Thursday, February 09, 2006
I had the best birthday this year. I got many cards in the mail, a package, e-mails, and a sweet e-card from Nels (thanks Nels). Today being the printfreak that I am, I decided to hit the printshops in San Francisco. The weather was beautiful 72degrees and sunny (my favorite temp.). The first printshop that I visited was Aurobora Press. I didn’t know anything about the press, and was anxious to visit it for the first time. One of my favorite things in the whole world is to go printshop hunting. For reasons unknown to me, printshops tend to be tucked away in the most inconspicuous places and Aurobora Press was no exception. I knew it was behind the SFMOMA, but for the life of me I couldn’t find it. I finally did of course. The inside of the printshop was beautiful. It had tall ceilings, great natural light, and beautiful brick walls. I was blown away by the monoprints (yes, Prof J- MONOPRINTS!!!). They were beautiful. Aurobora specializes in monoprints. I was looking around when I found a very large monoprint that was very familiar looking. As I was looking at this print, a man popped his head around the wall and asked if I had any questions. I asked him if this print was Kurt Kemps. He said yes and are you one of his students. I went onto explain to him that Prof. Joel and Kurt Kemp went to the University of Iowa together. Apparently, Kurt Kemp is one of the artists that helped him open up the printshop. He became interested in me and asked if I wanted to tour the workshop. I was so happy. This guy was so friendly and down to earth. Most printshops in SF area are very cold, and business like. I was very impressed with the workshop. There was loads of room, yet it was cozy. I just felt very inspired in the space. The guy who I was talking to was Michael Liener. He runs the printshop, but he has a master printmaker who works with the artists and teaches the workshops. He began explaining to me that he has to find a new master printer, and is in the process of trying to find one. It made me wish that I knew monoprint a lot better because I would have loved to work there. I just loved everything about the printshop. I looked a bit closer at the prints, and then I realized that I liked these print a lot better then any of the prints I saw at Crown Point Press and Paulson Press. I went on to tell Michael that these prints impressed me because I could see the artists’ hand. I continued by saying that places like Crown Point Press ask artists to visit for a few weeks, take a crash course in etching, and have these technically amazing prints. Well, any printer knows that it takes years and years to learn the techniques. I think I have talked about this before, but it does upset me knowing that master printers have done most of the technical, and problem solving work. There is nothing wrong with that, but the “real” printmakers who are trying to promote their work have less of a chance if artists are taking over the galleries. Prof. J raised the issue to me one time, and at the time I didn’t have much of an opinion, but now I understand what he was talking about. The idea of artists coming to work on monotypes is exciting. Not only does it allow them to be creative without worrying too much about technique, but it gives them a small step in learning about the printmaking process which in turn will further their curiosity about printmaking. Hey, we all like people who become more enlightened about printmaking no matter where that inspiration comes from. So, I hope to go back to the printshop more frequently to see what’s going on.