Scribe, Copper and Fury
I’ve been in the studio in brief and sparse bursts and while I haven’t come close to accomplishing the number of projects I had hoped to by this time, I am very proud of what I have created. I’ve been working on drypoint printmaking. It’s a time consuming and laborious effort (but not prohibitively so) both from the artist’s and printer’s perspective. The end result, however, is unlike anything else, even among prints.
These are not copies of existing images on paper but the result of a completely print-based effort. The image is engraved into a copper plate by hand with a diamond tipped scribe. That plate is, in a sense, the original image. Each plate is then inked and prepped by hand for each pressing of each individual image. Because of this, each image in an edition is unique. The ink is captured in the burs and grooves engraved into the plate and with all the excess wiped clean, the image is all that remains. Because of the softness of the plate and the immense amount of pressure from the press, the plate degrades fairly quickly until the image is barely discernible on the plate’s surface. While some might see this as a drawback, I appreciate that it keeps editions to a tidy limit. I’ve always had a problem with people charging top dollar for digital color copies that can be printed and reprinted endlessly. With these prints, if there is a run of six, someone can essentially walk a way with one-sixth of the original.
The printing was handled by Chad Andrews who operates a pair of antique presses under the name Paper +. As the printer is not just duplicating the image but interpreting it, a working relationship has to be established that allows for the artist to understand the process and the printer to understand the artist’s vision. I think we’ve reached a good understanding of each other’s dialect in the overlapping languages of art and printmaking.
Both the process and image are a welcome departure from what I’ve been doing with pen, ink and watercolor and while I don’t expect or intend to get away from watercolors entirely, it’s a nice switch for a while. When time permits, I can see myself going back and forth between the two and seeing how one informs the other.
These prints will be available for purchase directly from me in very limited quantities at the Roc City Tattoo Expo (Aug 20-22) and Absorb Music Festival (Aug 28). If there are any left after these events, I can be contacted directly about purchasing them.