taring padi


The first two days with Taring Padi were spent doing smaller woodblock prints. This was a great way to introduce our class to the Taring Padi printmaking process, which is done without the use of a press. It was also the first time everyone got to work together as a group, and get to know each others artistic styles. At our next meeting with Taring Padi on Tuesday, we will determine as a group what the next step of the collaborative process is. There has been talk of creating one giant print together, which is something that Taring Padi has done before, but for our class will be a new experience in collaborative art-making that is less about the work of the individual artist, and more about the work of a collective. Stay tuned for more coming soon!!


After 2 full (and I do mean FULL) days of printing, our final collaborative print with Taring Padi is finished!

It takes a long time to print such a big image - and T.P. does it all without the use of a printmaking press.

First the block is inked with large rollers and a sheet of canvas is rolled taut around a large tube to get any wrinkles out. The block gets carried over from the inking station to the printing station where the canvas is carefully rolled onto the inked block. As the canvas is rolled out, newspaper is laid down and the person rolling out the canvas steps across the block itself.

THEN, the fun part. Instead of a press, use your bare feet! Printing large banner sized prints Taring Padi style actually means bare foot dance party!

After dancing to approximately three songs, we pull up the newspaper to check how well the ink is taking to the canvas. In lighter areas, newspaper is put back down for a bit more body weight. Then, everyone takes a breather while we pull the print off the block and hang it to dry. 

The title of our collaborative print with Taring Padi is “Nothing is Simple” or “Tidak Sederhana” (not simple) in Indonesian. The composition of the print is centered around the image of tree that mirrors itself at the center. Each side of the composition faces the center, meaning that the print can be hung in either vertical orientation and still be “right side up” and has the title in English on one side and Indonesian on the other. The complex imagery surrounding the tree depicts, from both American and Indonesian perspectives, ways that humans depend on and abuse their environments. 



We’ve begun work on a large (3.5ft by 8ft) woodblock with the members of Taring Padi.

In addition to the technical challenge of working on such a large piece, its been an incredible learning experience in the art of collaboration. Most of Taring Padi’s work responds to social, political, environmental, and economic issues in Indonesia. Through large banner sized woodblock prints they unpack the complexities of these issues with equally complex and layered visual imagery. We’ve been learning about Taring Padi’s collaborative process by being direct participants in it. 

They begin with a conversation - “What is our message? Who is our audience? What are the issues we want to communicate?” and through often long discussions, they break down the issues, sub-issues, and map out the connections between them. They then begin sketching - throwing out ideas for composition structures that seem to fit the conversation surrounding their topic and work together to create a visual representation of their desired message. 

The carving process is equally collaborative and challenges our western egos and notions of ownership in our work. Everyone sketches together. Everyone carves at the same time. It’s fair game to carve a section that someone else drew and also to edit or change a section that someone is working on. During this process of layering and editing, styles merge and messages connect. 

Our block centers around the broad topic of the way humans depend on and abuse their environment - with issues and perspectives from both the United States and Indonesia depicted in the negative space around the mirrored image of a tree with branches and roots.

A sneak peek only for now - stay tuned to see the final product!


In the winter semester class we had to prepare for our adventure to Yogyakarta we heard about the thriving art community here, but experiencing it is completely different. Every exhibition opening is packed, which is quite a feat since there is about an opening every single night on average. Street art is taken just as seriously as traditional fine art and to my knowledge it is just as socially acceptable in Indonesia to be an artist as it is to be an engineer or businessman. To be an artist is not a rarity. Of all the people I have met here, when I say I study art their follow up question is “What kind of art?” not, “Aren’t you worried about job stability?” The artists here are supportive of each other instead of being competitive or worried about stepping on each others’ toes. If I could bring back anything from Indonesia to Michigan it would be the amazing energy, involvement and camaraderie in the art community here.