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CULTURE

Yee-Haw Industries

by Doug Black
on 03 July 2008
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Housed in a turn-of-the-century storefront between theaters and restaurants on Gay Street —Knoxville, Tennessee's main thoroughfare—Yee-Haw Industries has become something of an institution. Since 1996, founders Julie Belcher and Kevin Bradley have been producing striking posters and fine art prints, strictly using classic hand-pressed printing techniques.

Having more than a small obsession with Americana and classic American musicians, Yee-Haw began by making folk art-inspired woodcuts of figures like Loretta Lynn and Hank Williams, Sr. They eventually caught the eye of current musical acts, who hired the pair to make art and concert posters for them. As their output increased, they moved into their current location 10 years ago, a length of time reflected by the scores of posters that completely blanket the studio's walls and ceiling.

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On a recent visit to Knoxville, I was drawn into the storefront when a striking Obama poster (above) in their display caught my eye. I later learned that it was printed on hand-carved wood that's over 100 years old. This technique creates the imperfect ink coverage and makes each print unique. The studio's front is used as a shop where they sell their limited and one-of-a-kind prints on 100-percent recycled paper. I particularly enjoyed their series of small prints featuring various soul-singers with colorful biographical commentary (pictured below, click for detail).

If you can't make it to The Marble City anytime soon, purchase Yee-Haw prints at their online store or through Etsy.

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