video and words by Bridget McQuillan
The strong smell of paint is the first thing you notice. Then it's the consistent hum of machines working, moving and churning, interrupted by a startlingly loud buzzing sound every so often. “We try to warn people about that,” says Pat Oakes, production manager at Ink Tank Merch. “Sometimes I forget: You kind of get used to it.”
Aside from the sounds and smells, there are the walls lined with beautifully crafted concert posters that have been printed with patience at Ink Tank, near 89th and H streets. “The thing I like about screen printing is that the colors are so much more vibrant than with offset printing,” Oakes says. “There’s a very hands-on process to making the posters.”
Saddle Creek Records opened Ink Tank in 2006 when their T-shirt orders for bands were getting out of hand. The record label brought in Chris Easterbrooks to run the operation. Oakes, along with art director Leann Jensen, followed soon after. The three now print a few concert posters a month, and spend the rest of their time on T-shirt orders. When Hear Nebraska visited, Ink Tank was screen-printing a poster for Maha Music Festival’s VIP ticket holders.
For an inside look at Ink Tank and the process behind printing the poster, see the video below:
Bridget McQuillan is a Hear Nebraska intern. She spent some time in Limerick, and now her editor gets kicks from writing lines that somehow rhyme and make him Irish for airplane tix. Reach Bridget at email@example.com.