Andy Saftel

June 2013

Impressions: Color Collagraph and Relief Printmaking

Course Description
A collagraph print is made from a surface on which collage elements and texture have been applied. Using oil-based paints and inks applied with brushes and rollers, we will create colorful, textured, one-of-a-kind prints. This is a very direct, painterly, and fun way to make a print on paper with an embossed surface. Both the making of the blocks and the inking process allow for endless possibilities. This low–tech approach to printmaking will produce stunning qualities and rich color combinations. Using multiple blocks printed over each other with transparent inks on one sheet of paper will yield exciting and surprising results.
We will begin with a demonstration of the printing of a collagraph in order to see how different surfaces of the collaged block yield various results. This will give participants a sense of what to look for as they begin to create their printing surfaces on plywood. It is possible both to cut into the block and to add onto its surface with a combination of collage, textured materials, plaster--both stenciled and applied--and anything else the artist can think of. This process allows for the use of varied imagery, from abstract to figurative, conceptual to narrative. It is also possible to draw and collage images onto the paper before printing. We will cover registration methods for multiple-block printing, as well as the use of various papers, glues, and plaster. The production of a related series of prints will be encouraged, so students should arrive with a concept and imagery with which to do so. No ideas will be discouraged.
In addition to producing prints, this workshop will focus on trends in contemporary art as well as art historical issues. There will be group discussions on a range of topics that arise as we work, as well as poetry readings.

Then and Now
When I last taught at Shakerag in 2007 we had a great group of artists working on mixed-media drawing, painting, and collage pieces. I encouraged people to pursue their own directions using all kinds of different processes and materials. People really bonded and were nurturing and encouraging to each other. That spirit will remain the same, but this workshop will focus on the collagraph printmaking process, in which we will create textured, collaged plywood panels to make prints from. Each print will be unique using this fun, painterly process. Although I own a press, my studio work has been mostly focused on painting and sculpture over the years. In the last several years, however, I have been returning to printmaking. After producing prints in Mexico and at Flying Horse Editions in Orlando, Florida recently, my excitement and enthusiasm for printmaking has re-surfaced. At Shakerag I will share this new energy for printmaking and the collagraph process, my favorite way to make prints.

Skill Level
This workshop is geared towards artists who work in any medium and welcomes participants of all levels.

Artist's Biography

After graduating from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1981, with a BFA in printmaking, I worked for two years at the Experimental Workshop in San Francisco. This was a printmaking workshop that published editions of prints and sculptures by many Bay Area and nationally recognized artists. It was a boom moment in the art world, and over a period of two years I worked with many established artists as a printer of their editions. I consider this experience my graduate school, since I was not interested in pursuing an MFA and teaching.
I moved to East Tennessee in 1986 and have been fortunate to make my living as a studio artist for the past 20 years. I live in and work in a beautiful valley, where I grow a garden and share life with my wife Susan Knowles, an art historian. I teach workshops in the summer at Arrowmont, Penland, and Haystack, as well as Shakerag.
For an artist, living in a place over a long period of time has its benefits. Not only does one absorb the culture, traditions, and history of the area, one also grows to have a deep love of one’s surroundings and the people who inhabit the place. So much about our region and its history has provided me with content and imagery for my work through the years, and I still find East Tennessee fascinating and inspiring every day. Although my work references global human, environmental, and historical themes, I consider myself an East Tennessee artist, since this is where I grew up as an artist and will always continue to work.

Artist's Statement

Although known for my paintings on panels I have always worked in a variety of media, including wood and metal sculpture, drawing, printmaking, watercolor, and collage. After art school graduation in 1981 I worked as a printer for three years at Experimental Workshop in San Francisco, helping produce large-scale woodcuts for artists.
My paintings have a woodcut feel since I carve on the plywood panel, imbed found objects into the panel, and then paint with acrylics. The content of most of my work is a balance between the personal daily need to record what I see and a look back at human culture. Historical documents, personal letters, what I find on the street, on the beach, wherever and whatever, all go into the work. I am interested in telling a story using fragments found and made. As an artist I am an observer of the world and a distiller of what I find into objects.
My most recent body of work, including panel paintings, prints, and mixed–media collages as well as photographs, is based on a month- long trip to Bangladesh on a U.S. State department Visual Arts Initiative. There I led collagraph printmaking workshops for established Bangladeshi artists and art students at Dhaka University. Most recently I produced a large color woodcut print in Patzcuaro, Mexico.

Artist's Website
www.andrewsaftel.com

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