For the Love of Printmaking

5

FEBRUARY, 2018

Art Exhibition

Artist’s Life

Printmaking

Art Exhibition

Four of my monotype collages are on their way to For the Love of Printmaking, a members’ prints exhibition at Rubber City Prints in Akron, Ohio. I joined this organization both to take advantage of the benefits as well as to support the art of printmaking in our general region. I’m always looking for ways to increase awareness of the varied and unique art-making processes that it encompasses.

“Rubber City Prints (RCP) was conceived of by Pamela Testa as a way to keep local printmakers and artist in the area after graduating from art school.  While attending Kent State University, Pam involved fellow collegues, printmakers and friends to help. Knowing they would not have access to the college’s printmaking studio after they finished the program,  they helped her to enter a small business contest offered by the University Park Alliance and Charter One in 2012. The proposal for RCP won the funds to make the print shop a reality.”

A short informational video from Rubber City Prints

A Word – or Several – About Printmaking

I feel I should insert a word about printmaking here, for those who aren’t familiar with the term’s meaning in the tradition of art-making. Many people may mistakenly think it refers to reproducing a finished work of art, such as a painting. And while some printmaking methods do yield multiples of the same image, each print is an original hand-made piece of art.  Wikipedia explains, ” the imagery of a print is typically not simply a reproduction of another work but rather is often a unique image designed from the start to be expressed in a particular printmaking technique. A print may be known as an impression. Printmaking (other than monotyping) is not chosen only for its ability to produce multiple impressions, but rather for the unique qualities that each of the printmaking processes lends itself to.” (italic mine) Also, it should be noted that each impression is made individually by the artist him/herself, and is NOT the result of an automated process.

I hope that helps! Anyway, below are the pieces that are going to the exhibit, and will then spend the rest of the year in the care of Rubber City Prints, unless they are sold (fingers crossed!) somewhere along the way.

Transformation 46

monotype collage, 7 x 7 inches

Transformation 45

monotype collage, 7 x 7 inches

Transformation 20

monotype collage, 7 x 7 inches

Transformation 47

monotype collage, 7 x 7 inches

What is a Monotype?

Ink rolled out on plexiglass sheets for monotyping. 

Monotypes differ from other types of printmaking in one important way: no permanent plate is made, so no more than one impression can be printed. Hence, the term “mono”, which means one. The process is pretty straightforward. Ink is applied to a smooth surface (I use plexiglass), and wiped or manipulated to form an image. A sheet of paper is laid on the plate, and the image is then transferred to the paper by using a (hand-operated) etching press. The question I’m usually asked is, “Why use a printing process that makes only one print? Why not just make a painting?”  It’s a good question, and the answer is hard to put into words, but simple truth is that it looks completely different. It’s like the difference between felt and wool. No, that’s not right… I can’t think of a good analogy right now. But look at the closeup photo at left and ask yourself, “Does it look like a painting?”

A good concise demononstration of the monotype process. Well done, SUNY student!

A final word (I swear!) about the whole monotype – verses – monoprint terminology thing. On this site, I use the words monotype and monprint interchangably. Technically, they are not the same thing; my pieces are actually monotypes. Because many people have never even heard the word “monotype”, and because even artists call them “monoprints”, I chose to use this word when referring to my work. But it bugs me, and I may go back to using the correct term. Opinions, anyone?

2 Comments

  1. Kathleen Piercefield

    Sharmon, congrats on having your work going to Rubber City Prints! That’s fantastic.
    Also — I really appreciate this post with your excellent and concise description of what makes original prints special. Clearing up that misunderstanding about prints being simply reproductions of an existing work in another medium is an ongoing battle for all printmakers. You explained it well.
    Monotype/monoprint…sometimes it seems easier to say monoprint and be done with it, BUT since I’m a wordie, I usually opt for the accurate term. Cheers! Kathleen

    Reply
    • Sharmon Davidson

      Hi Kathleen! Thanks for visiting my site. I’m glad you like my post. I feel obligated to explain what printmaking is, as many people have no idea. Many artists, it seems, are saying monoprint instead of monotype, and I think the difference matters little to almost anyone. But, like you, I prefer to be accurate. Thanks again!

      Reply

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