Forward Press Gallery Talk- April 6, 2019


(dramatic music) – I think this is the most punctual, and best-looking panel we’ve ever had. (applause) Good afternoon, and welcome to the
American University Museum at the Katzen Art Center. Susan Goldman is founding director of the Printmaking Legacy Project, a non-profit dedicated to the
documentation, preservation, and conservation of printmaking
practice and history. She’s also director
and owner of Lily Press in Rockville, Maryland. Her collaborative prints
include local artists, and artists from across
the United States including Enrique Chagoya, Sam Gilliam,
Annette Lerner, Linn Meyers, EJ Montgomery, Renée
Stout, Patricia Underwood, Sharon Wolpoff, and William
Wiley, just to name but a few. Goldman received the National
Endowment for the Arts Grant in 2011, 2012 as producer and
director of Midwest Matrix, an hour-long documentary
videotape/DVD on the fine art of printmaking tradition
of the American Midwest. Goldman exhibits nationally
and internationally, and her work is in private and
public collections worldwide. She is the curator of Forward Press: 21st
Century Printmaking, or as it was renamed last
night the kick-ass print show. I give you Susan Goldman. (applause) – Is this, this is on on? Yes, okay. I want to thank Jack
Rasmussen for working with me. Three years ago we sat down to lunch, and I asked if I could do a print show, and Jack said, “Yes.” Originally it was to occur
in 2018, and then he said, “Do you mind if I move you to 2019, “and you could have the first floor.” And I said, yes, that’s awesome. So I am really thankful to
Jack that this is happening, and I’m very proud today to present Forward Press: 21st Century Printmaking, and bringing today some of the
most terrific print artists that I know and I’ve had the opportunity to interact with over the years. I want to thank all of
you for trekking out here, and being part of this. The goal was to bring
printmaking to Washington, DC. I walked into the printmaking
studio when I was a sophomore in college at Indiana University in 1977, and Rudy Pozzatti was my professor there. When I walked in it was the most charismatic studio in the university. Rudy had told me stories
that over the years that the Library of Congress used to host national shows that artists
from across the country could see their work, and that’s where people came
to see what was happening. Over the years printmaking has expanded, and there’s biennales
all over the country, but I really wanted
printmaking in Washington, so you’ll see today an extraordinary show. It’s gone beyond my wildest expectations. As it was being installed
it just came to life in such a way that was I’m
so full of joy about it. So what I wanted to do today
was to have the artists introduce themselves and say
a little bit about their work, and we will go down through the group, and then we will open
the floor for questions. So, thank you, so the first
artist is Richard Peterson. Here you can talk. – Hi, my name is Richard Peterson, and I live in a town
called Ventura, California. It’s a coastal town. I taught 16 years at Ventura College. I got married and had two
kids, then I had three kids, so I had to find a full-time job, so I moved to Visalia and taught 20 years at College of the Sequoias where I started their lithography program. Lithography means more
to me than anything, and mostly it’s because
of the smell of lithotine. Litho is one of those things
that gets under your skin, and you just can’t stop doing it, but in 2015, November 2015, on the television set I saw
an iPad being advertised, and that very night I
ordered from the Apple Store my iPad and my iPencil, so that’s my main way of
working now is working on iPads, and then I’ll take it to a stone, and then print my iPad
drawings on a stone. Is that good? – Tell them the subject of your work. – Oh, the subject of my work started out with my Bull Terrier, Alice. Then one day I met a drag queen, and she reminded me of when I was a junior at the San
Francisco Art Institute, and I met a drag queen who I
didn’t know was a drag queen. He was an old man with a
hunchback walking down the street, and I started drawing him and he said, “Well, why don’t you
come watch me perform.” I had no idea what he was doing. So I go backstage and this
man takes his clothes off, and puts on a brassiere, and then he starts putting on makeup, and by the time he was dressed
he was the most energetic, exciting person on the face of the earth. That was my first instance
drawing a drag queen, and what interested me about
that was the transition from being old, decrepit to
being Marilyn Monroe on stage. I thought how could that be? So I did that for a while, but I stopped, but when I moved back to
Ventura I ran into a drag queen, so for the last couple of years
that’s what I’ve been doing is mostly drawings of
drag queens on an iPad. Is that good? Okay. – Next artist, Tom Hück. – Hi, my name is Tom Hück. I’m from St. Louis, Missouri. I do really big woodcuts
about really bad people doing lots of bad things. I started getting into woodcut when I was a junior in college. They made me take a class
in printmaking to graduate, but up until that time I was 13, and my grandparents took
me on a trip to Italy, and right before I went
into see the Sistine Chapel there’s a gallery museum
before you walk into there, and they had a whole … This is 1984, so I’m 13. The whole room was filled with Albrecht Dürer’s Apocalypse woodcuts. So I’m like 12 when I saw that, and I thought these are really cool. I didn’t know what a woodcut was. I didn’t know what a print was. Then I came home and a
couple of weeks later my parents went on a family
vacation to DC right here, and we went to the
National Gallery of Art, and while I was there they
had Dürer’s Apocalypse up, so in four weeks I saw
Dürer’s Apocalypse twice, and I thought I got to
get a book on that guy, so I bought a Dover Publication called The Complete Woodcuts of Albrecht Dürer. Begged my mom for the
money, and that was it. Dürer was born in 1471,
I was born in 1971. That’s not a mistake,
that’s not a coincidence. My stuff is really about the downfall of American society, slowly, and a lot of politics,
a lot of hillbillies, lot of bad guys. Your typical American day in the country. So that’s it, that’s what I do. – Our next artist, Michael Menchaca, from San Antonio, Texas. – Hello, testing, okay. So I prepared a little statement
for you guys on my iPhone, so, hopefully, that
won’t distract too much. My project the Codex Migratus, which was the first iteration
of what is on display here was developed in 2010,
so about nine years ago. This was a project devoted
to addressing social issues, addressing Latinx communities by means of an invented mythology. So I was using the framework of an ancient Mesoamerican codex to talk about it provided me the definitive model for presenting complex narrative imagery talking about class inequality, civil rights issues, and the
distribution of privileges across the Americas, and over the years I’ve
developed a personal lexicon consisting of Mayan logograms, and logographic appropriations
from pop culture, and news headlines. Through this I’ve been
using animal archetypes to speak about different types of people through anthropomorphic animals. This is a way to celebrate
the storytelling traditions of our ancient ancestors, and to provide an alternate strategy for discussing today’s trending topics. So my interest has always been in bringing multiple perspectives, and interpretations to political debates, but bring it to a cotemporary art context where the white cube is a way to, or it’s a place for
debate or open discussion without any judgment. It’s sort of like a Trojan horse
to get people to talk about identity or issues that
mean something to me. Printmaking provided me an entry point as an undergraduate student
on the path to self-discovery this medium has a
significant social history tied to the Chicano experience. Printmaking itself gave
the civil rights movement in the ’60s and ’70s a medium to talk about political subjects. So, in short while I was
completing my NFA at RISD I started to work with animation, so part of my installation
on display has some video installation components,
three monitors synchronized which is a task that I don’t recommend anyone take on their own, but for this case this was my first on my own triple monitor configuration tied with a printmaking installation. So I hope that you all enjoy it, but it’s up on display
for now, so thank you. – Next is Steve Prince from Virginia, originally from New Orleans. – Hello, my name is I’m Steve Prince. I’m originally from
New Orleans, Louisiana, and I currently live in
Williamsburg, Virginia. I am the director of engagement
in artists in residence at the Muscarelle Museum at the
College of William and Mary. I’m gonna go back to a place
where I was born and raised, which is New Orleans, Louisiana, and share with you just a little bit about the philosophical foundation of my work, which comes out of the funerary
tradition of New Orleans, which is a jazz funeral, which
is broken up into two parts. The first part is called the dirge, which is the mournful tune that is played for someone
that’s being laid to rest, but once that person is laid to rest that music transforms from a mournful tune into a celebratory one which
is called the second line. I’ve used that as the philosophical
hinge point of my work because I believe that death and dying those things which we have
to encounter every day, but I believe that we
constantly work every day to work towards that second
line where we can have a life full of love, and
of hope, and rejuvenation, and I believe that we can
attain that without dying. So this piece that I deposited here in this particular exhibition is called Communal
Resurrection: Song for Aya. Aya is an Adinkra symbol
coming out of Ghana, and Aya if you look in
motif within my pieces you’ll see a fern as an
earring of one person, and that fern is a symbol of endurance, a symbol of perseverance. The panel is designed that it’s a linear, nonhistorical linear piece, so if you go from each
panel you can walk along it you can follow some of
the historical elements, but then I jazz it up, I hip-hop it up, and flip it all around in different ways, pull you back and forth through time. The first panel alludes
to the time of slavery, and I juxtaposed the cotton
fields to the Cotton Club, and it’s a space where the
spirituals are enacted. ♪ I’m free praise the Lord I’m free ♪ ♪ No longer bound ♪ And then go from the
panel to the second one, and I jump you from the
spirituals in the fields I bring you to hip-hop, and you’ll see on the ground
you’ll see a little record, and it’s The Sugarhill Gang. ♪ A hip hop a hippie to the hippie ♪ ♪ To the hip hip a hop ♪ ♪ You don’t stop the rockin’
to the bang bang boogie ♪ ♪ Say up jump the boogie ♪ ♪ To the rhythm of the boogie the beat ♪ And then I bring you to the
third panel, and you move on, and then you get there and on
the stage is Minnie Riperton, and she’s holding a microphone, her hand is up raised into the heavens and ♪ Lovin’ you is easy
’cause you’re beautiful ♪ I’m not gonna hit the next note, and then you go to that
fourth panel and you see blowing on the horn you see Coltrane. ♪ A love supreme ♪ ♪ A love supreme ♪ And by the time you get to
the fifth panel you’ll note that the love supreme was
blowing a note and a rhythm that was so beautiful and so
tactile and so kinesthetic that it goes from one project, and it touches into another project, and touches and it goes
to Sing Sing prison, which is in New York and there it bespeaks what took place in the first panel, which was the issue of slavery, and then the last panel the
slavery has gone on continually within our nation within the
prison industrial complex, and it bespeaks our job to take the fern, the symbol of endurance
to break those cycles, to bring about a closeness
within community, and for us to go out into the streets with a message of love and a hope that we can all get to the
second line, thank you. (applause) – Next is Dennis McNett, who was a visiting artist
in residence for two weeks at American University, and the installation
you’ll see into the exhibit Dennis has been here
working since March 25th. Dennis just is from Texas,
and now take it away, Dennis. – Hi, Dennis McNett, I’m
not gonna sing for you. (laughter) I got introduced to
printmaking when I was 18. I went to a community
college in Virginia Beach where I grew up. I was really impatient with
everything that I was learning, so with a drawing I’d go
to draw with a charcoal, and I’d always snap it because
I was pressing too hard, where if I would try to do a painting I’d get too impatient and
make a muddy mess with it. Then the guy that was instructing he had this little tiny printing press, and one day he took out a block
and he started carving it. I didn’t know what he was
doing, and then he inked it, he rolled like ink
across the surface of it, and then he cranked it through the press. When he pulled it up it looked like everything
that I was into as a kid. It looked like the punk rock album covers, and it looked like the
skateboard graphics from the ’80s like it had this harsh
graphic quality to it. From that point on I was
just hooked on printmaking. I’ve been doing prints for a long time, but I also worked construction, and a lot of blue-collar
jobs for a long time, so I know how to build things. Not that I got bored with prints, but I didn’t want it just
sitting on the wall anymore. I wanted it to be on a mask, or I wanted it to be
running down the street, or I wanted it to be an installation, so I started using prints
to cover my sculptures, installations, mask performances. I’m also very into storytelling, so I started kind of
making up my own mythology to talk about all sorts of
things, spiritual things, to talk about social things, to talk about political things. Yeah, I think that’s all I got, thanks. (applause) – The next artist is April
Flanders from North Carolina. – So I’m actually from
Boone, North Carolina. Well, not from there, I live there now. I’ve lived there for enough time that I’ve naturalized there. That’s in the hills of
Western North Carolina, so I’m actually a hillbilly. I hope I’m not gonna be
in one of those prints. My work that I did here, I’ve actually been here since Sunday, last Sunday installing it. I got here last Sunday, and have been installing
from Monday to Thursday. It’s a piece that I created for the express purpose
of showing it here. Last June I was at
Arrowmont School of Craft, and Susan called me and she
said “I have a wall for you.” And I said, “Oh,” and she
said, “It’s 38 feet long.” And I said, “Oh,” and she kind
of talked me into doing this, so I created this piece
that is made from thousands of little tiny pieces. It’s a piece that addresses
to invasive species that are aquatic invasives that are primary found in the Great Lakes, but they’re spreading across
the nation pretty rapidly, and it’s the quagga mussels
and the zebra mussels, and they are filter feeders. So what’s happening is
they filter diatoms, and algae from the water. They’re actually changing
the color of the Great Lakes, and changing the ecosystem, so they’re actually devastating
the main food source that keeps the whole chain alive. The piece is called Filter. The first question I’ve had
from pretty much everybody is how many pieces are up there? To that I say a whole lot. There are 75 species of algae
and diatoms represented. I started the piece with the intention of actually cataloging all of them
that are in the Great Lakes, and I got about halfway
through the alphabet. It’s a piece that’s created with monotype, screen-print and laser cutting. It was an incredible amount of labor, but it’s a really cool piece, and I was really pleased
to be included in the show, so, thank you. (applause) – Beauvais Lyons from Tennessee, the Circus Orbis ringleader. – I just wanted to say, and I’m sure other
people felt this impulse that it’s a great honor
to be part of this show that Susan’s organized, and to be with this cohort of artists. I’m sure we’ll say that again and again at certain points here, but I wanted to be one
of the first to say it. I have been at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville for 34 years. In that capacity I’m professor of art, and director of the Hokes Archives. For about 40 years I’ve
had the responsibility of preserving and promoting
the Hokes Archives, which I first acquired
most of the material at a storage locker of unclaimed goods in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. I keep discovering more
crates and containers with material from the Hokes Archives. The Hokes Archives is the
scholarly and cultural work of Everett Ormsby Hokes, director of Hokes Scholarly Lithography, and over the years I’ve
discovered crates that I’ve had, archeology, medicine, natural history, but one way that Everett Ormsby Hokes sought to advance his scholarly
work was to do jobbing work for Thaddeus Evergood, the
founder of Circus Orbis. We oftentimes face these
challenges and comprises in our life in terms of
trying to do the work we love, and he fell in love with Circus Orbis. Thaddeus Evergood, was it turns out, from East Tennessee from Jacksboro. The circus was created when
he was a street performer in Rome in 1908. You can read the story about
Circus Orbis in the text panel, and like other stories that you’re hearing as part of this exhibit printmaking is very much
connected to our personal, and social and cultural histories, so my work as director of the Hokes sounds like H-O-A-X archives is a way of investigating those stories, and spinning them anew. (applause) – So next is Nicole Pietrantoni from Walla Walla, Washington. – Thanks, Susan, it’s always fun to say. Indeed I’m from Walla Walla,
Washington where I teach printmaking and book
arts at Whitman College. It’s a real pleasure to be in this show. My work that’s displayed in the gallery is called Implications. It’s approximately nine feet
tall by about 30 feet wide, and it’s a series of artist
books that expand to create a panoramic image of icebergs in Iceland. The work is actually a collaboration with the poet Devon Wootten. Devon also happens to be my husband, so we’ve done a number of
collaborations on book works over the past several years. The work stems out of a
time I spent in Iceland. I was there as a Fulbright
for a whole year living there, and looking at how humans
relate to a changing landscape, and, specifically, how
humans often idealize, or romanticize the natural world. So for this piece I was
interested in using the book form. Each book is approximately
the size of an encyclopedia, and thinking about how these
books could contain a world, and not just world we read about, but that literally expands and opens up with all these accordions to create this really expansive world, and this image of these
icebergs that are fleeting, and disappearing at this
location in Iceland. So the text that part of the collaboration each one of the accordions
does fold up into a book, and it actually contains
a 400 page document from the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change, so it is actually a massive text, but Devon who is a poet
worked to do excision poetry where he sort of blacked
out pieces of that text to highlight in white text what now becomes a poetic
version of that document, so it reads as both a poem, and the original document simultaneously, and then opens up to
create this massive image. So it’s sort of a record of this place, and a record of this
time we’re in right now, so I’ll leave it there, thank you. (applause) – The next artist is Carrie
Lingscheit from Illinois. Carrie. – Thank you, Susan. I’m also gonna use my notes because I’ll make a lot
more sense that way. My work explores themes of
human behavior interaction, and the malleable nature of remembrance presenting equivocal narratives that are often characterized by omission, distortion and hyperbole. I’m fascinated by small
gestures, deliberate posturing, unguarded action and reaction by people, all of these little movements that comprise relationships
between people. Perception and remembrance
are always imperfect. Our every moment is subject to omission, as well as misinterpretation
and embellishment by the imagination and by emotions. In turn, each subsequent
recalling of these experiences is subject to repression,
convolution and dissipation. Some memories become even
further permeated by conflation. Separate remembrances
becoming morphed together like beads of moisture
joining together on glass. As our very identities are tangled up in these past experiences, I’m fascinated by the
notion of the gaps left by these absences of information, these holes within the structure of our past and present lives, these half imagined pasts that become layered among the
facade of one’s current self. I believe that these images as chronicled across copper surfaces, and eventually consigned
to paper impression invite a dialogue with viewers because we all crave familiarity, endlessly longing to connect
ourselves with other people through fragments and
layers of shared experience. I also want to talk a little bit about why I am drawn to printmaking. In a world of modern technology I’m drawn to intaglio printmaking because of the directly tactile
relationship it requires to both physical materials
and to the developing image. The intaglio plate develops gradually as each mark builds upon the previous creating a physical record of past action across the metal surface in what often becomes
truly a labor of love. Mistakes are not easily undone. They must be painstakingly corrected, or inventively incorporated often leading down new paths
of creativity and innovation in a way that Control Z options
would have likely stymied. I see this finished intaglio
play as a sculptural, visible chronicling of each decision whether additive or subtractive, and acted over the course
of making each piece. This methodology allows
me to maintain balance between careful composition
and unanticipated results, happy accidents. The physical process
of creating each place thus parallels the vacillating
simultaneously creative, and erosive qualities of
memory formation and recall that are also important
components of my research. I also wanted to just say
I think this relates to what maybe Dennis was saying that when I first was an art major I sort of resigned myself to be a painter because that was what I was familiar with, and my instructor would always come, and take my paintbrush away, and I was always being pushed
to like make it bigger, make it brasher, make it more expressive, and then when I was further
along in my college experience I finally took a printmaking class, and it was so different. I was encouraged to keep
doing what I was doing, and it was so refreshing, so then I was a printmaker forever. (applause) – And Sangmi Yoo from Texas. – Originally from South Korea. I just sat here to face
Susan right across. I first got to know Susan
several years ago when Victoria Star Varner created
an exhibition Midwest Matrix, Texas version, following the print legacy
programs Texas version, so I was honored to be
part of that exhibition, and got to know her
project for the first time, and remember introducing her media project as well to my students. Now I’m in Lubbock, Texas, West Texas teaching at Texas Tech University. I’ve been there for about 14 years. Never thought I was gonna situate myself in Texas, by the way. So I started in the Midwest, so I have certain affinity with the Midwest printmaking culture, although, all of my instructors
were in the Midwest, although, when I first
introduced to printmaking it was in South Korea at
Seoul National University. Several professors, my painting professors they started the Tyler School of Art, and one of them went to Cranbrook. I think he influenced my work mostly because he was a recent
graduate from there, and it was very refreshing to me. To me, similar to some of these artists who mentioned about why
they became a printmaker I was a painting major in my undergrad, and I was required to take printmaking then when I graduated I was
working in a post production doing some computer
animation and so forth. On the side I was able to show in some group show exhibitions, and every time I confront painting canvas it was such a struggle
facing the wall, blank wall, so it was a struggle as opposed
to working in the print shop where you’re surrounded
by a group of artists that are like-minded. It was such a relieving moment, and I got more productive
with the horizontal setting instead of vertical setting. So there was that physical
and communal aspect of printmaking that really
drove me into printmaking. So ever since then I
stayed within the practice while I expanded my notion
of printmaking further including installations
that’s where my work is now. I used some expanded notions unlike some of these elaborate
printmakers over here I feel a little bit humbled
because I feel like I’m cheating using these little metals, although, I’m pretty efficient
in traditional techniques while I’m teaching, but at the moment because of the scale, and the metals that I’m using I’m kind of leaning more
towards digital technology, and printmaking techniques
such as CNC laser cutting, and other hand metals. In fact, a lot of these little
prints they are hand cut. My smaller pieces are more laser cutting. So the basis of my work
going back to 2004 in Lubbock when I first moved to Lubbock I had to find a kind of temporary
rental place to stay in, and I was a little appalled by the lack of selection of the houses. It was a very strange experience at first. I’ve never been in the town
that had such tract homes that are really concentrated in the small sections of the town with the limited choices of designs. At first it was a very
dreadful experience. My colleague printmaker Stacy and I used to drive around town
videotaping all those tract homes, and I’m so glad I didn’t
get caught by any neighbors. As time went on taking a look at my video documentation
of all the houses I found certain odd comfort, and also living in one of those houses was such a relieving moment as if I’m an animal in a camouflage so I can easily blend into a neighborhood, so that was from my consciousness as well. Also, it goes back to my
childhood memory of my grandmother who used to live in Korean
style tract homes in the 1970s, so that kind of memory got brought back, and that was the reason
why I got tied into. Then I was drawing some photographs from the towns that I visit
such as Houston, Dallas, not to mention my hometown. Whenever I travel I take photographs of the kind of archetypal houses that are more typical tract
homes then document them, and more and more I do I
was kind of going away from the ideal notion of home, and it became an impossible ideal, so that kind of an ideal notion of home, and my kind of original
reactions to the houses, tract homes I saw in America. So that was a combination of
my early pieces of these house, and house cuts and digital prints, and other traditional prints
based on the house forms. So layering those house
forms in paper cuts, and backdrop color patterns that kind of resonates the
tactility as a tangible reality as opposed to illusion, so
that may not be possible. So those two notions are
always coinciding in my work. Currently I’m moving in
tomorrow of the botanical themes found in botanic gardens in America, so it started from Fort
Worth Botanic Garden, and I’m planning to visit
DC’s Botanic Garden tomorrow, so I can document some of the photos to be used for my future work. So I try to encase those exotic spaces found in conservatories of botanic gardens to reflect on American notion
of what the exoticism is, what the Asianness is, and so forth, so I can reflect on my current locations as opposed to how those things are viewed in colonial and post colonial notions. So that’s pretty much
where I am, thank you. (applause) – So I guess we can open
the floor for some questions if anybody would like to ask. Is that correct, Jack? – [Jack] Yes, or they can
ask each other questions. – Oh, yes, okay, well, I guess, before we go into the audience the goal of the exhibit
in my mind was to present a spectrum of traditional techniques, and contemporary techniques that the innovations that
printmaking is pushing boundaries. I think it’s one of the
most exciting art forms, obviously, so maybe each
of you could address is that what you’d like
something to the effect of? Tom. The expanding print, I mean,
everybody’s view of printmaking in the big bad way that you do. – I’m always in my stuff I’m always pulling from art history, print history, specifically,
as much as I can. When I first got into printmaking when somebody back in the
day now hands you a CD now they can’t hand you an
MP3 or an iTunes, whatever, and I like that band if I
love it I obsess over it, so I have to know
everything about that band. I have to have everything by that band, and I was the same way when I figured out that I wanted to be a printmaker. So I obsessed over the history of it. Ran to the library after
I pulled my first print, and I knew who Dürer was before that. To me it was like finding
members of my family. I feel like I’m related to those people. I feel like I know Dürer and Daumier, and Posada and Goya and Hogarth, and they’re like members of my family, so every day I go into the studio I have to make prints that
are as good as my heroes, otherwise, what’s the point? I know what I’m capable of doing, so that’s sort of my
daily thing is to go in, and try to make prints that
were as good as Dürer made, or Daumier or Posada. Dürer didn’t have plywood, I have plywood, so Dürer’s prints were
really large for their day. Up until that point of the 1400 and 1500s they were two inch by
two inch images on block that were made to go
along with movable type, and they would take a
virgin and child image, and just repeat it over and over. Then Dürer came along
and his prints were like 10 inches by 12 inches
and they were massive, so I’m kind of referencing
Dürer in the fact that I’m gonna make these huge
very technical woodcuts. The print that’s in this
show took 4-1/2 years to do, that’s every day for carving
six, seven hours a day. So it’s about going in for me
and paying homage to history, and bringing that stuff
into the contemporary world. It’s also my way of slowing things down. The world’s moving so fast all the time, and my life is so chaotic
and out of control being able to sit there at a block, and carve an area that’s
three inches by three inches for 10 hours in a day it
sounds awful in a way, but it’s actually quite calming. It’s the only place that
I’m in complete control of anything that I’m doing in my life. So my whole thing is the
reference of history, and to bring it into to today. The image that I reference
specifically in the print that’s in the show here
is by Hans Burgkmair, and it was two Lovers Surprised by Death. You should look it up it’s something else, but it’s like five inches
by eight inches, okay? So I’m taking the chiaroscuro
woodcut look of that, and blowing it up and
making it contemporary. – Okay, so Richard, can you talk about your approach to traditional technique, and to your contemporary technique because you’re doing so
much digital drawing, and how your love of
drawing is so important, in terms of you draw every day all day. – Yeah. – But he is a phenomenal,
all phenomenal lithography. – Lithography to me is the
most wonderful medium because– – Oh, oh, don’t, yeah, talk
to, yeah, I’ll hold your phone. – Thanks, the reason
why I love litho so much is it’s just pure drawing, and since I was a little
kid I’ve liked drawing. So at the Kansas City Art Institute I was in the foundations program. I started right out of high school, and I stumbled into a print shop, and asked somebody what that smell was. They said, “Well, that’s
lithotine,” and then I said, “Well, I’m taking this
class next semester.” Since then I’ve loved litho. Cynthia Osborne when she
retired gave me five gallons of lithotine that was made in 1967, and I still have that. – That’s good stuff. – Oh, God, let me tell you. I don’t use it all the time because I’m afraid to use it all up. I was drawn to stone simply because of the character of the stone, and then the iPad thing happened that commercial that Apple put out. The department chair at
Ventura College said, “You’re gonna teach graphic
design next semester.” I said, “But I’ve been on a
computer for only a month.” And he says, “Well, do you have an MFA?” I said, “Yes,” and he says,
“Well, then you can do it.” So the minute I got onto the computer, and made a mark with a mouse because I didn’t have pens back then I got so excited that I
could draw on a computer that I just kept doing it. I always said if they ever
had a flat surface with a pen, and I could draw on it
digitally I would buy one. So the minute I saw that
commercial I bought it. It was expensive, $1,007
and then the pen was $100, and it’s like charge
it on your charge card. So the minute I got it I started drawing, and I haven’t stopped. I’m dead serious when I tell you when I wake up in the
morning I’ll make coffee, I sit down and I draw, and then two, three, four
in the morning I go to bed I just can’t stop it’s addictive. The thing I like about it most is this. You have a phone and you can do this, and you get closer and closer, and then all of a sudden you realize, shit, all I’m doing is drawing scribbles, and then when I realized
all art was scribbles it opened up a whole new world to me, and I just wish when I was in art school I could have done this to my lithographs because then I would have known what kind of marks I was making. So for me loving drawing so much the iPad has become I
think my favorite tool, and then taking it from
the iPad to the stone for me is really exciting. – So, Michael, why don’t you talk a bit about your foray into … I met Michael at a Southern
graphics conference when you were a student, and saw these beautiful
silkscreens about these cool cats, the border cats and can you talk about the cat persona a little bit? – Sure, so printmaking for me came at a time in my upbringing where I was at a crossroads
in terms of my identity. As an undergraduate student
at Texas State University with a graphic design background I turned to printmaking
to turn my graphic designs into a more authentic kind of artwork that wasn’t limited to
the screen resolution, one that was given agency to
be exhibited on the white wall, and 60 inch eye level height. It was different, so I
wanted my graphic designs to get that kind of attention
through printmaking, so that was the easiest transition, and what I was accustomed to
was to design my compositions using Adobe Creative Cloud, and then translating
those designs into prints. So for me what made sense
was to turn my screen prints into separations, separate them by color, layer them up to reproduce the design from the screen to paper. It wasn’t enough for me to make a formally successful transition from graphic design to screen print. I also had to have the
history of screen print embedded within the imagery. At that time SB 1070 in Arizona was getting a lot of attention, so I was starting to
become aware of my identity as a minority in the states. Through tangential
associations in San Marcos, which is like a small Texas college town I was born and raised in San Antonio, which is like a big urban city like the 7th largest, I
believe, in the states. San Marcos was a different
kind of experience, so I felt like I was
being sort of racialized in micro aggressions throughout
my time at that university, but that sort of made me
want to explore my identity, and question why I had never thought about my identity before as a
minority in the states up until that point in my education, so I came to terms with the narrative of presenting my, I guess, Latini that as a cat. I was raised in a mobile home park, and people’s relationships
in mobile home parks the cat is sort of curious because not everyone welcomes
cats in that environment. Some people do, so my
argument to my mom was because we were like lower
income, middle class family, I was cautioning my mom
to not feed the cats because they would continue to reproduce, and we couldn’t afford the offspring, and it was just like a never-ending story. That sort of sounded like
mirroring the political debate around immigration so I sort
of went with that gut instinct, and created a mythology
around migrant cats continuing to flourish, and sort of take advantage of people who catered to them and fed them, and sort of were like
feeding off of nice people. I just went with that,
and then long story short, rapid prototyping tools
became a way to talk about my identity in printmaking. I’ve done a few woodcuts
that were done with the guide of a laser cutter
or with a CNC router, so I feel like my
interaction with printmaking, or traditional printmaking
tools is to use a computer to try to make an image. I feel like I’m at an
intersection between my identity, and then printmaking as
printmaking’s identity with trying to what’s print passing, and what’s considered a successful print? I’m trying to find the Latinx identity, or approach to a
traditional fine art print. I feel like my mission as
an artist as a printmaker is to place my Latinx identity within the printmaking world, and use a computer to facilitate that because Mexican Americans or
Mexicans have already made woodcut prints traditionally
for centuries now. I feel like that narrative
is not my narrative. My narrative is to infuse computer, or rapid prototyping tools to create Mexican
American identity prints, so I feel like that’s where I’m at, and that’s what I’m
trying to set out to do. In terms of what’s on
display I sort of use video installation to move forward my printmaking practice,
but with motion video. So, yeah, that’s a little
bit of background on my work. – So, Steve, I’ve always loved your work. I kind of described you
in the catalog as sort of the new Catlett tradition
in that power of her work, but can you talk about I
know you’ve been involved in printmaking beyond other
types of work that you do, and I know you recently did some lithographs out at Notre Dame, and you also do very large
scale community projects, so what is your goal with your print work to push beyond boundaries of the history, and your own history? – Absolutely, thank you, Susan. I would say that I guess one thing that is kind of foundational
to my work is drawing. From my earliest days
that I put mark to paper was very integral to my work, but as I continued to
grow not only as a person, but as an artist what
became very important to me was approaching all the various media as a linguist would approach languages. I do printmaking, I do drawing, I do painting, I do sculpture, and trying to find interesting ways in which I can marry those
different processes together, and begin to speak through
those various media, what can be said with the color red, or what could be said
with a charcoal drawing versus a pencil drawing? What could be said with a
litho versus a screen print, and how do we feel when we
see those different things? So I’m interested in all those ways in which we can communicate. I grew up in a household
that was very creative. I talk about my mom a lot
because she was a person that was very creative in the kitchen in terms of what she was able to do as far as preparing for us
as a family and providing. I liken that idea of what
she was able to provide, and the creative ways in
which she thought about food, and how you stretch it I liken that, too, in the way in which I think about medium, and how I make things, but not only do I liken it to the medium, and how I make things, I liken the same ideas in terms of how we interact with each other beyond looking at each other
through the surface lens. There’s so much more to us an individuals in terms of our history and
our stories and our journey, and there’s more connecting points than there are ones that separate us, so that becomes very important for me. Then as far as the community-based work I see no separation from that because we grew up in a communal context in terms of what we’re influenced by. I happen to be a person I’ve lived in several different places. I grew up in New Orleans and
influenced by that rich roux, and that rich gumbo of culture, but then I went to grad
school in Michigan, and then it was a flip side
of where I grew up with. Then I lived in Maryland. Then I lived in Virginia. Then I lived in Pennsylvania. Then I lived in Detroit. Now I’m back in Virginia again, so moving around each space
is a different flavor. There’s a different way in which is different cultural rhythms. There’s different customs
and all that stuff. So as an artist engaging community, taking different mediums and
different tools and so forth I do that and I use this
idea called the black line. What I mean by that is is
that or let me change that. Let me change the statement. If I just took three random
people from the audience, and had them make a piece of art, and if they didn’t have any art experience those people with a lot of
art experience may look at it, and say it looks a little elementary, but if you take 2,000 people
and have them make marks, and if a person is crafty enough can pull those voices together visually then that which didn’t
look too good individually looks really beautiful and compelling when it’s a whole bunch. I think about that same
idea in terms of music. If I told three people
out of the audience today that could not sing and
they just sang something they would be exposed,
whereas, we take 2,000 people, and tell them to sing something just the sheer power of the voice, and the sound will move us. It will make your skin just crawl. So I use those same kinds of notions, those ideas in terms of
going out in the community, and trying to enact a lot of people to work on a singular idea to get their individualized voices, and how those individualized
voices connect to other voices, but the most important part of that, and try to process what I
do in terms of community is not the end product. It’s the process, it’s that
which we go through together is those conversations that take place through the convex of the art work. How do we make that happen? Another thing that’s
happening in my work, too, the last thing I will leave with is that it’s starting to broaden
and grab on other things some elements of technology, but it’s tapping into, is grabbing onto movement
in terms of dance, and it’s been grabbing
on sound for a long time, so I’m just trying to
grab different elements, and how does that continue to enrich not only the visual texture, but the sound texture,
the spiritual texture how can I begin to speak to
all those different multiple intelligences in which we
all operate on, you know, so. – A few more minutes, okay. – [Jack] Yeah, they can also
talk to them in the museum. – Oh, oh, oh, okay, all right, okay, so what are we supposed to do now? – [Jack] Well, we’re
getting right down to it. – Oh, I’m sorry, okay, well, I’m sorry we didn’t get the other group. Do we just close? – [Jack] Yes, but you can
continue the conversation. – Oh, okay, sorry, I’m sorry. So we are gonna continue the
conversation in the gallery, and each artist will be stationed near their extraordinary works of art, and thank you so much
for your conversation, and thank you Jack. (applause)

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