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Printmaking

Revelation in Multiplicity and the Process of Creation

Printmaking is the exploration of reproduction and multiplicity. For someone who has always strived for perfection in one piece, this concentration seemed foreign. Therefore, I decided it was what I needed to progress as both an artist and an individual. The medium epitomizes iteration. With each pull of a print, one can decipher what needs to be added, omitted, or adjusted. In this way, the artist molds the “final” print throughout the process of creation. Printmaking also serves as an excellent vessel to infuse with other forms of media such as drawing, painting, graphic design, and even videography. After establishing a strong understanding of printmaking, I began to treat my prints like paintings developing my own art style and reveling in the process rather than the final result. This process achieved its final form in my thesis show.

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Foundation

Upon entering into this progressive concentration, I delved into the many facets of printmaking. My affinity arose in both drypoint etching and monotypes. These forms rest at either end of the Printmaking spectrum where an artist can obtain many addition prints from a drypoint but only one from a monotype. I treated the two forms differently: crafting a drypoint, I would take days carving into the metal to get maximum detail. On the other hand, I experimented more with monotypes infusing them with painting techniques.

Exploration

Exploring the medium and my own affinities more, I began to paint and combine drypoints and monotypes into the same prints. I would start with the drypoint as the base first etching an image into the metal on top of which I’d layer the monotype of loose ink swipes mimicking brush strokes. In this case, the drypoint served as a guideline for the monotype. With this technique, I could experiment with different swipes and color combinations without ever truly starting over like one does when creating true monotypes.

Thesis Show: BREAKING INTO BINARY BEDROCK

My 4th Year Thesis Show stands as the culmination of my college education synthesizing both Studio Art and Architecture.  My 2D work’s overarching narrative depended on how I curated the show thus a great deal of design and preparation went into it. I learned how to pigment and make paper, build frames, and weld doing anything and everything I could to clarify the show’s concept.

Breaking into Binary Bedrock’s artist statement:

 

“Binary is society’s foundation. There has always been ‘man and woman;’ outliers be damned. However, non-binary classifications have begun to fissure our cultural bias towards gender and sexuality. 

 

Before, those who didn’t fall into the heteronormative strain were forced to adopt personas appropriate to their given gender. These personas were masks that separated who they were from whom society deemed they should be. An unhealthy survival mechanism, these masks deprived the individual of identity and self-compassion. With the cultural atmosphere shifting away from one devoted to gendered oppression, people are beginning to explore their identity thus blurring the line between genders.

 

Through printmaking, I explore my personal definitions of what it means to be ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ as someone who has discarded their mask. My artwork explores this duality by presenting pieces atop blue and pink paper and in pairs. The paired pieces stand as opposites to one another with a clear, traditional image atop blue paper and its ghosted form atop pink. The linework prints are to be read at face value; these are the masks. The more fluid and soft prints next to the blue prints are the emotional resonance of its neighbor, something that I was unfamiliar with as a boy. As such, they are caged in. The culmination of this show is the final print to the right which features an open window frame with an empty nest. It is up to the viewer whether this print is a sweet or bitter end to the show.”

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Concept Collage
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Early Framing Rendering
Handmade, Pigmented Paper
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Quiver
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(Quiver)
Quiver & (Quiver)

The subject for this pair stems from my childhood home where the living room was dominated by a deer head. Antlers adorn the male's head as a crown of masculinity, and hunting these creatures is often seen as a very macho activity dating back to the separation of hunters and gatherers. Therefore, I couldn't think of a better way to demonstrate and challenge gender norms in my show.

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Different Print Combination
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Different Print Combination
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Slither & (Slither)

Growing up, I wasn't overly exposed to religion; however, the invisible threads that connected me to Christianity became chains once I started to question my sexuality as a child. While families and churches are now adopting a more accepting stance on sexuality and gender expression, we still have tension. This fact is why I decided to include a religious subject in my second set of prints.

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Early Monotype Study
Different Print Combination
Slither
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(Slither)
Reflection

My art is very personal. By pouring my feelings into a concept and sustaining it through dedication to detail, I foster a concept that resonates with viewers. This show was my baby from concept to construction. I shredded and pigmented cotton t-shirts to form the blue and pink paper (a process that spanned over a full week). I etched the subjects into sheets of copper, printed the subjects, and then painted their counterparts. To finish the look, I also did all the framing extrapolating and elevating the process by creating a functional window that is three frames in one. It was a labor of love to express my understanding of where we are as a society and how we will progress.

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Whisper
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Empty Nest
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Final Show