Monday, August 31, 2009


Dr. Carol Pulin will be conducting a pinwheel workshop with us on Wednesday, September 9, during print class and perhaps for a good part of the day.  You can see some examples and read some about it by clicking HERE. Make sure you read the article that is in a pdf by clicking on that when you get to the bottom of the page. You can also re-read the quote by Carol in our class syllabus to refresh on the background and motivation for the workshop. The important thing is to come prepared, so create some drawings between now and then that deal with the idea of sustainable power, wind-power, landscape and all of it parts, text/poetry about our planet and helping it heal, green......

Read the article, and then respond with any questions you might have and we'll get the discussion going in preparation. 

Sunday, August 30, 2009


I spent a good chunk of the weekend in my studio trying some insane printing, thinking about what would be a "wild and crazy" way to make monotypes using the three color process. I started with Kroger bags filled with air, then I decided to go to the store and pick up some balloons. Found those kind you tie into little animals. Then decided to try round balloons. I'll bring in what happened tomorrow morning.

Friday, August 28, 2009

INSANITY II: Form and Content

It's Friday and the shop is empty....hmmmm.  It's a beautiful day for printing.  We will be spending some time looking at our prints at the beginning of class on Monday, seeing where we are with the form and getting a sense of whatever content is there.  Most of the current impressions are yellow, a bright yellow.  I don't know if that content expresses insanity as much as it expresses yellow.  Don't be afraid to make marks, create textures, roll some ink on your mylar, put on an old pair of pants, and sit in the ink.  Is that insane?

Form is the physical manifestation of a work of art that includes the media, such as yellow ink on white paper, the manipulation and arrangement of the visual components, such as yellow shapes creating white shapes on white paper, and the subject matter as it is treated as components, such as yellow and white shapes on white paper.  It is what the work looks like. So I guess we can discuss yellow and white shapes. THAT'S INSANE!  There are a few that have gone beyond that, only a few.

Content is the message the you intend to communicate = INSANITY.  It could be found in the subject matter, Shawn mentioned Munch's, The Scream, a kind of narrative that tells a story.  It may be emotional or intellectual and could include the way the media is manipulated if that manipulation is driven by an idea, like Chris' juxtaposed symbols of the pyramid and the other thing, whatever that thing is, or even Rob's current investigations of surface and materials. Jackson Pollock, you know him, you know his work, made paintings with a particular idea about painting in mind. Not about an image but about a process. The way your work is created will become an important part of the content and should be clearly seen in the finished piece, or maybe not so clear. INSANITY, as mentioned before in some obtuse way, could very much tap into the OCD part of us.  Imagine a color filed of yellow filled with dots, over printed with a color field of Cyan filled with dots, over printed with a color field of magenta filled with dots....that's INSANE!

Almost every monotype on the drying rack, even at this early stage, has both form and content. Even when they're finished they'll have both, but surely and not likely in equal amounts. How would we even measure that? That would be an insane exercise. It's actually a continuum where each monotype, or each piece you create, falls on a line that runs the gamut between being purely formal, think of those Josef Albers' yellow squares, to purely content, such as Basquiat, although both of these artists still have varying degrees of form and content.  Or better yet, the work by conceptual artists, their artwork was/is about ideas, maybe a better analogy referencing purely content. Conceptual art had/has very little physicality and thus nearly no form. Push your form/content into an insane place, and....

Happy printing.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Van Gogh cut off his ear, not a strong indication of sanity. Michael Jackson, hmmmmm? What about some of the surrealists, such as Salvador Dali, Paul Klee, Max Ernst, Jean Dubuffet, maybe even George Baslitz.  They attempted to, in a sense, create a kind of "insane" art by using their dreams as blueprints for their pieces.  While not overly abstract and usually chocked full of symbols in order to lose all obvious coherence (and thus the comprehension of the audience); the surrealists created what was bizarre and strange. Where those mentioned above, insane? There have been countless studies connecting insanity and creativity.  Some of those studies are both compelling and convincing.  Maybe, because we are all creatives, with a capitol "C", and we spend more time on one side of our brain than the other, we are a little insane.  I've had those days. Of course that calls into question, is it the art that brings on our 'insanity' or are we drawn to art because we're insane? Italian psychiatrist, Cesare Lombroso, noted that all the artwork created by "lunatics" exhibited the same basic characteristics: distortion, repetition, minute detail, arabesques, obscenity, and rampant symbolism. However, the most important characteristic of insane art is its creativity. We're going to tap into that part of ourselves for our first project of the semester, a three-color separation monotype based of the theme INSANITY.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Welcome to a semester of printmaking.  A syllabus for the course has been posted on our ONCOURSE site, and I will have hard copies available for you on Monday morning.  This blog was created last year for my fall 08 class.  There are many postings of interest to printmakers, especially those who are about to get their feet wet for the first time.  Please spend some time looking at some of the work, videos, and discussions.  This blog will be updated regularly with information particular to our creative investigations this semester, so stop back often.