In just four years of existence, Pinball Publishing has gone from a humble little space on SE Clinton to a humble, much bigger warehouse space on SE Grant, stuffed with large, impressive pieces of machinery that look like they could kill a man. Known in the book world for its beautiful literary review (eye~rhyme) and poetry collections. Pinball's bread and butter is the print design work it does for a rather amazing clientele that includes Stumptown Coffee, the Motel Gallery, and Matt McCormick's PDX Film Fest. As Pinball gears up for its first open house party in its new space, I dropped by to ask head honchos Laura Brian and Austin Whipple two questions:
What does "printing" for a client entail exactly?
AUSTIN WHIPPLE: Printing includes anything from business cards to stationary systems to posters to music packaging to things like bookmarks.
But didn't you start Pinball as a publishing house for books and poetry?
AW: We never really felt that the publishing would be the way we would survive financially. It was the investment in the equipment that allowed us to publish [eye-rhyme and other] work that we did. Instead of spending $5000 or whatever on paying another press to print it, we were kind of like, "well, the little money that we have for this project--maybe we should invest it in equipment instead…"
LAURA BRIAN: The production tools give us flexibility. We break even on our own projects and then print projects for other people, which keeps everything afloat.
AW: It was never really our goal to say, "it needs to make enough that we can live on," because that completely changes your publishing goals.
LB: I think it can lead to some bitter feelings. You expect too much from something and then it disappoints you. At this point we're not expecting eye~rhyme to be a big moneymaker. The aim is to have a good time and to learn while we're doing it.