For Leslie Ross-Robertson, the medium of letterpress brings together the detailed mechanics of printing with the creative processes of art. Her prints, often richly hued and meticulously layered, are printed with her Vandercook SP-20 Proof Press. Her images are first drawn on the computer before being transformed into negatives and then photopolymer plates. The use of photopolymer plates is a contemporary technical update to traditional printmaking and is incredibly versatile, allowing for extraordinary detail with multiple passes as well as rich passages of color.
Ross-Robertson is inspired by modernism—its aesthetics, but also its notions of social progress and hopeful outlook for the future. These letterpress prints reflect her interest in the architecture and landscape of Southern California, the posters of the WPA Federal Art Project, and in the imagery of science textbooks and encyclopedias of the 1950s and 60s. Importantly, she approaches such images with a medium that is at once historic and updated for the present.
In 2001, Ross-Robertson founded Modern Optic, a contemporary letterpress studio in Los Angeles. Through Modern Optic, she has produced two lines of stationery and prints and has provided custom work for artists, architects, and designers. In 2012, she started Wavelength Press, working in collaboration with contemporary artists to produce special edition prints. To date, collaborating artists have included Lecia Dole-Recio, Harsh Patel, Steve Roden, Alison Saar and Evie Shockley, Aram Saroyan, Brian Sharp, and Jonas Wood.
She currently manages Laboratory Press at Otis College of Art and Design and teaches Letterpress for Designers for Extension at Otis College of Art & Design.