Monday, January 3, 2011

Old Prints and an Interview

As I mentioned in an earlier post my interview for Printsy, the Printmakers of Etsy, was published online yesterday at Printsy. I had no idea when I decided to join Printsy about six weeks ago that I'd be lucky enough to get a published interview. So thank you Etsy, Printsy and Diane Podolsky of Printsy for setting up the interview.

I did have trouble deciding how to illustrate the post announcing this though. It didn't make sense to put up one of my recent linocuts since they've already been seen here quite recently.

So I hunted through my old prints, prints that I haven't looked at in many years. Both are over 25 years old. The top one is the oldest, a lithograph of a wintry view from Farwell Pier on the north side of Chicago. I learned lithography in the basement of the student union at UC Berkeley. I had moved to Berkeley from San Francisco in the summer before fall classes started so I wanted to be doing something. The classes at the student union were a lifesaver. I learned a lot about lithography and etching in a short time.

But I don't think I did more than two or three lithos. In fact I can find only two. Once I started classes I found that I loved painting so much that I never took an actual printmaking course in the art department. Painting was just too exciting.

And yet about 7 years later I did the above etching at Centre College of Kentucky where I was finishing two years of teaching art. I must have had nothing to do other than read while I was there because I don't know where else I would have gotten the experimental ideas that I used in this print. Some of the shapes are embossed. My guess is that I first printed the black and white section, then printed various colored plates all cut in the shapes that you see.

What is so odd about this, and something I indicate in my Printsy interview, is that I barely remember these. I don't even remember a print studio at Centre even though I taught at least one course in it. I don't remember the process that I used in this print even though it must have been a complicated one. In any case this print looks quite similar to the abstract paintings I was doing at the time. Perhaps artistic adventurousness convinced me to find some way to transform those paintings into etchings.

So I'll end this trip down Printmaking Memory Lane. But it has been enjoyable looking at these old prints. And they prove to me something that I said in the interview. I've spent very little time studying printmaking. I barely remember making many of the prints that I made in the past. And yet the opportunity to make prints, whether at Berkeley or at Centre, always seemed to be there when I felt like making prints. Today I no longer have access to a printmaking studio or press and have printed all my linocuts at home by hand with a baren. If I get much more involved with printmaking I nay need to see if my lucky streak holds out of finding a printmaking studio just when I happen to need it.

No comments: