Following the opening of the Woodcut Challenge in Chicago, I started on my way back to New York City. After 8,700 or so miles, 65 days on the road, driving through 26 states, stopping in 23 cities, and visiting 34 print shops, and meeting 100+ people, I have concluded my trip. I am forever grateful to friends, family, and to anyone and everyone who has helped me along the way. Whether you welcomed me into your home, gave me a place to stay, gave me a tour of your print shop, invited me to be a part of a show or make a print in your studio, showed kindness, or offered encouragement and advice to a young artist just trying to figure things out, I appreciate you. I got to experience something that not everyone has the opportunity of doing and I hope to use everything I've learned and the connections I've made to help bring me closer to my goals and aspirations as a printmaker and artist. Yesterday I made it back to my starting point in Boston, and soon will be heading back to New York City for Print Week where I will be working at the Editions and Artists' Book Fair this Thursday, November 5th through Sunday, November 8th. I'll be at Jennifer Melby Editions at EAB pretty much every day of the fair. I hope to see a bunch of the printmakers I met along the way in NYC this weekend, so come say hi!
The opening of Hoofprint Workshop's Woodcut Challenge was a success! There was a great turnout of artists and members from the community for the show and for Pilsen Open Studios. I got to meet many incredible and talented printermakers and artists, and it was awesome to be a part of such a fun and incredible show in Chicago. Special thanks again to Liz and Gabe for all of their hospitality, and also for all of the hard work they put into the show to make it as great as it is. They truly made my visit to Chicago one to remember. I am not able to make the closing this weekend because I will be working at the Editions and Artist Book Fair in NYC, but if you are in the Chicago area, please stop by for the closing this Friday. It will be your last chance to see all of these huge woodcuts in their entirety!
Friday, November 6th, 7-11pm. Hoofprint Workshop. 2433 South Oakley Ave. Chicago, IL.
My roadtrip has been on a bit of a temporary hiatus for the past few weeks because I have been offered a spot in an upcoming exhibition showcasing large-scale woodcut prints at Hoofprint Workshop. I had visited the studio a few weeks ago during my first stop in Chicago and learned about this exhibition they were organizing. When they asked if I would like to be a part of the show I immediately said yes, and began planning a new 40x60 inch woodcut. For the past two weeks I've been hanging out at the studio and spending about 12 hours there every single day drawing, carving, proofing, printing and helping Gabe Hoare and Liz Born get ready for Pilsen Open Studios this weekend when the show opening will be. They have become like a second family to me in Chicago. We've eaten lunch and dinner together almost every day, stayed up until 3am printing, and I got to meet many other fellow artists, printmakers, and gallerists in the Pilsen neighborhood and even helped carve a new John Himmelfarb woodcut! It has been an incredible experience and I am so excited for everyone to see the end result. Gabe, Liz, fellow Hoofprint artist Raeleen Kao, and I have been working hard every day to make this one of Hoofprint's best show's yet and I don't think you will be disappointed. So if you are in the Chicago area this Saturday, please join us for the opening at Hoofprint Workshop: 2433 South Oakley Avenue, Chicago, IL. I guarantee it will be an amazing night with tons of huge woodcuts and great company.
Check out the event page on Facebook here and Hoofprint's latest newsletter about the show here.
Ocelot Print Shop in Detroit is a one stop shop for all of your silkscreen needs! Ocelot opened up in June of 2013 and has been building a steady list of clients and members ever since. Ocelot offers rental time by the hour and will also shoot and reclaim your screens for you. They also do a large amount of contract and commercial work printing t-shirt orders for companies all over. When I was there I met with one of the printers, Melissa Dettloff, and she gave me a tour of the studio. The first room that i walked into with the tables and smaller t-shirt press is for members, while the second room through the hallway to the right is for all of their commercial print work. The hallway in between serves as a storage area for member screens and supplies. The most recent silkscreen job they were working on right before I got there was a set of Signal-Return shirts. Signal-Return is the letterpress shop right down the street. Another great aspect of the studio is that they also teach classes and run workshops for the Detroit community. Their intro to silkscreen class that is offered once a month is wildly popular and has been filling up months in advance. Ocelot is spreading the silkscreen knowledge in Detroit and encouraging others to get involved!
Tandem Felix Letterpress is run by husband and wife team Jamiel Dado and Liz Isakson-Dado out of the Lacuna Artist Lofts in the Pilsen neighborhood. The Lacuna Artist Lofts as a building is spectacular, and filled with paintings, sculptures, handcrafted neon signs, a plethora of small businesses ranging from small tech start ups to a beauty salon and of course Tandem Felix Letterpress. They have a large Chandler and Price, a decent sized proof press and a massive collection of vintage wood type. Tandem Felix does live printing events, teaches classes, and works with clients and teachers them how to print their own project from business cards to wedding invitations. They also have a studio project where they bring in musicians and produce a live record in studio and then create a print and packaging for the EP. Super rad! Liz and Jamiel are enthusiastic about the history of letterpress and teaching others about the great art form. Tandem Felix often participates in live events where they actually print a portable press with them and print up products for a live audience. The studio is working with a lot of unique ideas that sets itself apart from the print studio norm which i think is one of the main reasons they have been so successful! Be sure to look for TFL later this month in their new location surrounded by glass walls on the second floor of the Lacuna Artist Lofts.
On Sunday I took a day trip to Green Bay, Wisconsin to visit professor and artist Christine Styles and to see the University of Wisconsin at GB studios. Chris teaches printmaking at UW and is also heavily involved in the art scene in Wisconsin. She serves on the board of directors for the Wisconsin Visual Artists Group and also Print Forum and ARTgarage. She has a private studio located just minutes from the UW Green Bay art building which we stopped at first. She has a huge studio space and I got to look at some new and wonderful intaglio prints she has recently been working on that are inspired by mold patterns on paper from her previous print series. Chris has shown her work all over the United States as well as internationally.
From her studio we drove over to the UW studios where Christine is a professor in printmaking. The studios accommodate photo plate lithography, relief, intaglio, and silkscreen. There was even an old, original Ed Hardy litho plate. It has been destroyed so that the image cannot be reprinted, but it was still really cool to see his drawing up there. While talking to Chris I learned of another great opportunity that she offers to her students. Every other summer students have the chance to travel to the Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy for an intensive month long studio program lead by Chris. It was inspiring to meet such a passionate and driven artist and I'm glad I was able to make the extra trip to Green Bay.
The Chicago Printmakers Collaborative is a community print shop located in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. I met with the owner and director, Deborah Maris Lader, who has been running the shop for over twenty-five years! She is an artist and musician herself and continues to exhibit her prints and drawings nationally and internationally. I was lucky to be able to visit the shop at their new location which is completely brand new, renovated, and gorgeous. CPC accommodates all print mediums with a variety of presses and even a separate silkscreen room. They offer facilities for etching copper and zinc plates, a darkroom, and a large collection of litho stones. There are also private studios for artists on the first and second floors. The studio offers classes and a membership program for printmakers to rent studio time. CPC even has a discounted rate for recently graduated students to help them get back on their feet and establish a studio practice again after leaving school. They occasionally host events and have a gallery space located in the store front and exhibit, sell, and promote a large variety of member work which I was able to take a quick look at. There were a lot of beautiful prints from the talented group of printmakers. It was exciting to see the new space and I can only imagine all of the new work that is about to be created there. It takes a lot of time and effort and drive to keep a business prospering for a period of time like that and I can't wait to see what CPC accomplishes in their next chapter at the new location!
Hoofprint Workshop is another printmaking studio I visited in Chicago. I stopped by there last Friday when they were having an open house and proofing up some awesome, giant prints for their woodcut show at the end of the month. Hoofprint was founded in 2012 by partners Liz Born and Gabe Hoare and they offer a variety of print services to the community. They function as both a gallery and a print shop. They host shows, invite artists to publish prints, create their own work, offer contract printing, and also teach beginners how to print. They have a large etching press which can print up to 3.5x7 foot woodcuts, a litho press, and a set up for silkscreen. What's incredibly unique and cool about Hoofprint is that they are actually housed in what used to be a funeral home with many of the same antique furnishings. Gabe and Liz live above the studio and then in the basement are all of the materials for the chemical processes including etching copper and steel facing plates. Gabe and Liz are extremely talented and very active in the arts community and often show work at other galleries in the area like the Pilsen Arts District. While at the studio, I found them to be quite generous and supportive. They made me feel right at home as a fellow artist in Chicago and even offered me a spot in the large-scale woodcut show that they are organizing for October 24th! So beginning this weekend I am actually heading back to Chicago to begin carving a 40x60 inch block for the show which I am more than excited about. Stay tuned for more details!
The Center for Book, Paper, and Print is housed in two different locations at the esteemed Columbia College in Chicago. Recently, the Center for Book and Paper Arts has merged with Anchor Graphics into the all inclusive title above. I met with the master printer and director David Jones, who founded Anchor Graphics twenty five years ago, and learned all about how Anchor got its start. It was an inspiring visit and I'm also glad I got to learn about the print scene and print culture in Chicago which I can tell is very strong.
Our first stop was to the book and paper studios where I found an extensive letterpress collection, a large selection of presses, a darkroom for photo processes, and a whole wing dedicated to a huge papermaking studio. From there we made our way to Anchor Graphics and stopped by the Papermaker's Garden, which is a garden with all sorts of plants grown to be used as fibers and material in the papermaking studios. It is an awesome initiative into sustainability and it's exciting to see artists using these resources to create works of art. When we arrived at Anchor, bright sunlight flooded the studio which illuminated a big French Tool press as well as all of the other lithography and etching presses. Anchor has worked with a variety of artists such as Cannonball Press, Kathryn Polk, and Enrique Chagoya and continues to publish new work. They also offer a variety of residencies and internships. What is really admirable about David Jones and The Center for Book, Paper, and Print is that through working with Columbia College, they are able to make print accessible to a wide variety of community members who may have not had the opportunity to experience and learn about print otherwise.
Center for Book and Paper Arts:
Spudnik Press is a fun and spacious print shop located in Chicago, Illinois. They are a cooperative press meaning they rent time and space out to printmakers in the Chicago area who are looking to print their own work and use the facilities that otherwise they may not have access to. Spudnik teaches classes, holds workshops, and also offers residencies complete with a private studio. Another great aspect to the studio is their annex where they host member shows and events. Spudnik has super cheap studio rates making it a very affordable printing option for artists on a budget. They supply ink, screens, squeegees, and emulsion for silkscreen as well as other items for the other print mediums. They have a few Vandercooks and a collection of type for letterpress, a litho press, a 4 screen carousel press, and a risograph machine. While I was visiting I actually showed up during a shop certification class, so now I am certified to print at Spudnik which is awesome! If I ever end up relocating to the Chicago area, I will certainly stop by and print there. Spudnik is a very impressive shop with an exceptional amount of space, materials, and opportunities for the printmakers of Chicago. They truly promote the art of print and encourage everyone to get involved.