Given the city’s building boom, the presence of big machinery on San Francisco streets is not remarkable. But this past Sunday, a seven-ton 1924 Buffalo Springfield coal-powered steamroller doing printmaking directly on the surface of Rhode Island Street in Potrero captivated hundreds of on-lookers.
Sponsored by San Francisco Center for the Book, this annual event – Roadworks – brings together local artists who hand carve heavy-gauge linoleum blocks up to 3×3 feet. Paper is laid down directly on Rhode Island Street, the blocks – dubbed Battleship Linoleum – are inked and covered by thick mats, and the whole paper-block sandwich is steamrolled in two passes. Roots of Motive Power, the steamroller’s operators, tooted the steamroller’s whistle every time a pass on the press was made.
Local artists and businesses were on hand for demonstrations of related crafts. We joined our friends from Bell’occhio to do live demonstrations of calligraphy.