Saturday, August 23, 2014

Printmakers' Picnic!!

For this printmaker, it seemed appropriate that Oakland's 2014 Printmakers' Picnic took place on my birthday. It happened in Mosswood Park, and I had to restrain myself from running up to complete strangers all excited like, because these were my people, ya know?

The event was fairly straightforward; any printmaker was welcome to come, set up a blanket and vend their prints. Since it was a sunny afternoon with everyone catching whatever shade they could, these phone pictures aren't that great. Click on any of them for a larger image.

Overall, it had that DIY/DIT atmosphere that I love, yet always makes me a little wistful for Philly.

The artist that first really stood out for me was Bernadette Martinez of Artery Press. While eavesdropping (rather obviously, I think), she was discussing carving the repetitive detail that's present in many of her pieces. She said that often, she must carve all the detail in the same go, even if she wants to rest, because the consistency of mark will change if she stops and starts.

A pair of printmakers, Sanaa Khan and Deena Hashem were vending together. I was first drawn to their blanket by Deena's large, intricately patterned woodcuts.

Sanaa's work seemed related in content, but more searching and youthful. I wondered if they shared a studio or went to school together; the similarities in their work had the feel of the intimacy and influence of overlapping space and time.

Another printmaker who caught my eye was Kate Klingbeil. What drew me over to her blanket were her lithographs, full of delicate, marvelous tusche washes. (I miss litho).

She also had a clever series of prints that were adhered to magnets - I think she said these were monoprints? (Kate, if you ever read this - please confirm!)

Zines and artist books abounded at this event. Two that stood out to me were by Alyssa Townsend. The first was Grave Transportation.

The second was A Vivacious Vixen's Divine Doodads and Nifty Necessities for a Rock n' Roll.

There was much more printed matter than this blog post can contain. The whole event had a slight tendency towards controlled chaos, with wind trying to blow papers away and the occasional dog running across someone's work. At the same time, it gave me chills.

I was happy to see a real mix of techniques and methods - for edgy, anarchy events like this, often screen print dominates. It was also great to learn that day about some independent print shops in Oakland of which I was unfamiliar - places like Team Print Shop, Tiny Splendor, Rise Above Graphics, and Max's Garage Press (ok, that last one's in Berkeley).

Which has made me consider - in the wake of SGCI, and events like this, I'm considering putting together a list of artist print shops in the Bay Area. In Philly, we had Philagrafika which served as an umbrella organization to bring everyone together. Seriously, printmakers in Philly are like a family. I don't have the money or time to start a nonprofit, but I can do a webpage list, and periodically update it. It's a start.

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