By: KATE LUCE
A new printmaking project brought students to a new place to show off work; the world around them. Unlike the usual print projects, the audience was the community.
Although places differed, the idea of the project was to get artwork out in the world rather than have it in a gallery-type setting. Printmaking has its roots tied in spreading information out into the world, not through galleries but in the streets.
Print media in the world has only grown with the affordability of ink-jet printers in the past few decades. Now, print media surrounds the world; sometimes in seemingly random places.
“I teach the A190 Social Impact of Printmaking. It has allowed me to go back through the history of prints because I have to teach it, also it has fueled my own research. Most of the early prints were put up somewhere or disseminated to spread information out in the world. In art school, we tend to make art objects that are framed and hung in a gallery…but that’s only half of the history of Printmaking,” Bill Tourtillotte, lecturer in fine arts, said.
The project titled, Print/Out, was a way to battle the polar vortex that knocked out a week of classes. However for the classes that participated in this project, this assignment turned into something meaningful for them.
“My Print/Out project was based on something I used to do with an ex-girlfriend. We would make tiny origami turtles and leave them in random places for people to find. It started as our joke, and became this huge scavenger hunt for us later on to see if they ended up being found. I still had some left over from a couple years ago, so I decided to print shells on them using a wood-cut.
The ending of that relationship was really difficult for me, so bringing up old memories that were positive can have a negative effect now. As I set them all down by the river and started photographing, they all started to blow into the river. So I threw the rest in, and made sure they all floated away. It was time to let it all go I suppose. I kept one for the critique, and as soon as it comes down, I’m throwing that one in too.,” Josh Boger, BFA printmaking, said.
The Print/Out project allowed students to use any print media they would like. Relief printing, silk screen prints, monotypes and stickers were all present during critique.
Some viewed this assignment to use as activism, spreading information on sharing culture, eco-friendly death options and just being kind. Others used this project to use their personal experiences to express positivity, bring light to personal growth, or just have a reminder of joy to a personal place.
“I was surprised in a couple of ways. Everybody was reverential with looking at each other’s work. There was this kind of hush that fell over both groups before critique started. They looked at the prints, the installation, and the definition. Another thing that surprised me was that there was this humanitarian thread that ran through what everyone did,” Tourtillotte said.
Although this project was just a way to get a small project in before the semester ended, it is now a project that is being considered for future printmaking classes.
Most of these projects were temporary, but others still are out in the world. It is a reminder to keep an eye out in the world for print media. It is around more than one might realize.