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I have often wondered how artists feel about working in printmaking. Does it influence their creative thinking in their primary medium? Do they enjoy working with another person to make their images? Are they excited about the act of printmaking or is it just another source of their livelihood? I have asked several to express their opinions and hope you find their responses informative.
After my initial fear of etching was erased by the printer, John Lund, etching became as important in my work and in the same orbit as painting and drawing. If I made a change on the etching then changed the painting or drawing to follow, it worked. If I changed the painting or drawing one week and then went out and changed the etching, it worked. Etching was as integral to my discovery and clarifying of the images as any other of my mediums.
Printmaking is close to drawing, but its a slower process, so you get to think differently. And, you could also say, it allows you to work completely in a spirit of discovery, as you never know how it will turn out. At the same time, the process forces you to stay and look and experiment and see. In this respect, prints can front-run changes in the paintingsor, they can be something totally unto themselves.
To feel and to touch handle massive vistas of meaning: the words traverse matter and emotion simultaneously and paradoxically. With such sweeping responsibilitythe multitudes of expression theyre required to transmitcomes the necessity for explanation and qualification. As singularities, or when generically articulated, touch can feel numb.
I read a few months ago that the pre-Socratic philosopher Thales of Miletus believed that our world had emerged from mud, and back to mud it would return.
The material substrate that images use to reveal themselves can vary greatly, and each new physical approach unveils something different about the nominal subject. None of these incarnations are necessarily deeper or more true than the others, and they are all connected through some underlying mental reality.
In less than an hour I was smitten by Kiki and knew this creative person had to make prints at ULAE. She had already acknowledged she knew that I was that guy that made prints on Long Island. So I invited her to come to the studio. I have never met an artist or person like Kiki Smith and to this day my love and admiration for her continues to grow. I am grateful she agreed to answer my questions.
The collaborative element of printmaking challenges and excites me. Working with ULAE, I can bring my entrenched painting habits and procedures into the studio and have them shaken by the loss of control that collaboration presents.
We mixed every technique from woodcut to Inkjet, often printing on works of paper I had prepared or would rework later. We did that for a whole summer. It blew my mind. It activated and pushed the paintings. I was hooked.
My introduction to printmaking began in the fall of 1982, coinciding with my first painting exhibition. Bill Goldston invited me to work with ULAE. I admired the studio and welcomed the chance to try something new.
I credit printmaking and my collaboration with Universal Limited Art Edition (ULAE) for the development as well as many of the breakthroughs that I have had in my paintings over the last few years.
I have difficulty imagining what my work today might be, or look like, if I had never made prints. I take for granted so much of the experience made possible by the printing process that subsequently circled back into my studio, that I find it impossible to sort it all out and remember, let alone understand, what comes from where.
im afraid i may disappoint in this dialogue since as an artist/painter i don't think that differentiating between mediums is of such importance for me its all part of the stew
These are snip-its of a conversation between Lisa Yuskavage and me almost 20 years ago. Challenging, provocative, interesting? Yes, and more. She has more determination than most and studies intensely all elements of printmaking.
Bill Jensen and Bill Goldston graduated together at the University of Minnesota. Both moved to New York in 1971, Jensen as an artist, and Goldston as a master printer at Universal Limited Art Editions. In 1982 upon the passing of Tatyana Grosman, owner and director of Universal Limited Art Edition, Goldston assumed responsibility for its day to day operation and invited Jensen to take up printmaking. To date, ULAE has published thirty-eight editions by Jensen with more to come.