Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I have been promised world fame and turned it down, twice

The opportunity to hang in every dorm room or hang in that perfectly designed Swedish room right over the sofa that was put together with one “L” shaped tool. Seriously, quite a few times over the years, people offering to make prints and posters of my paintings have approached me. Although I was very tempted to jump into the business of high speed quality printing to make more prints than my bookkeeper could keep up with; I still said no. Why, because I make prints. I make silkscreened pieces of art.  Their reply was, “We’ll, make prints of your prints.”…Seriously?

Now there are the high speed unlimited prints that you see in the mall or as you exit the gift shop. There is also the giclee, a fancy French word for ink jetprint. I’m not knocking them, there are some really great printers out there with amazing print technology that can pull this off and they do. I have used them for certain projects where a reproduction of my art was needed or where the image was made on the computer and there isn’t another way of getting it out of that little box of ones and zeros.

But what I love to do second to painting is making prints with silkscreens. I describe silkscreening or serigraphs, as it is sometimes called, as a fancy stencil. The majority of people remember it from high school if they took a second year of art class. You had the red “rubylith” and cut your design out with an X-acto knife. There was a guy named Andy Warhol that used silkscreening that became wildly successful and they even made prints of his prints. If you don’t know Warhol, you can also find silkscreened images on a bottle of Rolling Rock. If you’re not a Pennsylvania beer drinker, you can easily find a silkscreened image on any university sweatshirt that has an image on it. Yup, that’s a silkscreen. Each color is printed individually through it’s own screen. Now take that image and print it on paper and it’s worth more.

World fame and money aside, I just enjoy the process of making something and making many of them. It’s a tedious task of printing one color at a time on one piece of paper, over and over again. The joy can be found in the slight variations and nuances of each print. A shift in the paper can put the image out of registration so that it becomes reminiscent of the Sunday comics. The process of silkscreening allows me to deconstruct my paintings and bring them back together color by color, piece by piece.  I balance that with my need to get things done and the attention span of a gnat by keeping my editions small. I’m slowly taking over the world with twenty pieces of paper at a time.

Did I mention that I’m using this tedious technology to help me get to Cuba? Considering I don’t have Pinky and I’m the brain behind this, I had to find a way to sell it.

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