I recently heard of the death of the painter and printmaker Will Barnet at the ripe old age of 101. The New York Times wrote a very nice obit for him. Before reading it I knew next to nothing about his life, but I did know his work.
For my entire life I remember seeing a beautiful Will Barnet aquatint etching on my parents’ wall–his Blue Robe. It’s images like these that I am now identifying as small influences on my aesthetic subconscious, boiling up in my own work in ways I might not always be able to identify or understand. It’s beautiful and exciting and wild that my brain is constantly in the process of sorting and reworking all the information that has entered my eyes.
I wanted my first litho to poke at the machismo associated with this particular print medium. The commentary would have been more successful if I had etched my stone properly, but such is the finicky way of printmaking. On the bright side, now I have a new embroidery project.
Why I Haven’t Been On the Internet: or, so many shows, so little time…
This very December I will walk across a stage to receive a leather diploma case indicating that I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Printmaking from Arizona State University. Actual diploma will arrive in a cardboard envelope weeks and weeks later, by which point only my mother will care.
Before I graduate I get to have a few lovely shows and I hope that if you are anywhere near Tempe, Arizona, you will go visit them and see for yourself. I would be enormously flattered.
I was asked to make an interactive print, so I came up with the idea of pay-it-forward thank you cards. Each person to receive one of these can fill out one and send the remaining two to a person they choose to thank, and whoever they choose to thank can fill out and send out the final card to someone else. I sent out 12, with the hope that 36 people will ultimately be thanked. I was raised to send thank you cards to people who have given you a gift or let you stay in their home, etc., but there is something better about expressing your appreciation without obligation or provocation.
You have so many people to be grateful for. Remember to tell them what they mean to you.
Moving to the DC metro area (note: without every having visited) has been such an eye opening experience. The amount of amazing art, architecture, and visual stimuli I am exposed to on a regular basis is a little mind-blowing. In the desert I had (unfortunately) became immune to my surroundings, traveling with glazed eyes between my house and campus. Now my eyes are filled with epic monuments and stately architecture and design–centuries of national hubris expressed through art. The result is so awe-inspiring it might make a patriot out of me yet.
I want my own art to reflect my new surroundings, but first I have to process everything I am seeing.
These images look as if they were taken in what could be a torture room or a really, really sketchy lab, but they were actually taken in an intaglio studio (soooo…a little bit of both?). For those who are not print nerds, intaglio is a form of printmaking in which lines are scratched, or etched with acid, onto a matrix (usually copper, zinc, or Plexiglas). Ink is spread onto the matrix and carefully wiped off the surface, leaving ink in the recessed lines. Dampen some paper, print under high pressure, and voila! The ink is sucked out of those little lines and sits in microscopic mounds on your paper. It’s really quite beautiful.
It’s also kind of dangerous.
I’ve been using x-acto knives (with no major incident) since I was a little kid, so I am pretty cocky when it comes to safety. My cockiness got kicked back a notch after some nitric acid made its way into my glove.
Turns out that hurts pretty bad.
Intaglio studio, you may have won the last round, but I’ll be back. Mark my words.
On Tuesday I moved to Silver Spring, Maryland to begin my new position as a Visiting Artistic Staff member at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center…and just in time to catch the polar vortex! Icy toes and printmaking, here I come!
When my grandma was in town for the holidays she unexpectedly gave me a little baggie full of stuff. Old spools of thread, bobbins, sewing machine parts, and little dolls that used to hang on to a pin cushion.
These are the sorts of things that inspire me. Not just the objects themselves, but the gesture involved.