Michelle Dreher

Artist Profile No. 3

illustrator / Screen printer
Spring 2010

Words by Michelle Tyrene Johnson
Cover Photo by Jennifer Wetzel

Michelle Dreher lives in the house that art built

More accurately, it’s because of art and her time taking Artist INC about 10 years ago that she found and bought the building from which she runs her art business.

Michelle Dreher developing prints on one of the many traditional letterpresses at her studio in Kansas City.
Michelle Dreher Spring 2010

is an
& printer

Artist INC was a really good place to spend time thinking about which direction I wanted to move into.

Artist INC helped Dreher move further down her path more quickly. “It was a really good place to spend time thinking about which direction I wanted to move into and how to focus and how to have a cohesive vision of where I wanted the ship to go,” Dreher says.

Michelle Dreher Spring 2010

Buying the building helped with having a place for printing and silk screening.

“Someone told me that you can never go wrong investing in yourself,” Dreher says.

When Dreher took the seminar, she had been looking at buying property but had not been having much luck. But one night, one of the speakers who came to speak to her Artist INC cohort was Julie Nelson Meers from Missouri Bank, who discussed some of the financial implications of being an artist.

You can never go wrong investing in yourself.

the right time the right place the right price

Dreher introduced herself to Meers and talked to her about her dilemma in being able to find a building for her art that she could afford. Meers was supportive and helpful.

So Dreher eventually found a place.

“I kind of had some ideas about what to look for as far as the potential of a neighborhood. And so this area was like the ideal spot for me and we just stumbled on this building, kind of by accident,” Dreher says. “And then it was just the right time, the right place, the right price.”

Two Tone Press

It was on me to pursue it.

Two Tone Press is on 31st and Gillham, a growing and increasingly popular area for artists and those who love art.

“A lot of support comes from my family so without them I wouldn’t have been able to follow through with securing this,” Dreher says. “That being said, it’s like it was on me to pursue it and to get the information and to pave the groundwork for that.”

Artist INC makes you think about your goals as an artist

Dreher says one of the most important aspects of Artist INC is that it makes you step out of the busyness of life to think about your goals as an artist and how you want to go forward.

As part of buying the building, it’s not just that Dreher bought a building for her art, she has built a community; including creating Print League KC, a community print shop, which includes classes in printmaking and paper arts.

Michelle Dreher Spring 2010

building a successful artistic practice

A constantly paying forward gift

Community, ownership, and the joy and pride in building a successful artistic practice that also benefits others is the constantly paying forward gift that Artist INC provided to Dreher.

Artist Gallery

In 1997, Michelle Dreher moved to Kansas City, Missouri to attend the Kansas City Art Institute where she would have her first experience with a Vandercook SP15 press. She immediately fell in love with its precision and simplistic mechanisms. After graduating, she worked at a local letterpress shop where she was able to further hone her skills. In 2005, she left that job and started Two Tone Press in the industrial West Bottoms district of Kansas City. The studio began with a non-motorized Vandercook No. 3, 10x15 Chandler and Price, and a handful of type cabinets on the top floor of a large and drafty warehouse building.

Folk It Up Reductive linocut
11” x 14”
Folk’N Right! Reductive linocut
11” x 14”
Path of Totality Reductive and
multi-block linocut
19“ x 12.5”
Ad Astra per Aspera Reductive and multi-block linocut
11” x 14”
No Wrong Roads Reductive and multi-block linocut
12.5” x 12.5”
Show Me State Reductive and multi-block linocut
11” x 14”
Shuttershock Reductive and multi-block linocut
Multi-block linocut
12” x 15.25”
The Band That Fell To Earth Reductive and multi-block
linocut with polymer plated text
12” x 18”
Double Moon Multi-block linocut
12” x 18”
Strange Worlds Multi-block linocut
12.5” x 18”
Michelle Dreher Spring 2010

it’s a
it’s a

“I thought that what was really unique about Artist INC. is that you treat art like a business, which a lot of kids in art school don’t realize,” she says. “They have ethereal, lofty ideas of what it is to be an artist. But it’s a career, it’s a business.”