Located in uptown Minneapolis, The Highpoint Center for Printmaking does it all when it comes to printmaking and print education. Highpoint features a gallery for member work and visiting artist work, a studio for special editions with invited artists, a classroom for teaching local Minneapolis students, and a community print shop area where members can rent time. The Highpoint Center for Printmaking was co-founded by executive director Carla McGrath and master printer Cole Rogers in 2001 and has been educating and supporting the upper midwest printmaking community ever since. The studio offers classes for the novice to the advanced printmaker. Some awesome and fun upcoming classes include: Relief Printmaking, Polyester Plate Lithography, and Polymer Photogravure. The amount of space that Highpoint has is truly phenomenal with plenty of room for artists to work and create without feeling cramped. The studio can accommodate most types of printing such as silkscreen, relief, intaglio, monoprint and lithography. Both the visiting artist and member work were of exceptional quality and I really enjoyed the current exhibition up in the gallery called, "Made in Germany," which features work from 9 contemporary German artists. If you are planning on being in NYC during Print Week in November, be sure to check out Highpoint Editions at the E/AB fair and see what this great studio has been printing!
A must see during my visit to Iowa City was the University of Iowa Printmaking studios. The University of Iowa maintains one of the top ranked printmaking programs in the country, and just from spending the morning in the studio I can see why! The studio has all the equipment you could ever imagine. I saw a huge variety of litho presses, intaglio presses, Vandercooks, as well as a large silkscreen vacuum table, a big library of litho stones, and a digital computer lab all in-house for whatever project you might want to complete. I met with some of the graduate students who were more than welcoming and helpful, and they spent a very generous amount of their time talking to me about their experiences at Iowa. Classes were in session and I got to see the graduate studios where high caliber work was being produced right in front of me. I met with Anita Jung, one of the printmaking professors and someone who works closely with the grad students. It was really great to have her give me a grand tour of the studios. It was apparent that she really cares a lot about the students and the printmaking program at the university. I also learned that the building the studios are in is actually a temporary space after the original art building on campus was damaged by a flood in 2008. Next summer, the art department is moving into a new building on campus and it will be exciting to see what that set up will look like in the future. Overall, I was extremely impressed with the program from its talented faculty and students to the top-notch facilities and classes.
The Iowa City Press Co-Op is a community based and volunteer run organization to promote printmaking and be an available studio for those wishing to make their own work or learn printmaking all together. It functions out of a building called Public Space One which also houses a gallery and performance space for artists to host shows and events. When I was there Iowa City Press was in the midst of remodeling the entire studio, and as you can see from the images above they were putting in a nice new hardwood floor! They also offer a variety of classes from intaglio to book arts as well as a membership program. They have the facilities for intaglio, relief, silkscreen, and letterpress, so you have a wide range of mediums to choose from. In their gallery space, they often host shows and performances. Local and non-local artists can apply for shows and submit proposals for the space which brings a wide variety of artist work into PS1. Whats unique about Iowa City Press is that they are the only community print shop of their kind in Iowa City. They are introducing the citizens of Iowa City to this great medium and getting people excited about print in general. I am excited to see the finished studio space and what Iowa City Press Co-Op accomplishes next!
My last and final stop in St. Louis was to Tom Huck's Evil Prints, the most metal print shop I've ever seen. Everything, and I mean everything, is red and black, with the occasional white wall or surface here and there. Just looking at the decal on the front window and the black and red bug print hanging behind it prepares you for something crazy cool as soon as you walk in the door. Established in 1995, Tom Huck and Evil Prints have been responsible for some of the most intricate, detailed, and largest woodcuts out there in the contemporary printmaking world. His prints are bold, dark, daring, and super bad ass. They're definitely not for the faint of heart, but oh so mesmerizing and awesome. Having never seen any of Huck's large scale work in person before, I couldn't wait to go over and look at "The Transformation of Brandy Baghead," the insanely intricately carved triptych displayed on the back wall. When Huck isn't carving and printing his own work, Evil Prints also hosts classes and workshops. Every summer Huck hosts Woodcut Bootcamp, an intensive woodcut printmaking camp. Just this past August, Evil Prints hosted the 3rd bi-annual Printbangerz Ball, a week long printmaking conference/workshop. Evil Prints and the massive display of incredible work certainly did not disappoint, and made for an extremely memorable stop in St. Louis.
If you happen to be in the Minneapolis area this weekend, Oct 2-4th, Tom Huck will be participating in the Minneapolis Institute of Art's Print and Drawing Fair. Check it out!
After spending the morning at Firecracker, I headed over to Washington University in St. Louis where Island Press is the in-house print shop. I met with the master printer, Tom Reed, and I learned that Island Press functions as a research printmaking facility as well as an artist studio space. Island Press invites visiting artists to print an edition with the master printer as the students assist and work together to complete the edition with the artist. What is really awesome about this program is that both undergrads and graduate students have the opportunity to work with world-renowned artists to create an entirely original body of work that is then published. I was so excited when Tom showed me a huge collection of prints he has printed over the years. It was especially cool to actually see these prints up close and in person, because we all know pictures on the internet never does them justice. He showed me works from Ann Hamilton, Nina Katchadourian, and Paula Wilson among others. I loved seeing the prints by Trenton Doyle Hancock, an artist whose work I have been extremely interested in since he came to give a guest talk at Pratt a few years back. Every single image was clean, crisp, and beautifully printed. Tom is a true master of the print trade! When Island Press is not occupied with visiting artists, it is open to students to use as their studio. It is outfitted with all the printmaking gear you could ask for, and has one of those great 5 x 10 foot etching presses for all the oversize printing you could possibly want to do. Overall, Island Press is a great space run by an extremely skilled master printer who creates high quality print work for some of the biggest names in the art world.
Next stop on my trip was a visit to Saint Louis, Missouri to see Firecracker Press! Cranking out hundreds of original letterpress and relief prints at two locations, Firecracker runs a super impressive business. I started my tour at the newer North 14th Street location, with Missy Knight, the business manager. I couldn't believe how big the space was! The whole store was lit up with bright natural light from the wall of windows that lines the front of the studio. Something that was especially cool to see was the antique presses and old letterpress machines, some that were over 100 years old. They have over 800 drawers of type, (yes eight-hundred), with all the type and cuts you could ever imagine. Another awesome aspect of the studio is that Central Print Studios also runs out of Firecracker Press. They have just started an open studio program when you can rent time to print, and also give tours and offer classes where you can learn to print and learn about the history of letterpress and the machines throughout the studio. Missy and the other staff members at Firecracker were incredibly knowledgeable and excited to tell me about Firecracker and it was really awesome to meet them!
Next I headed over to the second Firecracker Press location on Cherokee street. The second location is their main retail shop as well as their production space. When I went over there I met Nick, one of the printers, and he showed me around the studio. I got to see hundreds of cards, posters, and other printed goods. All were designed and printed in house and all had a unique Firecracker look, down to the design and color scheme. I really got an in depth look at how St. Louis does letterpress and it was nothing short of spectacular.
After visiting with May over at Flash Flood, she suggested I check out another local artist, named Rachel Ann Dennis, and her studio called OK Lovely. Located right off the Historic Route 66 in Oklahoma, OK Lovely is filled with eccentric and vintage letterpress posters, type, and equipment. The studio is outfitted with two large Chandler & Price presses as well as a small proof press, a Rosback Perforator machine, and a plethora of type and other letterpress goods. OK Lovely strictly does not do contract printing, and instead Rachel prints all of her own personal work, focusing on letterpress techniques, book arts, and papermaking. She often works and collaborates with other local artists, musicians, and residents in the community that want to learn about letterpress and even learn how to print their own work. Rachel Ann works full time in addition to her studio, so it was really admirable to hear about how she was able to set up her studio in such a nice space and how she often works into the late hours of the night, or comes in really early in the morning before work just to print and do what she loves to do. Rachel Ann has taught workshops, participated in art fairs and festivals, and exhibited her own work throughout Tulsa and beyond. It was super helpful to hear how she was able to establish her own studio, how she creates work, and how she thinks about her business, especially because I hope to have my own studio someday. She was extremely generous with her time and she is definitely another print community builder and advocate in Tulsa which I very much respect and look up to!
After Texas, my next stop was Tulsa, Oklahoma! While I was at the Baltimore Print Studios a few weeks ago, Kyle had recommended that I check out this super rad silkscreen shop on my way to St. Louis called Flash Flood Print. I met with one of the co-owners, May Yang, and she introduced me to Nick Nold, the other owner of Flash Flood. Although they had started FF in 2012, the studio that I visited was at their brand new location and it was gorgeous! They had renovated the entire space and it was fully equipped for production as they were printing up a new job while I was there. They do mainly commercial printing, and print a variety of goods for clients such as t-shirts and posters. They also design and print some of their own work that has been featured at community events and local shows around Tulsa. They have a 6 color carousel press and a handmade exposure unit, (basically made out of wood, a vacuum pump, UV tube lights, a vinyl sheet of plastic, and a metal silkscreen frame), both which were really awesome to see. What's great about Flash Flood is that May and Nick are working hard to introduce printmaking into the culture of Tulsa where right now it is very up and coming. People aren't super familiar with print, but Flash Flood is helping build a print community in Tulsa and helping to bring print into mainstream culture there. Flash Flood is definitely a front runner in printmaking in Tulsa and it was a great stop I was able to make while in Oklahoma. I can't wait to see what they do next!
On Sunday I got to visit Slugfest Printmaking in Austin, Texas. What first caught my eye was the beautiful garden and patio surrounding the building. When I walked in the whole studio was flooded with the warm, late afternoon sunlight. Slugfest is run by Margaret Simpson and Tom Druecker and has been in operation since the summer of 1996. Margaret and Tom gave me a tour of their space which has a main studio area and then another smaller room in the back with a kitchen, plate maker, and space for curating prints. On the other side of the building is a gallery/classroom where they host shows and classes. When I got there I actually came at the end of a drawing class, so I got to see the shop in action. Slugfest is set up for a variety of print processes including lithography, relief, intaglio, and letterpress. Aside from classes they also offer memberships to the studio where you can rent time and print your own work. They do the occasional contract printing job but the studio is much more set up as a community shop. Margaret and Tom showed me a variety of really cool prints and were incredibly welcoming, as they invited me to hangout with them and the drawing class! I learned that they had spent a bit of time in Boston and it turns out they went to MassArt and are big Red Sox fans, both things I connected with. I got to meet a couple of the cats that hang around the shop too, which reminded me of Pratt. Overall it was a great visit to a beautiful space run by two awesome printers and artists and I can't wait to go back and visit next time I'm in Austin!
First off, I'll just start by saying that Burning Bones Press is awesome! I had the honor of meeting Carlos Hernandez, owner of Burning Bones and master silkscreen printer and artist. Carlos gave me a tour of the studio, where I learned that it is set up for all kinds of printmaking: silkscreen, relief, letterpress, intaglio, and lithography. Burning Bones offers memberships where artists can rent time at the studio to print. They also offer classes and do some contract printing. Carlos designs and prints his own work, and has printed hundreds of silkscreen gig posters. He has printed for artists such as Tom Petty, The Black Keys, and Kings of Leon, which you can see along with many other posters displayed in the front of the studio. It has an awesome rock and roll vibe (and I totally dug the purple floor in the front half of the studio).
While I was there, Carlos invited me to hangout for the day and I was even able to make a print which I was super excited about. But then, the day got even better when Carlos and the Burning Bones crew decided to have a cookout which I ended up staying for. I got to meet some of the members of the studio, and I felt extremely welcomed and a part of the Burning Bones studio during my short time there. I found it to be an extremely positive and a genuinely fun place to work and create art among a crew of exceptionally talented artists. Carlos was extremely generous as I came away with some Burning Bones gear, a new edition of prints, and a super rad silkscreen print from Carlos himself. It was an amazing introduction to Houston and Texas I wont soon forget!
Be sure to check out Carlos' work here.