Printing AFUERA

Dreamscape 2, Thomas Wojak

Dreamscape 2, Thomas Wojak

Recently I have been involved with a project here called 'AFUERA'. You can read about it in some of my previous posts. Basically  'AFUEA' took a group of artists down to a small costal town named Pisco in order to draw attention to the devastating effects of a recent earthquake and the lackluster response from the government to help rebuild. I asked them if there were any opportunities to get involved and turned out they needed some editions printed.

As a printmaker I most often am printing my own work. But printmaking has a long history in which it was not considered an art form as much as a trade and means of communication.  For a long time the printmaker was a tradesman a person that painters, writers, and other artists would come to in order to have their work translated into a print. This is called making an edition of a work for an artist. Why would an artist want her work made into an edition? It gives the artist the ability to sell more than one piece of a given work, you can mass distribute a text, and there is something gained in the translation. Printmaking is not photocopying-the matrix, printing technique used, changes the original art. Many printmakers, including myself, print editions for other artists. Master printmaker Thomas Wojak, who I studied under, is one such artist. Not only does he make his own fantastic prints but he can translate into print- paintings, photos, hell you name it when I was studying with him we were printing giant iphones for Apple. Make sure to check out his work through the links above. My point is printing an edition for an artist is a) a great way to find work and b) a great way to show the power and versatile nature of printmaking c) can be a very interesting collaborative effort between artists. During the translation from say a painting into a print the image takes on printmaking qualities by necessity. Separating the print from a giclee print. A giclee print will automatically come out as good as the scan it originates from whereas the hand made edition has been effected and changed by the printmaking medium and the printmaker. This is the joy of printmaking.

The "AFUERA" team sent me two jpegs from which to work with. Not ideal as I would have rather had the originals. But one of the originals was a tiny pencil drawing and the other was a mural piece. The artists who's work I would be printing were Jade and Decertor. The first thing I needed to do was make films for each color in each of the prints. The Jade print was only two colors and the Decertor print was five colors so two films for Jade and five for Decertor. I make my color separations and films by hand by putting a clear film over the image and tracing each individual color in opaque black ink. These will then be used to develop the screens which I will print the images with. I have all the tools necessary in my studio to screen print except for an exposure unit. Elliot Tupac to the rescue! Elliot is a Peruvian artist based here inLima. He offered to let me use his exposure unit. I headed into the congested city center of Lima to visit his studio and made the screens I needed. After that it was just a matter of setting up my registration and printing the editions. It all went very smoothly. 

This culminated in a show in a part of Lima called Barranco. Barranco is the official arts center of Lima. It is a great section of town on the coast filled with galleries, coffee shops, and restaurants. This was a great experience for me as it has gotten my foot in the door of the Lima art scene and it got me working. I've included some images of the print process and the final products. I'm really hoping to find more work printing editions, for that matter if anyone reading this is interested in my work please drop me a note on the comment page or my contact page.

Cheers, 

Ben