Miami artist Tom Virgin incorporated Extra Virgin Press, LLC in early 2016, after receiving a Knight Arts Challenge Grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in November 2015. Extra Virgin Press also received a Wavemaker/Long Haul Grant from Cannonball Miami in 2016. A printmaker for more than 40 years, Virgin began creating artist’s books in 2002. His award-winning books are included in two surveys of book arts. His books and prints are in public collections including PAMM, Walker Art Center, UC-San Diego, Jaffe Center for Book Arts, Wells College, and the Bienes Museum of the Modern Book.
The Miami 100s were created in May 2018 by 14 of Miami’s finest writers. Each of had collaborated with myself/Extra Virgin Press in the SWEAT Broadsheet Collaboration or another project prior to this one. They were asked to provide me with 100 characters to print on text-based broadsheets: prose, poetry, prayer, rant, koan, or story.
My goal for these 14 broadsheets with words from 14 friends was to introduce Miami writers to my writer friends at an artists’ residency at The Anderson Center at Tower View in Red Wing, Minnesota. Facing the prospect of arriving to my studio, for the seventh time in 2018, with no new work for the walls, was devastating. So, I brought my Miami writer friends to the folks in Minnesota, on paper. It was love at first read. The Midwest 100s followed directly, but that is another story.
Tom Virgin, Extra Virgin Press
Extra Virgin Press has been creating community with letterpresses since 2015, with support from Knight Foundation, Oolite Arts, a Wavemaker, MDC Cultural Affairs, Miami Foundation, and community partners. The mission of EVP is to help preserve the art of letterpress printing in Miami through teaching, printing, and bringing together a variety of community voices, including youth and the literary and artistic residents of Miami.
Tom Virgin is a Miami artist, proprietor of Extra Virgin Press, and former Title I public school art teacher. Virgin received his BFA from Florida Atlantic University in 1989, and an MFA in printmaking at the University of Miami in 1994. He studied printmaking, book arts, and letterpress in more than 40 postgraduate classes around the United States, and teaches workshops in those subjects.
Born and raised in Detroit, on jazz, blues, Motown, and rock and roll, Virgin has now spent twice as much time in Florida than in his native Michigan. Residencies around the U.S. in artists’ communities and national parks have also informed his practice. His work in prints, collaborations, book arts, and public art often depict shared civic resources, such as public schools, national parks, and social justice.