COMMUNITY + CONCEPT
Friday, April 20th, 9 AM, Butch’s Den, WSU CUB.
Kristin Becker, Chair
How have acts of printmaking have been used to draw connections among the needs, concerns, and circumstances of specific communities? What are the conceptual, educational, and organizational foundations of such projects? The presentations and dialogue in this panel will strive to answer these questions through specific project examples.
Outreach Projects as Means of Quality of Life
I have been organizing at least one outreach project in each of my regular printmaking courses as a part of my curriculum at the University of New Mexico, Department of Art since 2001. Projects have been local, regional, or international, and I have especially extended offers of printmaking to people suffering from poverty, natural disasters, and physical & mental challenges. I see there are positive outcomes for my students after they participate in collaboration projects, including the opportunities for self-discovery, building of self-esteem and self-confidence, and a sense of caring and respect for one another. The benefits of creating art in general are difficult to recognized, as they’re not
instantly useful like medicine, engineering, or technology. Collaboration projects raise our awareness about how art can serve a larger humanitarian purpose, help improve people’s quality of life, and embrace an artist’s responsibilities within society to expand beyond studio practices or gallery presentations.
Paste it on! Print and Public Art in Calgary
A steamroller print event organized by the artist-run Alberta Printmakers in Calgary in 2015, caught the attention of the City’s Public Art program. The following year, the City created the Utility Box Mentorship pilot program, involving printmaking, community engagement and mentorship. Eveline Kolijn, a print artist living and working in Calgary, was the project lead. With 12 mentees, she experimented on how to fix and weatherproof hand-printmaking on the metal traffic-light utility boxes. They researched history and developed a theme, organised workshops and community events. The project was a success and repeated in 2017, this time involving local writers. The project also inspired the 2017 Pianoscapes, organised by Calgary’s International Honens Piano competition.
My Beloved Community Dictionary
In the fall of 2016, I began passing out linoleum blocks to print and book artists around the country. Some were invited directly, some accepted my invitations made on social media. They were invited to carve a word and illustration for My Beloved Community Dictionary, no letter or word was assigned, it was a word potluck. What began as a celebration of my fortieth anniversary of making books, has now turned into a piece documenting the social and political climate of the last year and a half. It illustrates the dynamic nature of dictionaries and the fluidity of language. In the spirit of George Bataille’s formless dictionary, the words will be collated in relationships rather than alphabetical order, and I intend to hold small community gatherings to teach a non-adhesive binding to all those interested.
My work is deeply rooted in a sense of place - the human environments that evolve organically out of the social, economic, and political identities of local communities. This panel presentation will look at how the social structure of our world is reflected in the human made environment, specifically how social and political problems impact the lives of children in economically challenged neighborhoods. The pieces in the “Alley Kids” project were created via a process where collaborators from Spokane’s West Central neighborhood were asked to act out various scenarios against a white background. These actions were then digitally altered and animated, resulting in video footage that is projected over hand-drawn/stenciled components. The collaborators were asked to create alter-ego “characters” based on what they imagined kids would do if they were left to their own devices for long periods of time. The kids came up with a wild “little rascals” group who can be seen throwing rocks, breaking bottles, and generally causing mischief. These free-spirited youngsters are contrasted with the adults who also spend a lot of time in these neglected urban spaces. The work provides and interesting picture of how contemporary children see themselves, the environments that surround them, and what they imagine “freedom” looks like in their communities. It also raises questions about the world that adults create for children, and how the natural and human made environments that surround us might influence how we act, and what responsibilities a community has to the individuals who inhabit it.
TECHNOLOGY + CRAFT
Friday, April 20th, 10:40 AM, Butch’s Den, WSU CUB.
Mary Farrell & Janet Marcavage
Printmaking is built on ancient methods of producing imagery and has regularly evolved with new technologies and approaches. As new tools and techniques develop, artists are quick to respond and employ new options for creating multiples and editions. These new methods and materials often influence alternate directions and discoveries for the artist. They become, as in the case of digital media, both a new option in the tool box and a completely unique method for visualizing space. Digital techniques can be as facile in the hand as a rocker for the mezzotint artist or a knife for carving into wood. Printmakers skillfully and deliberately work with a range of tools that can include drawing tablets, squeegees, etching needles, inkjet and 3-D printers. Artists select, experiment, and combine tools and methods that fulfill or stretch their ideas and mark making passions.
Digital Printmaking: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Computer
Jenny Hyde & Chris Tyllia
Artists and educators, Jenny Hyde and Chris Tyllia will talk about the concepts and processes that they explore with digital print. They will individually discuss and present their work. Though the work is visually and conceptually different they have found similarities in how they feel about working with digital print and computers. In addition, they will speak about their experiences in developing a digital art curriculum that combines both traditional and non-traditional approaches to printmaking. Working digitally allows a freedom to experiment with several versions of the same idea/image and utilize seemingly infinite iterations to hone finished work and create new ones. However, the work honors and celebrates, what they see as a core conceptual component of printing, the multiple. We argue that working digitally encourages experimentation and risk taking that is unlike working with more traditional mediums.