Excellent printing history by its 20th-century makers — highly recommended!
— Terry Belanger
Founding Director, Rare Book School
This book is a series of amazing interviews with great figures in contemporary culture. While the interviews might have been intended for ephemeral publication, each of these is a keeper. With questions that sometimes take unexpected turns, Alastair Johnston has compiled a book that gets the neurons firing.
— Paul W Romaine
President, American Printing History Association
Conducted over the course of four decades, Hanging Quotes is a landmark oral history project comprised of nineteen interviews with pioneer book artists, typographers and poets. Alastair Johnston’s thoughtful questions evoke fascinating new stories and information from luminaries as diverse as Nicolas Barker & Robert Creeley. He discusses the transition from cast metal to digital type with the prime movers in the field: Matthew Carter, Sumner Stone & Fred Smeijers; and he takes stock of the field of artists’ books in wide-ranging conversations with Sandra Kirshenbaum and Joan & Nathan Lyons, while his ground-breaking interviews with Dave Haselwood, Holbrook Teter, Bob Hawley, Walter Hamady, & Graham Mackintosh shed new light on the history of the book in the 20th century.
Alastair Johnston, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, moved to California in the 1970s. On April Fool’s Day 1975, he and artist Frances Butler founded Poltroon Press in Berkeley. Johnston is the author of Alphabets to Order (British Library, 2000), three bibliographies of San Francisco Bay Area small presses (Auerhahn, White Rabbit & Zephyrus Image) and co-editor of William Loy’s Nineteenth-Century American Designers & Engravers of Type (Oak Knoll, 2009). His many articles on artists’ books and typography have established him as an authority in the field.