The Prints and the Paper aims to become a local staple of graphic art and oddities
As you walk into The Prints and the Paper shop, it’s impossible to keep your eyes fixed on one object.
The store contains a variety of graphic art, one-off graphic novels, pop-up books, oddities, coffee table books and an array of other unique trinkets.
Owner Sandy Muldrew, a former CBC video editor, sits near the back. Behind him is a giant inked mural of New York City from one of his favourite books New York, Line by Line created by graphic arts pioneer, Robinson.
Muldrew opened up the shop after his 13-year position at CBC was eliminated. Rather than fall into a wave of unemployed depression, he saw an opportunity.
“There were shops I’d seen when I was travelling Europe, like in Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, and they really caught my eye,” Muldrew says. “Like the oddities kind of pop-culture shops. I thought Edmonton needed more of those.”
Since graduating from SAIT’s film program in 1997, Muldrew has always had a passion for graphic arts. He had always maintained an adoration for film, being one of the co-owners of the now-defunct video store Sneak Preview.
“I really like silkscreen prints of graphic art and I’ve never really seen it sold really anywhere,” he says.
After his initial inspiration, Muldrew set up shop at a space on 124 Street across from Duchess Bake Shop and got to work. His choice of location was important and a well-thought-out decision.
“I wanted to be on this street because there are the fine art galleries down the road,” he says. “I wanted to be an alternative, affordable, original art store. Graphic prints are usually pretty rare. There’s 200 made with artist autographs and it’s not a poster, there are actual layers of ink and colour.”
There were quite a few renovations needed to be done to the space before Muldrew’s vision could be actualized.
“This was a women’s clothing shop and the floors were sort of purple-pink,” he laughs. “There was dressing rooms and this big monolith thing blocking the window, so it was very dark in here.”
Thanks to he and his brother’s handiwork, the shop now has an industrial-type feel with each pop-culture section spaced out appropriately.
Muldrew is currently the only person who works in the shop and does all the framing himself.
“People can bring in their own prints or I can find prints to frame for them,” he says. “You’re dealing with balances of colours and there’s a precision that is needed, kind of like video editing. I love choosing the right dimensions of the frame and matching the right colours so the print will really pop. It’s kind of like a piece of art that comes to life.”
Muldrew is extremely passionate about what he sells and has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of every item in the shop.
“There’s not one thing in the store that I don’t like,” he says. “I’m not like a car salesman who lies about everything.”
After I spot a pop-up book of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, Muldrew is delighted to tell me about the artist. You can tell he’s flipped through this piece quite a few times, as he points of the intricate details on every page.
“There’s definitely a realism to graphic art, like in Tintin,” he explains.
Muldrew is still constantly adding to his collection. He happily tells me about a few pieces he wants to obtain, with one standing out in particular.
“There’s a store in Amsterdam called The Otherist and they have this big black crow that sits and makes a 3D graphic outline,” he says. “I figured out where I can get them, but I’d have to sell them for 130 bucks a piece. But it would be cool to have one just hanging off a wall in the store.”
Anyone remotely interested in pop culture or oddity treasure is likely to find a trinket of their own at Muldrew’s shop.
“The goal is to become an institution in the city to come and get fun and unique items,” he says. “Maybe people will pop in because they’re going to the Duchess. You’ll always find something new when you come in here.”
The Prints and the Paper
10725 124 St.