Archives for category: Teaching

I was invited by Kristen Bartel, the printmaking professor at the University of Wisconsin at Parkside, to be a visiting artist on April 13 and 15, 2015.

K. Hudspeth at Univerisity of Wisconsin at Parkside

For my time with Kristen and her students, I chose to offer a chipboard relief/collagraph workshop, which we printed with a combination of intaglio and color viscosity inking strategies.

University of Wisconsin at Parkside Printmaking Workshop with vi

University of Wisconsin at Parkside Printmaking Workshop with vi

University of Wisconsin at Parkside Printmaking Workshop with vi

University of Wisconsin at Parkside Printmaking Workshop with vi

I made shaped plates for my demonstration prints; one is below.

Chipboard relief; intaglio inked with color viscosity inking. Printed on Zerkall Copperplate, 11" x 15", 2015.

The other plate wasn’t so great, but this one worked out well.  It even had the added bonus of not having an ‘up’ or ‘down’.

Chipboard relief; intaglio inked with color viscosity inking. Printed on Zerkall Copperplate, 11" x 15", 2015.

Kristen also went to the University of Texas at Austin (though well after I did), and learned color viscosity from Lee Chesney, which was entertaining for us to recount, though perhaps less so for the students.

Parkside is well-known for hosting the National Small Print Exhibition every year (I should have applied!), and the opening for it was going to be just a few days after my workshop.  Fortunately, the work was installed, and I got to see the exhibition.  I was happily surprised to see some screenprints by Lise Drost, a University of Miami professor of printmaking, and my mentor, who was the Chair of the Department of Art and Art History, as well as the head of my Thesis Committee, while I was pursuing my Masters there.

University of Wisconsin at Parkside National Small Print Exhibit

Because they’ve held this exhibition annually since 1987, and there are purchase awards associated with it, Parkside has prints on nearly all the interior walls of the campus.  Like, really.

University of Wisconsin at Parkside campus interior, April 2015

University of Wisconsin at Parkside campus interior, April 2015

University of Wisconsin at Parkside campus interior, April 2015

It made me incredibly happy to see so many prints as part of a day-to-day college experience.  It’s rewarding to be in a place where an esteem for printmaking is evident.

Unsurprisingly, the Parkside printshop is very nice, and very well maintained!

University of Wisconsin at Parkside printshop

University of Wisconsin at Parkside printshop

University of Wisconsin at Parkside printshop

University of Wisconsin at Parkside printshop

University of Wisconsin at Parkside printshop

University of Wisconsin at Parkside printshop

I had a lot of fun in the Wisconsin overall–mostly thanks to my brother, who is a philosophy professor at Parkside.  He took me cool places, like to the Mars Cheese Castle.

Mars Cheese Castle

Mars Cheese Castle's Castle

It was cool because I like cheese.

My brother took me to other cool places, too, like the headquarters of a personal care products corporation in Racine.

Johnson Wax Headquarters

Johnson Wax Headquarters

That was cool because I like personal care products.  Wait . . . no.  Architecture.  Because the architecture is cool.

Have you seen Wright’s Johnson building (the Research Tower) at night, by the way?

Johnson Wax Headquarters

If I were a certain type of person, I would be easily convinced that the Johnson Wax Headquarters was really an alien base.  All your base are belong to Johnson Wax!  That was a total non-sequiter.

Another cool place that my brother took me was to the Kenosha History Center.

Kenosha History Center dolls and toys

Kenosha History Center dolls and toys

Kenosha History Center Cars

Kenosha History Center Cars

Kenosha History Center Cars

Kenosha History Center

Kenosha History Center Annie Oakley on a Bike

The Kenosha History Center was cool because I am clearly a giant nerd.  Also: Annie Oakley riding a bicycle while taking aim.  Not just any bicycle, but a Sterling Bicycle.  Built like a watch!

That alone was worth the price of admission.  Well. That and the AMC AM VAN prototype.

Speaking of cool, Wisconsin in April is cold (nevermind that 60 degrees sign above–that was the warmest day I was there, and the natives were frolicking in the heat).  The landscape is so entirely different from Miami, too.

University of Wisconsin at Parkside campus, April 2015

University of Wisconsin at Parkside campus, April 2015

University of Wisconsin at Parkside campus, April 2015

University of Wisconsin at Parkside campus, April 2015

University of Wisconsin at Parkside campus, April 2015

And speaking of Miami, another cool place my brother took me was to Stevens Point, Wisconsin. [Wait for it!]  Stevens Point had a philosophy conference, which was fun, but it also has a sculpture park.  Look what I found in the sculpture park:

Tom Scicluna in the Stevnes Point Sculpture Park

Tom Scicluna in the Stevnes Point Sculpture Park

Work by a pal of mine from Miami.  Small, small, small, cool world.

 

This Spring season finds me behind on my planned activities–my grandmother passed away in early February after declining health concerns, and at the time of this post’s writing, it’s only been just over a month since then.  She helped to raise me and my brother, and I don’t feel as if I’ve yet had the proper time to grieve.  Work has had to continue, as has teaching.  Somehow, I’ve still been very active, even while other planned tasks have had to be delayed.

Turn-Based Press participated in the the MOA+D Bazaar Bar on February 21, for which I made and printed some upcycled, T-shirt Lubber Totes as well as a few Moleskine notebooks.

Lubber Tote by KH for Turn-Based Press

Also for Turn-Based Press, I printed a triptych edition for Adler Guerrier, on view in booth B15 for Marisa Newman Projects at Volta, March 5 – 8.

More plans are in the works: I’ll be heading up to the University of Wisconsin at Parkside to be a visiting printmaker towards the middle of April, and I have an edition series with four artists that I’m going to print for Turn-Based Press that I’ll be initiating in just a week or so, I hope!  Grief is unpredictable, of course, so I hope that everyone can be patient. <3

The finished installation for Exquisite Consequence.

This year’s New World School of the Arts Visual Arts faculty show is based upon the idea of an exquisite corpse–each faculty member was given a length of wall and four days to create and install work based on the work which came before theirs (except for the first artist, of course).

I was the fifth artist to be able to respond and install work, coming after (in order): Aramis O’Reilly, Tom Wyroba, Tony Fernandez and Rosario Martinez-Cañas.  I had no previous knowledge of what their work looked like, but knew that if I wanted to use any printmaking in the creation of a new work, I was going to have to do some prep.  I figured that screenprinting would be the quickest method to use, so I cleaned out some of my screens in advance of my assigned dates.

This was the section of wall assigned to me for my work.

The above image shows Rosario’s work and the blank wall where mine was assigned to go.  The lighting wasn’t set yet, and only the overhead lights were on.  Rosario had installed an interesting stripe of Post-it Notes adhered to her section of the wall; hand-held black lights are also part of her installation, and will be used to reveal writings on the Post-its, but they weren’t there at the time I started my work.  Consequently, I decided to respond formally to what she had done.

The makeshift table and light I’d set up to work, and the start of my installation.

I decided to use the unit of the Post-it as the seed for an arranged sequence of cut and printed multiples.  I both printed and cut drip forms (which are prominent in my work, and stand for different things variously), and I changed their length as well as cut and hung them so that a color gradient moved diagonally through the entire installation.  I printed on 70 lb drawing paper, and assumed that the cut drips would begin to curl up due to humidity, thereby giving the piece additional texture.

The works in this show are not individually titled, but as I was working, I came to think of this piece as Post-drip Note Sequence.

My makeshift work space. Also visible are the large screenprinted sheets I created just to be able to have enough material from which to cut the forms.

Since I had done some work in advance (cleaning and coating screens as well as cutting the stencils I wanted to burn into them), I spent a day burning screens and mixing ink.  The first ink I mixed was a match for the typical Post-it Note color; it was a bit tricky while in the office supply store–every type of Post-it seems to have it’s own slightly different yellow!  After that yellow, I mixed ten other colors so that when I printed the drip forms in overlap I’d get a fairly gradual transition towards a dark blue.  The works in the gallery, to this point, were primarily brown, white, black and yellow, and I wanted to bring more color into the space.

A view of the large sheets I was printing on, and the improvised system I used to help stabilize the un-clamped screen.

I printed onto four sheets of drawing paper, each approximately 36″ x 72″, two in a yellow-green gradient and two in a blue-green gradient.  The image above shows one of the screens I used to print the drips.  It’s fun printing onto a large surface, but there are some challenges–one is that it’s a lot easier for the screen to move around during printing, which is bad.  So I used the book arts’ classes wrapped bricks to weight my screen at the top.  Let’s keep that between us.

It took me a day and a half to print the sheets, after which I began to cut the drip forms out.  I spent another day in the gallery cutting and installing, and though we were only supposed to use four days, I had to come in on the weekend to finish the installation.  Counting prep and the extra time I needed for installation, it took me about six days to make and install the work.  By the end of installation, the fingers of my cutting hand were numb, and stayed that way for another five days.

The show opens Friday, September 7, 2012 at the New World Gallery, 25 NE 2nd ST, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.  Come on by to see the finished installation, as well as the works by the other instructors.  It’s a really interesting show, and we’d love to see you there.

In order of installation, the artists in the show are: Aramis O’Reilly, Tom Wyroba, Tony Fernandez, Rosario Martinez-Cañas, Kathleen Hudspeth, Alisa Pitchenik-Charles, Liina Weiss, Yasmine Samimy, Carol Todaro, Don Lambert, Susan Banks, Annette Piskel, Fred Snitzer, Carlos Gallostra, Lori Nozick, and Tim Buwalda.

 

 

The Problem with Collographs

The problem with collographs is that most people actually don’t know how to make a good one.

A lot of people don’t really even know how to make one themselves, but nevertheless think they know about them.

Do you know how these collographs were made?

Collographs have a terrible reputation among ‘serious’ art-world types.  I get it, of course.

As a very entry-level friendly technique, a lot of novices are instructed in the method.  Of course, they then make novice, entry-level artwork.  The more ‘serious’ types then are accustomed to associating collographs with entry-level, novice work, and dismiss the technique in general.

You can see the type of novice work I mean here–cardboard plates, dry foodstuffs, wet sketchbook paper, using paint in the place of inks, and no press.  Like I said, I understand the negative bias.  Unfortunately, it interferes with people’s perception of well-executed collographs.

[The woman in the linked video seems perfectly nice and I mean no disrespect to her personally; I just selected the video because it contains all the stereotypes of what people think they know about collographs, which is to say that many people think all collographs are made like that.]

[EDIT: to see a more recent post in which I illustrate the printing of a collograph, go here.]

I encountered this negative bias recently in two interactions–one was at the Ink fair during Art Basel Miami Beach, when (I wont mention who!) an exhibitor (and publisher) of works that were clearly collographs used a different term to describe them.  The works were made by mixing carborundum grit with a glue, applying it to different plexi matrices, inking it as an intaglio and printing the plates in register in order to edition them.

Obviously, it’s a complicated and sophisticated process.  Also obviously, it’s definitely a collotype process.  We chatted a bit, and the exhibitor fessed up that his avoidance of the term collograph was to avoid negative connotations.

The second place I encountered the prejudice against collographs was during the jury process at the school where I teach.

During a discussion of one of my student’s works, a fellow jurist had a positive response to one of the prints until learning that it was a collograph.  It might be that this jurist’s opinion of the work didn’t change, but I saw a slight disdain come over the jurist’s visage as soon as the word “collograph” came up: “oh, that stuff with the cardboard”.

I demonstrate and instruct collotype a lot.  Sometimes I use cardboard.

Usually, however, I use chipboard (the difference between chipboard and cardboard is that cardboard is hollow, with supporting interior ribs, which means it squishes in the press and prints with a regular linear pattern).  Nitpicky, yes, but it makes a difference.

One major positive of collotype is that it’s an inexpensive technique.  A second major positive is that it’s flexible–you can print is as either relief or intaglio.  It also doesn’t require specialized tools (beyond the inks, press and press equipment, of course).

I adore copperplate intaglio, but copper is very expensive, and students are reluctant to purchase it (they usually don’t understand that copper plates are re-usable, in part because they become so attached to the plate), while chipboard (not cardboard!) only costs a few dollars for a fairly large sheet.  So you can buy it by the sheet—or just use the back of a newsprint pad!

Those hard ‘cardboard’ backs of sketchbook pads?  Chipboard.

You can use colloype to familiarize students with mixing and rolling out inks, ink properties, use of the press, intaglio inking, use of tarlatans, hand-wiping and editioning.

It is an entry-level friendly method!  Just because it is one, though, doesn’t mean all work produced with it is low quality.

A typical collograph of scraps and bits of stuff. Color viscosity inked.

The print above is a collograph from a plate I made as a demo for a high school weekend workshop.

It’s the usual glue-bits-of-crap-together plate, the type which is almost impossible to avoid when you build a plate live for instructional purposes.  Students need to be able to see you create the damn thing on the spot, and you usually only have a few hours with them, so scraps and crap it is!

This one is built on chipboard, with more chipboard, some cardboard, lace, yarn, paper, tin foil and tarlatan.

This particular impression has been relief viscosity rolled in two colors.

Viscosity inking techniques use the relative viscosity of separate inks to determine how they will be applied to the plate–the texture of the plate, the durometer (softness or hardness) of the brayer or roller, the height of the plate elements, and the order and direction in which the inks were applied–the different colors are all applied before the plate is run through the press, meaning it prints in one run–determine how the inks are laid down and the degree to which they blend.

The white halos around plate elements are an indicator that the above image was inked as a relief plate; where substantial height difference exists between plate elements, the roller, or brayer, will not be able to force ink into that area.

The same plate, inaglio inked and color viscosity inked (two colors), printed on good quality intaglio paper..

Obviously, the above image is of the same plate.  Hopefully, you can see a gigantic difference between the two!

This impression has been inked intaglio-style in green before being rolled as a relief plate with two colors using the viscosity inking methodology. It was printed on a high-quality, damp alpha-cellulose intaglio paper at significant pressure.

The white halos are gone (replaced by the green outlining from the intaglio inking), the texture of all elements is dramatically more impressive (ha!), and overall, the image is just better.  The image doesn’t mean anything, but it’s pretty, and rather intoxicating to hold in your hand because of the color and textural richness.

With the right knowledge and technique, you can glue dried spaghetti on a flattened cereal box and pull an interesting print.

A representational collograph printed as a three-color viscosity relief.

I didn’t have any dried spaghetti at the time I made the plate for this demo, sadly.  Only the usual chipboard, cotton rags, and tin foil.  I did use a flattened box, though!

The same plate printed as an intaglio.

This plate was sealed with gesso (which I don’t recommend–it absorbs too much ink for the first few impressions) before it was printed.  This was also made as a demonstration for a high school class.

I won’t make a case for these prints as art, but I assure you that they are good impressions.

That’s kind of a weird thing, right?  Most artists won’t make claims as to what is or is not art–at the most, folks’ll say what is or is not good art, and a lot of times they don’t have many believable reasons as to why.

One of my theories is that the inherent skill with which a work was produced acts upon the viewer as a signifier that something is Good Art.

Skill comes through study, time, and dedication–all of which are hard to avoid as a professional artist.  At the student or novice level, however, those aspects aren’t necessarily in place yet, and so skill can be hit or miss.  Like anything else, the student (or novice!) who works hard and strives to achieve can ‘hit’ more often than not.

Student work from my Fall 2011 monotype class.

This student (who I’ll identify if she wants me to!) used tulle, paper, lace and an X-acto incising technique before coating the plate with acrylic gloss gel medium with a brush.  It’s simple platework, well-inked and well printed, on good paper.  No dried foodstuffs.  Edition of 7.

There’s an odd grey area in collotype–what do you call a chipboard plate that’s been coated with acrylic gloss gel medium, but hasn’t actually had anything glued to it?

I’ve been calling it chipboard relief.

An impression from a chipboard plate, carved out with an X-acto knife and coated with acrylic gloss medium before being intaglio inked and relief rolled.

The print above was printed in an edition of 6, and is intaglio wiped (the lines of the wood are cut out from the chipboard plate–incised) with a finishing relief roll printed on intaglio paper.  It’s put through the press once per impression.

Really, though?  To be honest, the only thing that makes the platework different from the other prints illustrating this post is that I didn’t glue anything to the plate.  In my student’s work above, she didn’t technically glue anything either–she did use the gloss gel medium as a glue, however.  Acrylic gloss gel medium is a fancy glue!

I could call it intaglio, perhaps–like copperplate intaglio.  We don’t usually say zinc intaglio, but we do say drypoint on plexi.  We do say mezzotint.  Though I did learn a collograph technique which approximates mezzotint.  I could simply call it relief, I guess; wood and chipboard both come from trees, after all.  Wait–isn’t plywood made of wood which is glued together in thin layers?  So a carved plywood sheet might be able to be called a collograph!

You begin to see the conundrum here.  I can call it lots of things, but most of those things I call it won’t mean anything to anyone except printmakers.  So why not call it a collograph?

I personally haven’t been doing so because I’ve been being technically pedantic!  But that’s just me.

So here’s what I think.  Unless you’ve personally created a good quality collograph, don’t get snooty about the technique (and if you have created a good quality collograph, you won’t be snooty about the technique because you’d understand how tricky it can be!).  Judge the artwork, fine–I have no problems with that!

After all, there’s many a novice cook (or poet, or singer) out there with lackluster offerings, but we don’t look down upon food (or poetry, or music).

Even a good cook will use dried spaghetti and be found with a cereal box in hand from time to time.

One more thing: people are generally not printing collographs by hand because they prefer it–rather it’s because they don’t have a press.  Very few techniques are able to be adequately printed by hand; relief is pretty much the only one, and even then, pulling a good print by hand is not easy.  So if there’s a press nearby, don’t suggest that someone print a collograph by hand.

I guess if you don’t like that person and want to cackle madly while they laboriously develop tendonitis from hand-impressing their plate, then maybe.

Otherwise, no.