “If you come by before the end of February, we’ll have a going-away shot of whiskey together!” 

3215 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica (10am–6pm, Monday–Saturday, 12–5pm, Sunday, through February 28.

Johnny Cash Handprinted Woodblock Poster | Courtesy of Church of Type
Johnny Cash Handprinted Woodblock Poster | Courtesy of Church of Type
Make Ready | Courtesy of Church of Type
Make Ready | Courtesy of Church of Type
Robots series | Courtesy of Church of Type
Robots series | Courtesy of Church of Type
Robot series | Courtesy of Church of Type
Robot series | Courtesy of Church of Type

Top Image: Church of Type Robot series | Courtesy of Church of Type

Support Provided By
Read More
A mural showing Frederick Douglass in the middle, flanked by an African American man holding an African American child on one side and a Black soldiers and slaves on the other side.

12 SoCal Public Art Projects That Explore Race and Marginalized Histories

In an era where many old monuments are being torn down and history is being rewritten, learn how public art rooted in inclusivity can help right the wrongs of history.
A band, composed of (from left to right) a guitarist, a bassist, a singer, a trumpet player and a saxophone player, performs on a stage. They're all wearing suit jackets and playing their respective instruments. The singer in the middle is pointing out to a crowd. Behind them are neon pink and yellow lights that provide a hazy glow in the backdrop.

Southern California's Role in Soul Music's Major Revival

Though the artists at Brooklyn-based record label Daptone Records shaped and led the soul music revival through the turn of the century, a handful of artists in Southern California were also hard at work placing their own stamp in the growing scene.
Different types of piñatas are on display in white vitrines or hung on the ceiling and walls.

New Piñata Exhibit Is the First of Its Kind in L.A.

There has never been a piñata exhibit in L.A. until now. A new exhibit at Craft in America celebrates the art of this beloved Latinx cultural icon.