I was out with a friend a few weeks ago, checking out the ghost town that is James St. N on a Monday afternoon. Besides choosing one of the worst days to cross stitch along James St., it was worth it, because even when the galleries aren't open, the street still hums with action.
Us being desperate to look at anything on paper, I found myself shyly edging into The Assembly, in hopes that we could still catch a show. What I found was a room of bare walls, and a very humble Mark Byk keeping the place warm. He let us look at the only remnants of what we sought (a single print left behind) but more importantly, he let us know about Ampersand Ampersand.Whenever I get one of those business cards that promote artists I almost always dismiss whoever is on the giving end of it. This is rude. I can't say that I was not rolling my eyes when I put the bare looking card in my wallet, but I can say that I am glad it ended up there.
Mark Byk and Kristine Tortora who occupy both the name Ampersand Ampersand and The Assembly, are two graphic designers that impress me every time I see one of their posters. I'm overjoyed to see such strong work come from designers who choose to call Hamilton their home. It is great to see posters on the street that don't share the same polluted aesthetic that goes into the usual event bill.