30 September 2011

Impact7, Day 4, Broad Practice

On Friday afternoon there was a session including Sasha Grishin (AU) speaking about
'The impact of digital technologies on contemporary Australian printmaking'
which proposed that digital may be thought of as a 'tool' which, when used well,
could have the same sense of intrigue, surface and presence as any other print process.

The impact of digital technologies on contemporary printmaking is a contentious issue.
Digital technologies allow for a seamless grafting of images 
which overcomes the awkwardness of hand-crafted images through collage. 
He discussed the introduction of digital technologies 
in Australian art institutions over the past decade 
and examined the impact of these technologies on the nature of contemporary printmaking. 

Printmaking has been traditionally a physical activity 
'whether this be gouging, scratching, drawing, painting, inking or printing',
where mark making and image production relate directly 
to a physical engagement with materials. 
Digital technologies with the tap of the keys or the click of a mouse 
are a non-physical activity. It is a mechanical and non-biological act. 

By examining the practice of several prominent artist printmakers working in Australia today
he questioned the existence of a 'digital aesthetic' in contemporary Australian printmaking.

From FACPA 2010

There was Ric Spencer speaking about the Freemantle Arts Centre Print Awards.
The most interesting part was that they had a very broad definition of 'print'.
As Australia's longest running annual exhibition and competition in print, 
the exhibition provides a snapshot of the dynamic artistic output 
of ideas and processes in print, inclusive of photographic and multi media works.

Over the past decade the FAC Print Award has increasingly attracted entries from artists 
whose practices expose and engage print making in outcomes 
that are sculptural, performative, pictorial; 
works that are an exploration of the material culture of print, 
dealing with themes of authenticity, originality, accessibility, globalization, the environment, 
identity, social and political history, mass reproduction and dissemination. 
All of these works highlight the relevance of print within contemporary art practices.

I've been trying to find the exact wording he used (so I'll paraphrase)
 that to be a 'print' it had to included 3 things; a matrix, transfer and a substrate.
I thought that provided a lot of scope and allowed broad exploration within printmaking.

From FACPA 2009

Impact7, Day 4, Teaching Print

In the morning session, I went to hear a talk by Bepen Bhana (NZ) on
'InterdisciPRINTarity: Exploring Print Pedagogy Within An Interdisciplinary Framework'
where he discussed some of the  the challenges and consequences for print educators
who are now progressively compelled to operate in an interdisciplinary environment,
where the parameters of previously discipline-specific academic programmes
have been theoretically liberated, restructured and realigned
for studio outputs to potentially transcend disciplinary boundaries.

While interdisciplinarity or an 'open' studio mode of teaching delivery 
is a product of rapidly advancing digital technologies, 
as well as intended to better reflect what is occurring 
in professional contemporary practice beyond academia; 
in an endeavor to determine the role of print within such an integrative environment, 
this talk discussed some of the rationales of such an evolving paradigm.

He proposed that print has effectively been relocated as a catalyst for educators 
to initiate opportunities for potentially new processes, knowledge and modes of practice. 
Art educators are trying to balance the demands of both generalisation and specialisation.
 He also queried if there is a 'trade-off' between students developing a broad perspective 
 at the expense of highly developed specialised craft and technical skills. 
Technical skills by their very nature are difficult to teach and attain conventionally, 
as they are forms of knowledge that are acquired through physically making and doing. 
The challenge for educators is to assist students to become the 'masters', 
not the 'slaves' of technology.

He reflected on the quandary for contemporary print educators 
being the need to seek a balance between theory and practice, 
to better enable students to negotiate the ever-evolving definitions and parameters 
of the fields of practice for which they prepare their students for.

Marian Macken (AU), Mies van der Rohe: Built Houses, 2009
Laser cut paper, blind letterpress, etched Perspex, boxboard. Edition 4
(winner of Artspace Mackay's 2010 Libris Award 
Category 1 for National Artists' Book Award)

Then Marian Macken (AU) showed some very interesting examples
of how she has used printing & constructing books with architecture students
including photography, paper folding, cutting, pop-ups, binding etc.
They made some very interesting 'books' that documented a journey.

The practice of producing artists' books in the teaching of design can be a form of
 alternative architectural and landscape architectural representation and production. 
She spoke of the importance of the act of making 
and of crafting products within design learning. 
 The artist's book has a strong relationship with the model 
due to its 3-dimensional qualities

Books implicitly embrace the notion of documentation, as records of past events. 
This requires the students to curate, compile, edit and reformat their work; 
the books they made held the unfurling narrative. 
This then allows, and values, documentation to be admitted within the design process. 
This notion of documentation as interpretation acknowledges 
the recursive and reflective elements within the design process.

These ideas were explored through a series of case studies 

that use artists' books in various ways to teach design, 
including the book as documenting site analysis, as a generator of design development, 
as a presentation tool, and the role of hybrid representation. 
Her talk proposed that artists' books offer a lens 
through which architectural representation may be examined and critiqued. 
Artists' books provide a means of investigating spatial interpretations 
and propositions in 3-dimensional form.

Impact7, Day 4, Collaboration

The keynote speakers this morning were Brook Andrew & Trent Walter
talking about their collaboration on the Gunmetal Grey series,
which is currently being exhibited at  National Gallery Victoria

Brook Andrew, Gun-metal Grey, 2007
Screenprint in grey ink on metallic foil and cotton, 170x110cm, edition of 3

"Copying Collaboration is a reflection on the role of printmedia 
and its inherent attributes in the practices of Brook Andrew and Trent Walter. 
Framed by Andrew’s Danger of Authority and Gun-metal Grey series, 
this keynote address seeks to interrogate the role of print as inspiration, 
source material, and technique in the realisation of these series, 
as well as its significance in the artist/printer’s expanded practices.

Having worked together since 2007 on print, installation, public art and museum projects, 
Andrew and Walter will attempt to define the nature of their collaboration 
and what knock–on effects it has produced in their ongoing and separate studio works."

Brook Andrew, Legions of War Widows Face Dire Need in Iraq, 2009.
Woodblock print on hand made Japanese paper, 97x67cm

They also collaborated on Danger of Authority series with a Japanese master carver.
The prints are quite spectacular in real life
as the woodcuts are very large, look digital but are entirely hand carved!

Also the screenprints in this series are 200x143cm!
Check out more images on Brook Andrew's website.
It was interesting to hear how artists are working together in printmaking.

29 September 2011

Impact7, Day 3

The first session was by Johanna Drucker speaking on 
"The Work Event: Art in the distributed field and systems of production"
Artists engage imaginative and opportunistically with available modes of production. 
In the current environment, a work might take many forms:
a gallery piece, a print-on-demand artifact, a limited-edition version, 
a performance, a YouTube video, and a blog documenting the project and event. 
These temporal and distributed modes may question what constitutes an artwork.

Later in the morning I attended a group discussing the use of letterpress.
Jacqueline Naismith (NZ) gave examples from Massey University's Communication students
who used letterpress to play with typographic design.
Two other speakers also gave examples,
and someone recommended a website called Letterpress Down Under.
(So if you are interested in letterpress then go check it out.)

In the afternoon session I attended a discussion about 'pedagogy' (teaching)
which raises a few interesting issues about how print is taught in education,
Steve Lovett (NZ) spoke about print & interdisciplinary teaching,
and a PhD student talked on 'critique' in art education.

'Print', once framed as a discipline, 
is increasingly absorbed into multidisciplinary open studio art programmes. 
This change is intended to model aspects of contemporary multidisciplinary art practice.
We might ask what is the place for a discipline specific art practice 
in our teaching institutions and ultimately in contemporary art? 
How are we equipping students to become savvy, skillful and imaginative printmakers? 

In the context of the open studio delivery model and multidisciplinary art practices, 
the question can be focused on the tension between 
developing a breadth of interdisciplinary knowledge 
or a depth of discipline specific knowledge.

Impact7, Day 2, Paul Coldwell

This morning's session speaker was Paul Coldwell (UK), who spoke on
"Just What Is It that Makes An Artists Folio So Special, So Appealing, So Important?”

There has been a move away from the singular masterpiece in favour of bodies of work. 
The artist’s folio is an ideal format for presenting and preserving these ideas, 
being both accessible as a multiple and in a format that can remain intact in perpetuity. 
His talk considered the folio as a site of inquiry for the investigation of concepts 
centered on the propositions of series, sequence and variation.

Richard Hamilton, Five Tyres Remoulded, 1972
Collotype, 60x84cm

My favourite example was the Richard Hamilton ‘tyre’ series,
that work as individual prints and also as a series.
It includes linear drawings, with different treads, embossed prints etc.
which when seen together show both breadth and depth of his investigations.

Hamilton's Five Tyres Remoulded portfolio included a text 
reporting its own research and development (as it were) 
and discussed his fascination with an illustration from a 1951 issue of 
'Technique et Architecture' which showed the development of tyre treads from 1902-50.
This work was part of a series also containing screenprints, embossing, :

Richard Hamilton, Perspective Scheme1972
Screenprint on Mylar
from the series 'Five Tyres Remoulded' 

Richard Hamilton, Radial Sections1972
Screenprint on Mylar
from the series 'Five Tyres Remoulded' 

Richard Hamilton, Depth of Cut1972
Screenprint on Mylar
from the series 'Five Tyres Remoulded' 

Richard Hamilton, Treads (Area)1972
Screenprint on Mylar
from the series 'Five Tyres Remoulded' 

I also liked the Michael Craig-Martin sets of images,
with line drawings he overlays in different combinations.
Each one is interesting by itself
but seeing them as a series or 'set' of images provides a greater context,
such as 'seven deadly sins' or an alphabet.

Michael Craig-Martin, Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony, 2008
Screenprint, edition of 30, from set of 7.

It challenged me to think about how prints may be read as a series or group
and how that may add to it's value and narrative.

28 September 2011

Impact7, Day 2, Art & Science

John Pusateri talked about his biosecurity project, called Fallen,
in which he collaborated with scientists to investigate
the insects he collected and documented.

John Pusateri, from the Fallen Series, 2011

 The synergy of art & science has proved fertile ground for both artists and scientists alike.
John talked about Fallen, a collaborative, ecological study based in Auckland,
methodically sampling plant, invertebrate and bird diversity,
and the impact and implications this has had on the fine art image-making process.

This sampling took place over a period of 13 months 
involving a fine artist, a botanist, entomologist and an ecologist. 
It has thus far resulted in: two fine art exhibitions of photographs and drawings; 
Fallen, a catalogue published by Rim Books in 2008; 
a submission of a paper to a scientific journal on ground-living beetle diversity; 
and an uncovering of several invertebrate species new to science. 

This might make a great project for art & science for school students.
More Images from this project can be found on John’s website.

Gerald Hushlak
Unique Digital Print
Also in the afternoon session was a presentation about artist Gerald Hushlak (CAN)
titled “The Digital Print Shop: Artist and Computer as Co-Creator”,
where he has formulated computer programmes that works out aesthetics
and makes printed ‘drawings’, termed 'breeder art',
each one is unique but made by a process of repetition and mirroring.

High resolution images paired with computer manipulation, 
digital printing processes and on-line dissemination platforms 
provides the artist with unprecedented opportunities for the creation of 'printed' images. 
Add to this the ability afforded by digital environments 
to automate image creation and questions arise: 
Where is the artwork situated in this context? What is the role of the artist?

Impact7, Day 2, Digital Technologies

I went to hear Jill Webster (from NZ's EIT) spoke on the topic, “The Invisible Matrix:
How a digital and traditional printmaking practice can support one another”.  

Since the release of the film, the word 'matrix' conjures scenarios 
of confused realities and minds controlled by machines, most notably computers. 
It appears that some of this fear has invaded the print studio. 
Her research seeks to dispel or decrease fear 
of the 'invisible matrix' created when computers are used in printmaking. 
She presented examples of how the digital can be integrated into a printmaking practice
and how the handmade and handcraft aspects of print can be supported and broadened.

Jill suggested that it is important that graphic designers continue to work 
with hand-generated mark-making, such as drawing, painting and print 
and that printmaking students should be encouraged 
to keep their computer skills active when making work.
Encouraging these media cross-overs is also realistic, 
given that young people are so embedded in the digital world. 

Jill also proposed that we need to show by example 
how the hand-generated can add material and historical richness to image making, 
because whatever media young people move into, 
it will be 'as well as' the digital, not 'instead of'.

Jill Webster, Cumulo Identicus, 2009

The session also included two presenters from Dundee, Scotland.
Simone O’Callaghan (GBR) was speaking about a large collaborative project
in which ‘tagging’ artworks enables viewers to engage with the stories behind artworks
using their mobile phones in both studio & gallery environments.
She talked about how artists’ stories may alter perceptions
and provide connections for the viewer, making artworks more accessible.  
It sounds like a great way to get viewers to interact with artists using technology.

Supported by the Digital Economy Research Councils UK, 
TOTeM explores new ways of preserving people's memories and stories, 
through linking objects to the Internet via emerging technologies such as QR Codes. 
Print-based artworks made by invited members of the open access print studio 
are linked (known as 'tagging) via a QR code 
to digital media content which can be played on a mobile phone.

You can find out more about tagging digital information to objects
on the websites: Tales of Things and YouTotem
This concept has been explored further through a case study
in Print studio at Dundee Contemporary Arts.  

Inside the DCA

Annis Fitzhugh (also from Dundee Contemporary Arts, UK) spoke about the impact of
introducing a range of new technology to a traditional open-access print workshop.
The DCA model maximizes the potential of interfacing digital manipulation and production
with traditional print-process, in order to exploit the best of both.

DCA Print Studio currently offers an unparalleled range of equipment in a public facility, 
and is extensively used by artist members, students, schools and community groups.

The new technology includes:
Digital laser-cutter: for accurate cutting and engraving of paper, wood, acrylics and stone.
Digital router/engraver: for metal, plastic and wood matrices.
Digital knife-cutter/pouncer: to render imagery in opaque film (Rubylith) and/or vinyl.
Large format digital printer: to create halftone positives and high quality inkjet printing.

The enhanced facility offers a unique environment where artists can 
select from or combine digital, photographic and autographic print-media in one studio, 
using the most contemporary technology available as well as the most antique.

Using this equipment to make various forms of print matrices:
from wood & Perspex for block printing and embossing, metal for etching,
stone for lithography, stencil film to apply to screens,
and even directly cutting and burning surface of paper directly using images made digitally.

27 September 2011

Impact7, Day 1

Here is a quick summary of what happened on Day 1 of Impact7 conference in Melbourne.

One of the first highlights of my day was a chance meeting
with NZ Printmakers Fleur Williams and Jacqueline Aust,
even before the event had started it was great to make some new friends from NZ!

Mike Parr (AU), The Plague of Fantasies 1, 2010
unique state print on paper, 235x534cm

Mike Parr, The Golden Age, 2011
(Installation view)

The keynote speaker for the morning session was John Loane (AU),
who prints work for artist Mike Parr (AU).
The aspect I found most interesting was Parr's very spontaneous process –
his prints were mostly one-off very large printed ‘drawings’ made by all sorts of means,
 including marking the plate with an angle-grinder.
The works (as with the one illustrated above) can often be 2x5m!
Click here to see more works from Mike Parr.

Simon Kaan, Untitled Series 11-Oval I, 2011intaglio woodcut, paper size 89x21cm, edition of 12.

In the afternoon I went to check out the work of Kim Lowe and Simon Kaan’s prints 
which were featured in one of the hallways of the gallery area upstairs. 

Kim Lowe, Half-caste Kowhaiwhai II, 2010
embossed relief print, paper size 38x55cm, edition of 12.
Unfortunately I missed the session on ‘Convenientia’ by Chris White (NZ)
He was using philosopher Michel Foucault's concept of convenientia
 from The Order of things - An archaeology of human sciences (1970),
 to compare the processes employed in the making and printing of intaglio surfaces 
with that of landscape erosion geomorphology. 

Foucault's text defines convenientia as 
one thing assimilating the nature of another adjacent to it. 
In this adjacency each connects - their fringes intermingle. 
This concept is a good model for exploring the processes of intaglio, 
where impressions from eroded surfaces are imparted to paper 
through contact and pressure.

Another highlight was the random bunch of international strays from the conference 
that socialized over dinner by the Yarra River, talking printmaking and life. 

Several more NZ printmakers speaking today, 
so I’ll keep you informed over the next few days. 
I’m looking forward to meeting and hanging out with many more NZ Printmakers 
over the rest of the week.

25 September 2011

LetterMpress for iPad Printmakers

According to my blog's statistics,
there are a few people who read this blog regularly on an iPad
(I'll try not to let on how jealous I am)
so I thought I'd add this printmaking app just for you!

Check out the LetterMpress App at iTunes
for your 'virtual' printmaking enjoyment!

Compose your image to be printed... 

Mix ink...

Select papers...

Add multiple layers and colours...
(An example of a 'print' produced on Letter M Press)

(PS. if any of you printmakers have access to an iPad
please let me know if you try it out the LetterMpress App -
if it is good, then invite me over to play!)

23 September 2011

Print at Artstation, Term 4 2011

As from today you can book for Printmaking classes for Term 4 
at Artstation in Ponsonby, Auckland
Screen Printing
This course covers all aspects of silkscreen printing on fabric and paper
including simple paper stencil methods, screen block techniques 
and more complex photo-screen methods.
Tuesdays, 6.30pm-9pm, starts 25 October 2011 (9 weeks)
Being tutored by Kate McLean, maximum of 8 students, cost $280

Mixed Media Printmaking
Students will learn stencil and photographic screenprinting,
and aspects of intaglio printmaking and paper embossing.
Thursdays, 6pm-9pm, starts 27 October 2011 (9 weeks)
Being tutored by Jonathan Brown, maximum of 8 students, cost $245

Viva lo Stampato!
This course covers direct printing techniques such as wood and linocuts 
as well as an introduction to etching.
Mondays, 6.30pm-9pm, starts 31 October 2011 (9 weeks)
Both being tutored by Elizabeth Serjeant, maximum of 8 students, cost $200

If you are interested see ArtStation's website to enquire about booking.

(Did you also know that you can hire the ArtStation's Print Studio 
for just $30 for a whole day or $15 for half a day?!)

22 September 2011

Fine Art Papers September Specials still on!

Just a quick reminder that there is only one more week to take advantage of 

Remember, they are offering 10% reduction on published prices until 30 September
for all full packs, mini packs, watercolour packs, and watercolour rolls.
All packed up ready to go to your house...

or phone them on (03) 379 4410

21 September 2011

Inky Fingers & Technology

I saw this print recently and thought the idea was very clever!
As my office is in the studio, I've occasionally decorated my white keyboard with inky fingers.
This work reminds me of the joy of combining new and old technologies... 

Rachel E. Foster (USA), Beethoven Love Letter July 6, 18062009
Screenprint and fingerprints

Rachel E. Foster (USA), Beethoven Love Letter July 6, 18062009
Screenprint and fingerprints [detail]

This was written about Rachel E Foster on Printeresting recently:
Her visually disparate but thematically-linked prints, reproduce text into image, 
and the ways in which digital language can be confusing and tricky. 
Her artist statement hints at her enthusiasm for turning the digital into print.

The internet is playing a giant game of Telephone; 
information is copied, distorted, and reproduced. 
The data that you located on Monday, seems to have vanished by Tuesday. 
So much material is floating around the digital world 
with no physical form – they are ghosts [...]
Through the digital world I am collecting evidence of those things nearly invisible 
and through printmaking I stabilize them with a physicality. 

20 September 2011

Kitchen Lithography

Here's a short video of how to replicate the principles of lithography 
using things you can find around your kitchen:

Click here to find the latest English version of the Handbook of Kitchen Lithography
which explains the process using the following ingredients:

Metal or plastic plate backing board, thick aluminium foil, Scotch tape, 
Marseille soap (alkaline), paint brush, litho pencil, 
Oil, Cola (or basic soda with phosphoric acid), 
Roller, Oil-based etching ink, 2 sponges, basin or sink, water, paper

I loved that they also added this disclaimer:
Be careful: "simple" lithography don’t mean "easy". 
You must take time to your dexterity to succeed.

19 September 2011

ASP Gallery Launch, 23 Sept, Wellington

Artisan Screen Printers is launching a new screenprinting gallery & workshop
at 100 Shelly Bay Road, Miramar Peninsula, Wellington
at 5pm on Friday 23 September.
So if you live near Wellington, I suggest you go check it out!

ASP melds screenprinting 21st century tools and a planet friendly ethos.
They use their own Workshy range of shirts ensuring ethical and artistic integrity.
They use the latest computer technology to get the best results from your art 
and the latest ink technology to achieve vibrant, visually striking results 
that are as eco-friendly as humanly possible.

ASP have printed for MySpace New Zealand
fine artists such as Matt Moriarty and Tony Rush
bands including The Hives, Throwing Muses, Camp a Low Hum 
and their own series of fine art prints.

Matt Moriarty, NZAK (New Zealand Army Knife), 2007
Screenprint, 70x50cm, edition of 100.

ASP recently blogged about being 'green', saying:
"I turned the carpentry workshop at the Shelly Bay Air Force Base 
into a screen printing studio and gallery.
I have turned an old work bench into my washout station, 
an old knackered tunnel dryer has been transformed into a flash cure...
 I have been printing today using a fifty year old vacuum cleaner,
even my signs were screen printed on the back of old Caltex signs 
I found lying about when I moved in.

Anyway please come by the Gallery Launch next Friday 23 Sept
 to check out how I have recycled an almost abandoned building 
into Wellington's newest Gallery"

18 September 2011

Asia:NZ Foundation Artist-In-Residence Programme

The Asia New Zealand Foundation is calling for applications 
for its six artist-in-residence programmes for 2012.
Professional emerging and mid-career artists with a record of achievement 
are invited to submit a written application(s) to Asia New Zealand Foundation 
by no later than 5pm on Friday, 28 October 2011.

The rapid economic and social changes taking place in Asia 
have created some dynamic emerging contemporary art scenes. 
The region is being visited by an increasing number of international artists 
who want to engage in these changes first-hand.

Successful candidates will live and work in Asia 
at one of six prestigious residency organisations for two to three months, 
and will have the opportunity to meet and work 
with other international artists and curators.

The six programmes are:
1Shanthi Road, Bangalore, India
Changdong Art Studio, Seoul, Korea
Institute for Provocation, Beijing, China
NS43 exchange, S-AiR Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Taipei Artist Village, Taiwan
Three Shadows, Beijing, China

Preference will be given to projects with potential 
for artistic collaboration and exhibition outcomes. 
Successful candidates will be required 
to provide progress reports of their residency to Asia:NZ, 
and to seek opportunities to share their experience on their return to New Zealand. 
This could mean an exhibition, a series of presentations or artists talks, 
or publication of articles.

Asia:NZ will provide:
a return economy airfare between New Zealand and Asia
a daily stipend for food, transport and incidentals
NZ$500 towards the cost of materials
the cost of a single entry tourist visa where required
a contribution of NZ$300 towards travel insurance.

Applicants must be New Zealand citizens or permanent residents 
and able to exercise a degree of autonomy and self reliance.