30 October 2010

Monotype & Monoprint

This week I taught a workshop in monotype / monoprint.
The students loved it, and many of them returned the next day to mass-produce more prints,
it reminded me how much fun the process can be!

I usually demonstrate the basics of additive and subtractive methods first,
and then introduce alternative techniques of using stencils and texture, and tracing etc

Ruth Sumner, Grid,  1998
Monotype / Monoprint

 I must say I also learned something new this week:
I've always thought of the terms monoprint and monotype as being the same thing.
Although the process is exactly the same, I discovered there is a distinction between the two terms.

Monotypes are when the artist works on a clean and unetched plate.
Such as this example from Beth Charles.

Beth Charles, Half Light, 2010
Monotype, collage and pastel, 56x43cm
Monoprints are defined by the inclusion of a pattern or part of an image which is repeated in each print.
Artists may use plates etched with an outline or complete image
and select areas to add or subtract ink to add painterly effects,
or they may incorporate some kind of repeated pattern such as lace or leaf textures.
This second example has an etched silhouette with the monoprinted sky.

Beth Charles, Epicentre, 2009
Monoprint, collage and stitch on paper, 59x64cmm.
(Finalist in the New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Award, 2010)

I hope that might help clarify the terms for you as well.

Here is a great video from Double Elephant Print Workshop (UK)
showing the monoprint process:

And let us know if there are monotype & monoprint artists you like
by adding a comment to this post (with website if possible).

Julia Morison

Julia Morison has just released a new series of work called
Ringing the Changes in ‘Plain Bob Minor’

It is made up of a suite of 60 monoprint etchings,
each print is a one off made up of a unique combination of 6 individual plates.
This is a project that has taken several years from conception to completion.
Such an inventive idea, I like how the modules fit together so seamlessly.

Julia Morison, Ringing in the Changes, 2010
Monoprint Etchings, 195 x 660mm, edition of 60
A selection of these new prints can be viewed
 6-10 November at 10/75 Peterborough St, Christchurch
or contact Watermark Printworkshop for more information.

25 October 2010

1866's Guide to Etching

I just read a very interesting link from Project Gutenburg (via CPCANZ).
It is a technical handbook called A Treatise on Etching
for all things to do with making and printing etchings, first written in 1866, by Maxime Lalanne.

An example from the eBook, explaining flat biting and stop-out

This 2nd edition, updated in 1880, was translated from French.
There are several e-book versions available on their website,
if you just want to browse then here is the link to view it on the internet:

It is amazing how little it has changed since 1800s, this guide is remarkably thorough.
I even learned a few extra valuable hints, such as how to deal with 'accidents'.
If you love etching then check it out. 

I especially enjoyed the translator's notes at the end,
they remind me of the notes I write to myself in the margins of my workbooks and visual diaries.

21 October 2010

Andrea Mae Miller

Another very interesting artist I found recently is Andrea Mae Miller

Born and raised in Northland,
Andrea obtained her BFA from Otago Polytechnic in 2002.
She then established her studio, called St Peter’s Thumb, in Petone.
In 2006 she spent a year living and working in Copenhagen, Denmark,
then she returned to NZ in 2007, setting up St Peter’s Thumb again,
this time in Eastbourne, Lower Hutt.

The work is been inspired different experiences:
from a West Coast road trip from Nelson to Greymouth,
to visiting both the Zoology museum in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Andrea Mae Miller, Tieke, 2010
Bamboo Etching, 16x32cm, edition of 7

Her works definitely reference NZ,
with woodcuts and bamboo etching 
 of landscapes, fish, ferns, hooks, flax etc.

Andrea has 2 exhibitions coming up soon:
Artbourne Exhibition 2010 is on 29-31 October 2010 at Wellesley College, Days Bay
Small Works (Group Show) is on 5-24 November 2010 at LeSA Gallery, Petone

Andrea Mae Miller, Microcosm 1, 2010
Bamboo etching, 28x28cm, edition of 17

If you can't make it to those shows, she has a very extensive gallery online, 
I recommend you check out her stylish website here:

20 October 2010

Information is Beautiful

I found a new interesting website today that I thought I'd share with you:
It is about how you can communicate 'information' better by making it visual instead of numerical.

Colours in Cultures

This may not be specific to printmaking, but is an interesting discussion about visual culture
which I thought you artists and designers might be interested in.
It's very cool graphics as well as informative, so check it out!

It includes: The Billion-Dollar-o-Gram, What Every Conty In The World Is Best At,
The True Size of Africa, How Many Nukes Will Destroy the World?
Dr Who's Time Travel Timeline, Social Networking, and many many more...

18 October 2010

How Could We Resist?

are currently touring a show called How Could We Resist?
Over 60 exquisite miniatures by 45 printmakers.

This travelling show of miniature prints is
currently at MVH Gallery at Marlborough Vintners Hotel in Blenheim from 22 Sept - 7 Nov
and next to be hosted by the Art Gallery at the Taupo Museum from 20 Nov - 14 Dec 2010.

The prints are miniatures (each no larger than 75mm x 75mm)
created with various printmaking techniques including etching, screenprints, woodcuts and monoprints.
New prints have been added at each stop of this travelling exhibition
to keep the exhibition fresh and to showcase the work of local CPCANZ members.
All just $100 per print, or $150 framed.

Art Vending Machines

I was reminded about these 'art vending machines' I read about ages ago.
It amuses me the variety of reactions that it evokes, from outrage to amusement,
so thought I'd post it here and see what you think...

"iArtist London enables you to make real contemporary pieces of art.
The world’s first affordable DIY high art sets."

Various vending machines contain 'kits' to make replicas of famous artworks,
such as Banksy, Damian Hirst, Tracy Emin, Marc Quinn, Rachel Whiteread, etc

iArtist Banksy Kit contains one spray can and a A4 stencil,
each kit has one of 6 of Banksy's famous designs you can spray anywhere.

For The Love of God by Damien Hirst consisted of a platinum cast of a human skull
encrusted with 8601 diamonds including a massive pear-shaped one on the forehead.
It cost 14-million pounds to produce... This D.I.Y. replica costs 49.99!

They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery... but is this taking it too far???

15 October 2010

Woodcut Tools

In my 'spare time' this week I've been testing out some woodcut tools,
trying to determine which is the best option
when teaching classes and for students to purchase for their own use.

Top: Pfeil Chisels (left), Edward Lyons Wood Carve Set (right)
Bottom: Yoshi Japanese Woodcut Tools, GX (left), box of 7 (right)
Here is the range of options I've got to play with at the moment:

Pfeil chisels (available from Carba-tec NZ)
Swiss made, constructed with chrome vanadium alloy.
These are serious wood carving chisels!
Great quality but less maneuverable.
I have a set that includes 9/5 & 9/7 gouges, 12/6 & 12/10 60-degree V's,
and fine tips 11 & 12  with palm handles for detail.
Dimensions of tools: Handle length 13.5cm, diameter 2.2cm, shaft length 11cm.
Cost: $50-$100 per chisel!

This set of 6 have straight handles (but also comes as palm or ball handle options)
or can be purchased individually to suit your needs.
Made from high-carbon tool steel, they are heat treated and tempered
to the ideal hardness for carving wood or lino, and easily resharpened.
Set has 2 gouges, a knife, a V tool, a straight chisel and a bent chisel tool.
Dimensions of tools: Handle length 10cm, diameter 2.2cm, shaft length 6cm.
Cost: Approx $100 for set of 6, or $20 each.

Yoshiharu Japanese Woodcut Set (available from National Art Supplies)
Set of 5 (on left) with soft grey rubber handles, 'easy' on the hands and non-slip.
Comes with strong plastic case, each tool colour-coded with blade shape.
Can be sharpened. (GX are slightly better quality than the TX range)
Dimensions of tools: Handle length 13cm, diameter 1.5cm, shaft length 2.5cm.
Set of 7 comes in cardboard box, with thin 15cm wooden handles. Can be sharpened.
Dimensions of tools: Handle length 15cm, diameter 1.5cm, shaft length 2.5cm.
Cost: Approx $70 for set of 7
The ones with wooden handles can also be ordered separately for $10 each.

There are also the very economical Chinese boxed sets
stocked by some art supply and hardware stores, often for ridiculously cheap prices.
I dare say 'you get what you pay for' as far as quality goes,
they don't respond well to sharpening, but sufficient for a one-off project.
Cost: Approx $10-15 for set of 10.

Our students are generally using MDF to make woodcuts, rather than grained wood, 
as it is easier to cut and sufficiently durable for editions of less than 50 prints.
I am keen to get your feedback and ideas from those of you who make woodcuts
as to what tools you use, and if you have any other recommendations...

What do you think???  Any feedback welcome!

14 October 2010

Take It From Here on Breakfast TV

It was awesome to see the Take It From Here exhibition
on Breakfast programme this morning!

If you missed it, you can watch it here:
Take It From Here on Breakfast TV
It is just the first 1 minute
(the rest is about other Manukau Festival of the Arts events)

There are only 1000 copies of each of the 12 posters,
and you can see from the video that there is a wide variety of artworks included.

The Breakfast team have some... Go get yours!!!

11 October 2010

2 Films on Printing Type

On Saturday 23 October 6.30pm, Lopdell House in Titirangi are showing 2 films
Typeface and Proceed and Be Bold!

These very special films about printing with metal and wood type
will appeal to art and graphic design enthusiasts,
to teachers as an educational resource,
and to anyone looking for a film about perseverance and preservation.
Presented in partnership with the Association of Handcraft Printers.

Typeface focuses on a rural Midwestern museum and print shop
where international artists meet retired craftsmen
and together navigate the convergence of modern design and traditional technique.

Proceed and Be Bold! tells the story of Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.
and how he abandoned the traditional American Dream to follow his own.
Unsatisfied with his comfortable middle-class life,
Amos traded his computer for a printing press, and his white collar for a pair of overalls.
By learning the rules and then choosing to break them,
Amos redefines what life (and letterpress printing) can be:
exhilarating and subversive.

If you are interested in attending, check out the details for this event here:

John Pule

John Pule has been included in a show called Prints Around The Pacific Rim
which is currently on show at the Carleton College Gallery, Minnesota, USA

John Pule is a visual artist, novelist and poet.  
Since 1991 Pule has exhibited in the Pacific and internationally.
The author of two published novels and several volumes of poetry,
he was honored in 2004 with the Laureate Award
from the Arts Foundation of New Zealand.

John Pule, Ulumago, 2006
Lithograph and woodcut, 75x80cm, edition of 40.

"John Pule’s prints and paintings combine cryptic symbols of mythology and history.
The artist weaves images of fish, bird-like creatures and other motifs
adapted from European and Pacific cultures into tapestry-like compositions.
Evocative of tapa cloth, the traditional bark cloth formerly used for exchange
and everyday use among the region’s indigenous peoples,
these works embody a very personal response
to the history of colonization in the Pacific Islands."

For more images and information see: 

08 October 2010

John Pusateri

John Pusateri's exhibition of stone lithographs, Skin and Bone
is on 20-31 October at Seed Gallery in Newmarket.
For those that are keen, there is a 'sneak preview' 6-8pm on Tuesday 19 October

John Pusateri was born in Pennsylvania, and later moved to New York, 
where graduated with his BFA (Hons) in 2001 from Syracuse University.
 He came to NZ in 2004 to do his Masters degree at Elam,
then decided he liked NZ so much that he became a resident.

In 2008 Pusateri opened Auckland Print Studio, a professional lithography studio.
He was a finalist in the 2009 Waiheke Art Award
and the 2010 WSA New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Award
and recently returned from participating in Black Church Print Studio Residency in Ireland.

For more information, or to check out more images

07 October 2010

New York Print Week, 1-7 Nov 2010

This is the 20th year of the Print Fair
run by the IFPDA (International Fine Print Dealers Association).
The Print Fair is unique among the world's major art fairs,
because it is the largest international art fair focused exclusively on printmaking!

The New York art community is also getting on board,
with Print Week events running all over the New York City
from 1-7 November 2010, but many exhibitions are starting earlier.

I'm not sure if any NZers will be in New York for this fair,
but I love that I can browse many of the exhibitions on the internet
and share in some of the excitement about Print that's happening over there!

Check out the seriously impressive list
of print-related exhibitions and events at:
New York Print Week Website
It has lots of links to printmaking shows in the next month.

By the way, if anyone has a 'money-tree', I'd love a trip to New York... ;)

06 October 2010

Take It From Here

As part of the Manukau Festival of the Arts,
Mangere Arts Centre in collaboration with the Manukau School of Visual Arts
are giving away free art in an exhibition called Take It From Here.

12 artists (selected from current students, staff members and recent graduates)
have created a series of art posters that you can come and view,
then take them away and enjoy again anywhere and anytime you like. 

The exhibition opens this Friday 8 October at 6pm (til November)
 at the new Mangere Arts Centre, on the corner of Orly Ave & Bader Dr, Mangere.

If you are in Auckland, go and get some free art!


International Print Network Newsletter

The first newsletter from the International Print Network was just sent this week.
It mainly focuses on 3 large print exhibitions that were held in the past year:

International Print Triennial
held at Contemporary Art Gallery Bunkier Sztukiin, Krakow, Poland
Sept-Oct 2009

Prints, Unbound
held at Horst-Janssen Museum, Oldenburg, Germany
Mar-Apr 2010

Multiple Matters
held at K├╝nstlerhaus Gallery, Vienna, Austria
May-June 2010

It has comprehensive summaries of the 3 exhibitions, some good photos,
and indicates a new interest (or even resurgence)
in contemporary printmaking in Europe.

The full version of the text can be viewed here:

05 October 2010

NZers in Pacific Rim Exhibition

Just a quick reminder, the 2010 Pacific Rim International Print Exhibition
is still on at SOFA Gallery, The Arts Centre, Christchurch.

The Gallery Floortalk is on this Sunday 10 October at 2pm.
I got to read the catalogue in the weekend - 
good images of the works and thought-provoking writing,
sounds like a very interesting show, I wish I could go!

Stephen Lovett, Untitled (print/object no.1124), 2010
Screenprint with die cut, reverse side print

Here are the links to the New Zealanders' work in this exhibition:
Mark Graver (Kerikeri)
Stephen Lovett (Auckland)
Joan Travaglia (Hamilton)
Anthony Davies (Wanganui)
Nigel Buxton (Christchurch)
Kim Lowe (Christchurch)
Olav Nielsen (Dunedin)
(or use the Quick Links on the right of this page to go to their websites =>)

More information on the exhibition is available on the SOFA Gallery Website
or see this link for images of the all works at the Pacific Rim Print Exhibition 2010

If you get to see the exhibition or to the floor talk on Sunday
post a comment and let us know what you thought of it.

Threadless for Teachers

If you are a teacher of Art or Design, then you may be interested in this:
(Ok, this is my last post about Threadless for today, I promise!) 

 Threadless 101 is a curriculum to teach design and critique in a fun way.
Students create and submit t-shirt designs then vote on their favourites.
They learn about applying principles of art and design
such as line, shape, colour, analysis, etc while learning Photoshop or Illustrator skills.
You can even opt to open it to critique by other designers & artists on the site.
The best designs can even win a prize!

If you're interested, see more info here about Threadless 101 Class Project

Perhaps if we have a bunch of classes participating
we could possibly aim to exhibit them together sometime next year???
Let me know what you think of that, or if you have a class who may want to participate.

Glenn Jones

Further to yesterday's post about the Threadless t-shirt company,
Threadless has put out a new book this month to celebrate it 10th anniversary.

One of the successful designers from the early years of Threadless 
is a New Zealander, Glenn Jones, and there is a bit about him in the book...
even better is that the section of the book about him is available online!!!

Read about how Threadless was started in 2000 by a bunch of friends in college,
and about how Glenn became a t-shirt designer:

Slinky Heaven, t-shirt design by Glenn Jones

Glenn now has his own US-based store, but continues to design from NZ!
Check out Glenn's website for more info about Glenn and his company.

To see more of the clever screenprinted t-shirt designs at
(He is also on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr)

04 October 2010

Screenprint, Threadless = 'Art on T-Shirts'

This week we start teaching our students
how to turn the concept of stencils into screenprints.

The most immediate way for them to understand
how practical and immediate the process is
is to go around the room and see how many of them
are wearing items of clothing that are screenprinted.

I recently watched a short documentary (only 12 minutes long)
about US company Threadless who screenprint 'art on t-shirts'.
Now global, and printing thousands of artists' designs,
it's a great way to take print to the masses!

Check it out the video here:
Threadless T-Shirt Documentary - Watch it here!
I liked that it had a few snippets of them printing screens in the factory too.

Threadless T-shirt, Not So Happy, designed by Lora Zombie

Threadless have a unique process - 1000s of designers submit designs,
the public vote on which ones they like, then the best ones are printed.

If you love to wear funky t-shirt designs,
want to submit some designs, or vote on them,
then be a part of the action at the Threadless website

02 October 2010

Banksy - 'Exit Through the Gift Shop' Film

I was teaching some students about making prints using stencils last week.
Some of the examples that the students always seem to like
are images of very clever graffiti by a stencil artist called Banksy.
Often witty and political in nature, they are also well executed.

If you are interested in printmaking using stencils,
or in the 'street art' movement, or just a Banksy fan,
then you might want to check out this film preview for
Exit Through the Gift Shop.

It was part of the film festival this year,
but several other cinemas are currently playing it.
Check out the listings in your area to see if it is on near you.

If you've seen this film, write a comment here and let us know what you thought of it.

Making Printing Ink Video

Here's a YouTube video from The Printing Ink Company
about the process of how ink is made.

Take a few minutes out of your busy day, grab a coffee and watch this.
You'll gain a new appreciation for all the work that goes into getting ink in a can...

It's quite informative, but also surprisingly 'pretty' to watch
(but of course I'm a printmaker, I love ink!)