Thursday, February 25, 2010

PMA Kids Make Bus Shelter Posters for Philagrafika

Animal Portraits, by students from General Louis Wagner
Middle School, with artist Roslyn Don

Every year, the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Delphi After School Art Club's students devise and execute a community service project: a large, collaborative public art project. The goal of the project is to bring their art to a broader public,in order to benefit of the larger community. In years past, they've created large ceramic murals on school buildings, and worked with Philadelphia Mural Arts to add ceramic tiles to city murals.

Philly Under the Blue Moon, by students from Martha Washington
Elementary School, with artist Doris Nogueira-Rogers

Environmental Tree, by students from William M. Meredith
Elementary School, with artist Heather Pieters

This year, in honor of Philagrafika 2010, the students undertook a collaborative printmaking project, creating posters for display on bus shelters throughout the city. The students worked on collaborative prints with various themes under the teaching artists of the Delphi After School Art Club. They then collaborated with PMA's Graphic Design and Editorial Departments to design the layouts of the posters. The posters will be livening up the following bus stops from March 1 - March 14:

1. Northwest Corner Broad and Locust
2. Southeast Corner, Broad and Spruce
3 Walnut and Broad
4. Walnut and 7th
5. Walnut and 19th
6. Chestnut and 19th
7. Chestnut and 20th
8. Mid-700 block, north side of Market
9. Mid -800 block, north side of Market
10. Mid-900 block, north side of Market
11. Southwest corner 10th and Market
12. Southeast corner of 21st and Market

Try to Remember, by students from Russell Byers
Charter School, with artist Ben Volta

Wall of Voices, by students from Cook-Wissahickon
Elementary School, with artist Roslyn Don

Monday, February 22, 2010

Open Book Event at the Print Center Opens Minds

Report by Dan Haddigan, artist and Philagrafika 2010 intern

In our super fast world of websites and blogs and tweeting and instant information and jagtags and chatroulette, it can be pretty easy to forget about the status of the book in contemporary culture and its place in the art world. The Open Book event held at the Print Center last Saturday, March 20 reminded everyone just how awesome the book is.

For anyone interested in the history of the book as an art object, the Print Center offered a crash course in the history of the artist’s book. Whether you were an artist’s book connoisseur, or just a book newbie, there was plenty of information to be gleaned from the presentations of famed Philadelphia collective Space 1026, Chicago printers, publishers, and provocateurs Temporary Services and New York artist’s book heaven Printed Matter. (Transatlantic New York-based collaborative Dexter Sinister’s books were on display, but unfortunately the artists were not able to attend the event). Attendees wandered throughout both levels of the Print Center, perusing the books on display and meeting and talking with the artists.

Temporary Services checking out the people checking out Temporary Services' books

While the artist’s book has lost some of the radical, populist pizzaz it boasted at it’s birth in the 60’s, it remains as an important, if overlooked, avenue for artists to distribute their artwork en masse, and it still remains as the most wallet-friendly way for the common person to collect their favorite artist’s work and for the artist to get their art in the hands of as many people as possible. Space 1026 takes this to heart, as Roman Hasiuk, Leah Mackin and Mike Gerkovich explained how the collective’s artists regularly make and distribute inexpensive zines and artists books, many of which were on display and for sale at their table.

Salem Collo-Julin shows off a copy of the Temporary Conversations interview with Austin hardcore band The Dicks

Temporary Services artists Brett Bloom, Salem Collo-Julin and Marc Fisher explained their history as a collective and how they continued in the tradition of using the book as a for-the-masses communication tool. In answering questions from the crowd about their work, they shed some light on their collaborations with other artists (such as a book about prison inventions with an artist incarcerated in California and their Temporary Conversations interview series), their desire to expose the artist in everyone (and art that isn’t shown in a gallery).

Max Schumann from Printed Matter talks about their selection of artists books on display

In the gallery shop, a selection of books from the Printed Matter accompanied a lesson on the history of the artist’s book from its very beginning to its place now. Max Schumann’s presentation tied together the common theme of the day: the celebration of the book as the true art form of the people. Printed Matter even operates a submission program, so not only can the average Joe art fan own a work by the Richard Princes and Ed Rushas of the world, but they can share the store’s shelf space with them as well.

Books galore in the Gallery Shop

The artist’s book still has, and always will have its place in contemporary art. The physical presence of a printed object will always win over the fleeting, transitory and intangible nature of the website or blog. (“Book” even sounds better than “blog”, doesn’t it? Not that blogs don't have their place, though, keep reading this one!) Exciting artists like the ones featured at the Print Center continue to extend and enhance the book’s changing life.

Take some time to check out Space 1026, Temporary Services, Dexter Sinister and Printed Matter, and if you haven’t been to the Print Center yet, you don’t even have an excuse. Just go already.

Brett, Marc and Salem hiding with staff from Philagrafika and the Print Center

First Friday in the snow: Gallery Joe & Space 1026

Report from Miriam Singer, artist and Philagrafika 2010 volunteer

Philagrafika Independent Project venue, Gallery Joe had a terrific turn-out on first friday despite the snowy winter storm.(top image) A promise is a promise, etching with chin colle' by Samantha Simpson printed by Jim Stoud at Center Street Studio. (above image) A crowded vault gallery... Artist, Adam Carlton Carrigan is on the right . His exhibit, Big Bang was curated by Marianne Bernstein. Big Bang is a very interesting multi-media exhibit that focuses on the seven theoretical ideas of the exploding forces of the universe.

In the Front Gallery; Prints by Gallery Artists ... An impressive show of prints by the following artists: Martin Wilner, Sharon Louden, Stephen Robin, Winifred Lutz, Jeanne Jaffe, Samantha Simpson, Lynne Clibanoff, Mark Sheinkman, Charles Ritchie, Kate Moran, Linn Meyers, Rob Matthews, Mary Judge, Marilyn Holsing, Christine Hiebert, Emily Brown, and Astrid Bowlby.

This show is hung salon style and it features a variety of printmaking techniques; from woodblock, etching, letterpress, digital to silkscreen. Some artists have printed on their own, or with assistance.This show also includes artists who have worked with printers to name: Lily Press, Center Street Studio, Chris Creyts, C.R. Ettinger Studio, Silicon, Post Editions, Corridor Press, Wildwood Press, and Elizabeth Gross.

Martin Wilner, Joural of Evidence Weekly, Vol.138, 2008 printed by Amber McMillan, Post Editions, Letterpress on Rives

Marilyn Holsing, Young Maria takes it with her, 2009, Etching, C.R. Ettinger Studio

...After Gallery Joe I headed to another Philagrafika Independent Project Venue,
Space 1026, It Was Good While It Lasted . Terrific show with two artists: works on paper, mixed printmaking media, and installation:

Above: Artist, Justin Van Hoy standing next to Seattle #1 and Milwaukee #1.These are made with LA Smog ! Screen print, WD40, spray paint, coffee, coke, and LA smog on paper.

Above: Blake E Marquis. Two Pieces (1) , Two Pieces (2), Sell Short. Acrylic on Handmade paper.

Note: There is still time to see these shows before they come down! Gallery Joe and Space 1026 are up through February 27th.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bearing Witness

A Studio Report from Caitlin Perkins, Philagrafika 2010 Program Manager

I was in Cindi Ettinger's printmaking studio this morning working on an Out of Print project for Philagrafika 2010, and while we were waiting for the artist to arrive, Cindi showed me the new package that Daniel Heyman created for his Bearing Witness print project (images below.)

First, this is a truly important body of work that he has created, and I would encourage you to visit his website to learn more at

The package, including two softcover books in a slipcase, is a stunning package weaving together his prints, paintings and writing about the war in Iraq, specifically the abuse and torture of innocent Iraqis at Abu Ghraib and other prisons.

As I flipped through the books, the bold graphic images of eagles immediately caught my eye. Incredibly, these are intaglio images printed onto plywood! Cindi pointed out to me that on the opposite wall, hanging above the inking station was a proof on paper, from this series.

Proof of etched zinc plate with spit bite text

Never one to take the easy road--Cindi explained the complicated process she developed with Daniel, to realize his project. This included selecting the "perfect" wood to serve not as the matrix, but as the surface for the printed image (this meant the most knotty plywood.) Working at Penn Campus, where the printer and artist had access to two large presses, side by side - they printed the etched zinc plate onto dampened paper and then quickly move to the second press, where the image was then transferred to the wood substrate.

Daniel will be installing these wood prints at the List Gallery for his show opening in March as part of Philagrafika 2010. Visit for more information on his solo show, Bearing Witness at the List Gallery and the Printmakers Go to War exhibition at the McCabe Library on the Swarthmore College Campus.

When Photographers are Blinded, etching on plywood, 10'x14', 2010

Bearing Witness
March 4th-April 9th, 2010
Opening reception and artist's lecture:

March 4th, 2010, 4:30-7pm

Printmakers go to War
McCabe Library, Swarthmore College
March 4–April 9, 2010
Opening reception:
March 4th, 2010, 12-1pm

Symposium: Artists in Wartime: bearing Witness/Shaping a Response
March 20th, 2010
Saturday, March 20, Noon-1 PM

List Gallery at Swarthmore College 500 College Ave. Swarthmore, PA 19081 Phone: (610) 328-7811 Web:

Monday, February 08, 2010

Printmakers Open Forum hosts La Ceiba Grafica

Alyse Bernstein sends us a report from The Midwives Collective & Gallery, where the Printmakers Open Forum curated a show for Philagrafika 2010. Alyse and her boyfriend Marc attended a lithography demo as part of the festivities at the gallery this past weekend. Alyse teaches lithography at the Fleisher Art Memorial.

Marc and I were grateful to discover that despite two feet of snow on Saturday The Midwives Collective and Gallery was open for business-thank you Nora! On display is one of the Independent Projects of Philagrafika 2010 entitled Recognition: The legendary tradition of contemporary printmaking in Mexico along with lithography demonstrations by Per Anderson and Martin Vinaver who are also participating artists in the exhibition.

Per and I met in the summer of 2001 at the Tamarind Institute and quickly discovered we possessed a mutual commitment to lithography and the martial arts. These topics fed many conversations about the differences and similarities of marble to limestone and Tai Chi to Aikido. Per practiced Tai Chi every morning and drew with his homemade litho crayons, pencils, and tousche wash, producing a print a day. Per encouraged me to pull a lithograph from marble while in New Mexico and was full of advice on graining, drawing, and processing the marble for printing.

Per drawing on a marble stone at Tamarind Summer 2001

Per and Martin are a part of the graphic art center La Ceiba Grafica. Together they drove to Philadelphia with a car full of demonstration materials from the Mexican state of Veracruz. One of their travel companions is a portable wooden press with a 20” x 16” bed, which was produced at the center. La Ceiba Grafica is a unique place that draws from the natural wealth and
resources found in the area.

The artists have overcome the expense of imported goods by acquiring marble from a nearby quarry, while local beaches provide silica sand employed in graining the marble, local hotels provide discarded cotton bed sheets and towels that are transformed into pulp to create handmade paper for printing, and orange peels from local groves create the turpentine used for cleanup. The center offers workshops in several disciplines beside lithography: etching, Japanese woodblock, and papermaking.

A print pulled at the Midwives Collective on Saturday from a marble stone

Marc observed that the opportunity to see the process that produces the artwork in a gallery is rare. Take advantage and stop by the Midwives Gallery on Monday, February 8, 2010 at 4:30 to see Per and Martin in action and learn more about La Ceiba Grafica and the art of lithography from marble stones.

Promotional materials from La Ceiba Grafica

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Bounding Billow: Sailors Printing on the High Seas

Martin Mazorra and Mike Houston of Cannonball Press braved the snowstorm of the season (if not the century) traveling from Brooklyn to Philadelphia. Their mission: delivery of a refurbished press and a trial run printing aboard the Cruiser Olympia, for the Out of Print program of Philagrafika 2010.

They managed to get the press onto the ship which required going across the deck of the submarine, the Becuna and into the Olympia. From there the press was deposited into the Admirals' quarters in the front of the ship where the boat has heat for the Cannonball to work

Printing press which lives aboard the Cruiser Olympiahis press is not the original, nor is it in working order - so Cannonball artists found a contemporary to what would have been used to print The Bounding Billow for the Out of Print project in the spring of 2010. Also shown is the exhibit case with the artist book that Cannonball has printed for the project.

After getting the press on the ship we headed to the Franklin Fountain for some research...they would like to have an ice cream social aboard the ship in March as part of the SGC conference...these are the Tarzan, a banana split and the Vesuvius (amazing).

Today the city of Philadelphia was blanketed by 23+ inches of snow. I documented my travels to the ship where I found the Cannonball boys wrapping up the trial print run on board. They were printing the last pages of a beautiful artist book that they created for the project. The book includes stories they gathered from their research at the Independence Seaport Museum alongside illustrations, based on woodcut prints they created.

Video adventure walking to the Cruiser Olympia from South Philly today during the snowstorm to see Cannonball Press test printing

The clamshell press in the Admiral quarters where Mike and Martin were printing, plus the chase locked up on the press with the magnesium plate of the text for the spread they printed shown here alongside an illustration of the engine from the ship.

Hope to see you this spring - family fun day planned for April 10. In the meantime, stay tuned for more details about the ice cream social printing day on board during SGC conference.