North Texas Daily

Renowned artist takes part in new subscription

Renowned artist takes part in new subscription

Renowned artist takes part in new subscription
October 21
00:02 2014

Samantha McDonald / Staff Writer

It starts with a surface: a wood block, metal plate or stone slab. The artist then draws or carves an image on this matrix. Using pressure, the image is transferred onto paper through a process called inking. The result is an impression, or in the simplest sense, a print.

From the initial step of idea creation to final production, the Print Research Institute of North Texas promotes the art of printmaking by participating in exhibitions and providing educational activities to help enhance understanding of this art form.

Since its founding in 1993, the UNT-affiliated fine art press has supported printmakers across the country. Now, as PRINT introduces its inaugural subscription program, it has also invited printmaker Nicole Hand to collaborate with students through a workshop and lecture series from Oct. 20-24 that is open to the public.

There will be an open house for the event from 4-6 p.m. Thursday at the Oak Street Hall Annex.

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Prinkmaking graduate students Kayla Seedig, left, and Jessie Barnes check to see if the ink they mixed matches the color they want to use for a lithograph print. The two students, along with a few others, are collaborating with artist in residence Nicole Hand.

“Nicole’s knowledge and insight will be shared with many students who may not be familiar with printmaking or with the artistic process at this level,” said Rachel Black, senior lecturer of studio art and core drawing coordinator. “It’s amazing how seeing an artist’s work, and working alongside a professional artist, can expand a student’s understanding of what it means to create art professionally.”

Accompanied by Hand’s visit is a program that marks the organization’s first attempt at a publication highlighting the designs of a professional printmaker. Through participating in the decision-making process of a subscription that involves limited edition prints, students will be able to learn more about the history behind print media and the production process.

“Foundation-level students, after seeing the work of a visiting artist, may develop new ways of thinking about their own goals,” Black said. “The methods and strategies presented can change the way students think about their own work and open new avenues, which beforehand were not understood or even imagined.”

The first of its kind

Eight graduate students and five studio printmaking seniors will assist Hand as she completes the subscription project during her residency. They are assigned to every part of the printing process, which involves preparing fine art paper, priming plates to print, using the printing methods of lithography and intaglio and organizing the prints for archive. Through these experiences, students will have the opportunity to work with the visiting artist in more ways than one.

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Nicole Hand, front, Jessie Barnes, middle, and Kayla Seedig mix ink.

“Our students are trained in a variety of fine art printmaking processes and techniques, but every artist has their unique ways of making, and Nicole will personally share her studio practice in this project,” said Andrew DeCaen, associate professor of studio arts. “It is a great way for people in the community to connect with this exceptional programming while acquiring a beautiful limited edition print.”

The four-day event will result in 10 subscription memberships of two levels – one worth $200 and the other $1,000. While the former includes a signed, limited edition fine art print created by Hand along with a private invitation to visit the shop during its production, the latter will include these plus an additional print from any of the archived artists’ works at PRINT. These fees will go on to support funding for the organization’s activities and events.

“Not only is the program a means to provide educational and professional training and cultural events, it is also a way to support fine art contemporary printmaking,” PRINT press director Lari Gibbons said. “We have great facilities and equipment at PRINT, talented students and faculty in our academic programs who are willing to help, and now the membership program will help provide resources for materials and travel that make it possible to realize the project.”

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Four lithograph and etching prints created by Nicole Hand. Hand and members of P.R.I.N.T. will create a large print from several smaller prints this week and display it on Thursday night.

Going to Press

Housed adjacent to the Oak Street Hall Annex on West Oak Street, the PRINT building is a regular destination for art students, faculty and interns. Among these members is Eileen Fritz, a studio printmaking senior who was hired as a production assistant for artist-in-residence Kiki Smith’s exhibition over the summer semester and will now act again as an assistant to Nicole Hand during her visit.

Although Hand’s dialogue with students and subscription project production are the most anticipated sessions in the event, Fritz said she hopes the event will help her understand more about the technical steps of print production.

“I really like learning about how to professionally package things up,” she said. “They seem like little things, but those are the things they don’t teach you in the studio that are standards for the industry.”

Also during Smith’s residency, graduate assistant and printmaking student Jessie Barnes said she helped in collating, packaging and shipping the editions of prints, a process that is still going on due to limited work hours and required attention to detail.

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Several lithograph prints that will be used to create a larger print.

She added that the benefits of having visiting artists are twofold; students not only get a better understanding of the techniques that go into each artwork, but also make connections with professionals they would otherwise not have been able to meet.

“It will really be an all-hands-on-deck experience for the students who are involved in making the work with the artist,” Barnes said. “We usually only have about three students at a time working at the press, but when artists come we have a packed studio full of very busy people.”

An internationally recognized printmaker

A professor of art at Murray State University in Kentucky, Nicole Hand has taught printmaking, bookbinding and drawing. During her visit, Hand will demonstrate the processes she uses to create her work and discuss the content of her art, particularly its composition from sketchbook to press, the influences in her work and drawing’s influence in idea development.

As a visiting artist, Hand’s first goal is to complete the edition for the subscription followed by interacting with students, one of which was a former student who is currently working toward his master’s degree.

“I always enjoy going to another university and having the opportunity to meet and talk to other students and faculty about their work and the art program,” she said. “As a printmaker, it is also exciting to be in a new shop and see how it is organized, as well as sharing process and techniques.”

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Kayla Seedig sprays Anti-Skin inside a jar of ink in order to keep the ink fresh.

Among the contributions, Hand is most looking forward to helping the UNT community develop its art skills and, in return, learning firsthand about the program and student talent at PRINT.

“When I have the opportunity to talk to a new audience, I enjoy making connections with the community. These connections can be about the work itself, or many times I will get a great suggestion about a book to read or an artist to look at,” she said. “When I leave a workshop, I am often filled with new ideas to investigate for my next print.”

For more information on the workshop or the PRINT program, visit untprintpress.blogspot.com.

Featured Image: Artist in residence Nicole Hand mixes ink to the desired color for a collaborative lithograph and etching print. Photos by Edward Balusek – Visuals Editor

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