The New Orleans Community Printshop and Darkroom is a completely volunteer run and organized shop. They are open two nights a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-10pm where anyone can come by and print or learn to print, no experience necessary. The volunteers and members at the shop will happily teach you or help you with your project, and for no extra charge. Rental rates are very reasonable, and the NOLA Community Printshop becomes a very affordable place to come and print. It is a smaller space, but they certainly have a lot to offer. They specialize in silkscreen and also black and white photography. In the back is a darkroom for traditional photography that they've set up to develop film and print photos. They also put on shows in their gallery space below the print shop, many of which include their members. This is a great place to visit if you are in the NOLA area and looking to print, or want to learn the basics of silkscreen printmaking or photography.
The Savannah College of Art and Design has a second location in Atlanta, which is where I went today to visit their print studios and learn about their graduate program. Located on the 5th floor, the studios are flooded with beautiful lighting and huge work spaces. I got a tour from chair of the department Robert Brown, and silkscreen and book arts professor, Cynthia Lollis. They showed me all of the facilities SCAD Atlanta is equipped with: silkscreen, lithography, letterpress, relief, and intaglio. Something really cool I learned about while there is that SCAD teaches and offers the materials for photogravure. Photogravure is a rare technique that most print shops do not have the equipment and facilities to accommodate such process, so I was excited to come across it today in Atlanta. Robert specializes in photogravure and is an absolute pro! They offer a study abroad program in Lacoste, France and Hong Kong, China as well as opportunities to work with established artists, galleries, and art organizations through internships and classes while enrolled. SCAD has a great print program and a strong print community within the school that I'm glad I got to learn about and see first hand.
Stopped by The Atlanta Printmakers Studio yesterday while I was in the city. I met with one of the studio monitors, Deborah Sosower (who is actually a 2009 Pratt MFA printmaking graduate), and it was awesome to be able to talk all and everything Pratt! What's been really cool about this trip is that in every single city I've been to so far, I have met at least one person who is either a Pratt alumni, knows someone who went to Pratt/ teaches there, or has visited Pratt themselves. Anyways, the Atlanta Printmakers Studio serves as a community printshop, meaning they are open to the public and you can rent studio time from them and have access to equipment and supplies. As a printer you can work in intaglio, silkscreen, letterpress, and relief at APS. They offer internships, residencies, exhibition opportunities, classes, and host events. In a few days they are celebrating their 10 year anniversary and hosting a birthday party and art auction to celebrate. They also organize Print Big, a printmaking event where large woodcuts are printed with by driving over them with a steamroller. Atlanta is a city booming with art and support for the printmaking community, and also hosting SGC in 2017 which is sure to be a blast!
Noosh Studios is the creation of Chris Neuenschwander, an artist based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Chris makes both woodcut prints and wood carvings in his studio that he runs out of his flat in Kennesaw, about 30 minutes north of Atlanta. I was initially drawn to Chris's work because of the fact that he uses almost solely imagery of animals, something I have a strong interest in. His carvings are fun, playful, colorful and beautifully executed. He has carved hundreds of them. It was fun to see them all over his house, on all 3 floors, inhabiting a variety of spaces. Chris also participates in different art festivals where he sells his work and often live prints t-shirts with the press he brings with him from his studio. He is very involved in the printmaking community in Atlanta as a board member of the Atlanta Printmaker's Studio, teaching classes on relief printmaking. In addition, every year he is in charge of Print Big, a steamroller print event in the Atlanta area where 4x8 foot blocks are carved and printed. Chris exhibits frequently in both local and national exhibitions, where his dedication to creating and constantly producing a massive amount of new work is apparent.
The last stop on my visit to Knoxville was a letterpress shop called Pioneer House. The master printer, artist, and owner, Julie Belcher, creates with an antique style inspired by southern tradition. When I first walked into the studio I noticed the hundreds of hand carved wood blocks, as well as a plethora of wood type used to create the vintage imagery. Pioneer House prints for a large client base, and Julie creates her own work which she also sells at the shop. The shop produces and sells a variety of handmade goods such as prints, posters, calendars, post cards, business cards, and greeting cards. It functions primarily as a private studio, but there is also an exhibition space for gallery shows located in the store front area. Unique to Pioneer House is the fact that the back of the shop is dedicated to printmaking and production, but the front of the shop sells vintage honky tonk style clothing, accessories, and other goods. The antique letterpress technique combined with the antique clothing compliments each other, creating a cohesive vintage shop with a cool Knoxville vibe.
Today I got to visit the printmaking facilities at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and learn a little bit about what an art program is like at a large public university. UT Knoxville has one of the top ranked graduate print programs in the country and top notch studios and facilities. The studio is set up in an open layout where spaces for litho, intaglio, relief, and silkscreen are all combined into one large room. Each print medium has its own section within the space. Letterpress is the only studio located outside of the main printmaking area on the floor above. There is also a separate, private grad and faculty studio on the other side where a massive 5 foot by 10 foot French Tool Press is set up and ready to print. I would love to print some of my 4x8 foot blocks on that press. It's a super crazy piece of equipment, but so awesome. The department is run by Beauvais Lyons, with Althea Murphy-Price and Koichi Yamamoto as associate professors, all of whom I was able to meet and talk with today which was great and very informative. I'm excited about what the program has to offer and will definitely be considering and thinking about UT Knoxville in the future.
I took a day trip to Nashville yesterday to see the historic Hatch Show Print which is actually housed in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Founded in 1879 by brothers Charles R. and Herbert H. Hatch, Hatch Show Print is famous for creating letterpress posters for carnivals, the circus, and many iconic country music stars and pop legends throughout the past 135 years. Many of the hand carved type and hand carved imagery still exists today and is reprinted on a fairly regular basis to keep the type in good working order. They have an extensive collection, the largest I have ever seen, and 10+ fully functioning presses that originate within a 100 year time span. The shop is preserved and operates like a museum, giving tours 3 times a day, and even outfitted with it's own gift shop. When I was there I got to see original posters created for musicians such as Elvis, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Taylor Swift, and Keith Urban among many others. Hatch continues to print and design new posters every day. The shop itself is extremely commercial and a popular tourist attraction in Nashville, giving it a much different vibe from the more independent, private, and small business shops I have been visiting.
To learn more about the history of Hatch Show Print, click here.
New to the print scene in Knoxville is a nifty letterpress shop by the name of Striped Light. Founded by Sarah Shebaro, Bryan Baker, and Jason Boardman at the end of 2014, Striped Light is an amazing studio space with a lot to offer to creatives and those interested in art in Knoxville. I was especially looking forward to visiting this shop because I've actually had the pleasure of knowing Sarah for about 3 years now. We became friends when she was the printmaking technician at Pratt Institute while I was completing my undergraduate studies. This was my first time visiting the studio since it opened late last year and I couldn't have been more excited to see what everyone had been up to. The shop teaches a variety of classes, hosts exhibitions and events, and even functions as a record label. They are heavily involved with the art and music scene and often collaborate on events with their sister shop, a bar and music venue called The Pilot Light. Striped Light is available for contract printing, but Sarah and Bryan also create their own work which has been shown in galleries nationwide. Something unique that Striped Light has in shop is the risograph. Most print shops I've visited don't even have one, but Striped Light has 3, which is pretty cool. My conclusion? I was thoroughly impressed. Run by a truly talented and dedicated print crew, Striped Light seems to be a positive, creative community builder in the city of Knoxville.
Richmond might be my favorite out of the few cities that I've visited so far. What stood out most were the hundreds of murals brightly painted on the sides of buildings on just about every block. Overall, it seems like a really fun place to live with lots of art making its way into the city. On the northwest side of town is a non-profit community print shop called Studio Two Three. Directed by Ashley Hawkins, the studio offers a variety of services to local artists such as residencies, classes, internships, as well as a black and white darkroom for photography and digital studio lab. S23 provides the facilities to complete print projects in silkscreen, relief, etching, and photo lithography with a variety of presses and huge table top work areas. What's extra cool though, is the second level mezzanine which contains about 15 semi-private studios that overlook the main studio space down below and the fact that resident artists have 24/7 access to the studio.
Also, special thanks to Kat, one of the resident artists, for showing me around!
Yesterday I traveled to Durham, North Carolina to visit a prolific printmaker and artist, Bill Fick. He runs a print shop called Supergraphic which is outfitted with a huge offset litho press, a handful of etching presses for printing wood and lino-cuts, and an entire separate building called, "Super G Print Lab," for silkscreen and some relief printing. The main Supergraphic studio is surrounded by enormous walls of glass windows which made the entire print shop glow beautifully. It was truly an amazing space. While I was there I got to see some of Bill's work and he also showed me his newest lino-cut of a super cool cat/human creature that he had just recently printed. (I've included it in the photo gallery above.) While Supergraphic functions more as a private studio where Bill and co-director Brian Garner print their own work as well as editions for other artists, the Super G Print Lab offers studio time and materials for rent to shop certified artists as well as a variety of workshops. If you're in the Durham area and have any interest whatsoever in print, this is a great place to stop by.