There can be no wrong when you combine printmaking with industrial machinery! Printmakers from across Ohio gathered together last night to participate in this year’s Steamroller Printmaking: Flat Out Fun! This event was jointly hosted by the Dayton Visual Art Center and Stivers School for the Arts.
This collaboration was quite rewarding; the mingling of budding student artists, experienced printmakers, and art enthusiast created a collective simmer of energy. Not to mention, the level of excitement felt when I hear the hum of a steamroller engine is only comparable to what is experienced when I hear a roller coaster; it just gets your blood flowing.
Thirty lino block were printed during the parking print sessions and numerous large scale (3-ft x 3-ft) linos were composed, carved and printed by the students of Stivers, the Dayton Printmakers Cooperative, and resident Dayton artists. Overall it was another great opportunity to work with printers in the community.
Steamroller Parking Print.
Packing, transporting, and installing artwork presents an array of things not necessarily thought of, if you haven’t had prior experience in doing it. Let me provide my disclaimer now, each time I pack, transport and/or install artwork, I tweak my approach. Building upon what worked in prior ventures, necessary adaptations are made where needed. In doing this, each run is better. What can I say, you learn best by doing. The list of things on my checklist included:
- Final visual inspection of art;
- Packing all hanging mechanisms;
- Storage/stacking notations;
- Installation instructions;
- Supportive braces; and,
- Protective barriers, (i.e., foam crates)
These last few days were spent finalizing the last of these loose ends, in order to transport my work for the Yeck Fellowship Exhibition.
With things packed tightly within the car, I made a success venture into Dayton and dropped off my work. I was thankful that the day was pleasant, (yeah for no rain), and I could make the treck with the windows down. This breeze not only felt good but helped to drown out the sound of rubbing styrofoam. I admit that this sound gives me chills and is in my top ten irritants, however on this day, it was easy to overlook.
Destination made, artwork dropped off… deep breath!
The Yeck Scholarship/Fellowship is approaching a close.
The studio is at a fevered pitched, everyone intent to get their work to a state of completion. There is a daunting amount to be done; this is due, in part, to it being the very first go at subtractive processes, and with anything new come a learning curve.
The studio is fairly quite. Students are working hard, sweat gathering on their brow, as a flush spreads across their face. With the work that lays before them, there are no complaints to be heard; this is something to be enjoyed. There is a push/pull relationship being demonstrated, energy is being expended but with that comes a sense of satisfaction, fulfillment; there is nothing quite like it.
Throughout the progression of the Yeck sessions, the fellows have stressed craftsmanship and application of technique. That said, one of the most important things we would like these budding artists to leave with is to work consistently This cannot be taught, it must be acquired through the experience. Whatever your media, the work is a process, it is on-going and not likely to be finished within a small window of time.
Ultimately, each student is eager to show the fruits of their labor. Over this term they have each acquired a nice sampling of pieces. Its safe to say that we are all excited for the Yeck Exhibition Reception.
As sessions continue, the Yeck Scholarship recipients have transitioned rather smoothly from two-dimensional studies into three. The progression of each session carrying specific challenges, all intended to introduce new processes and techniques.
A skill set often overlooked is that of critical observation. Seeing the space occupied and developing an understanding of spatial relationships. Over time this skill becomes more acute, which is all the more reason to instill the habit sooner rather than later. Ultimately it is the best tool to a budding artist can use to be more responsive to their work. You can say this again and again, eventually it will take root!
It can be challenging, even a little intimidating, when you’re just beginning. Everyone receives a 12” x 15” stack of laminated foam. The focus of these sessions is subtractive.
The beginnings are cautious, everyone is quite selective and carful in what mass is carved away. Slowly foam pieces are floating in the air, drifting down to the floor and accumulating at our feet.
Students began to see the mutually dependent relationship within the subtractive process. Evidence of this was heard in conversations throughout the studio; comment were made in regards to the surprising ammount of foam that can be removed, quickly followed by the realization that it is easier to remove material than it is to add it back.
I have willfully avoided miter cuts for far to long. This is not something I’m proud of, but will admit. Until recently, this type of joinery was something I thought would be a monumental task, but was pleased to find that I was wrong.
Regardless of my inner monologue, ‘ a butt joint could look nice...,’ you untimately know what is necessary for your work and will do what it takes to achieve it. From an aesthetic point of view, miter cuts are clean and precise, exactly what I desired.
Armed with a few tools, wood and measurements, a test cut was done.
There was some trial and error, a given in any learning process. After adjusting measurements, allowing for tight fittings, a successful joint was achieved. Before I knew it, sixteen miter cuts were done, each piece of wood paired with it’s other half.
This wood will of course be painted and the joinery may go un-noticed, but I’ll know.
A new skill set in my tool belt.