A few words on printmaking

I've only pursued printmaking for several years, and thus I see it in its
most usual form. The black and white. The black and the white. The light and
darkness. Emerging from darkness. Immersing into it. That doesn't change
throughout the centuries, and remains to this day.

Printmaking has several undisputable – shall we say – peculiarities, which I
am very fond of.

It is a specific technique, rather close to drawing, yet it isn't drawing.
Drawing is fast, with the pencil sliding on the paper. You draw what you
see... immediately. That is close to impossible in printmaking.

Printmaking is not unlike painting either, it can be coloured... yet it is lazural
 layer in its fate, we can hardly achieve relief layer.

Printmaking is also rather close to sculpture…the similarity lies in the
struggle with material, especially in dry point or mezzotint, where you
inevitably work rather painfully and physically with the work.

Printmaking is immensely interesting. It incorporates several methods, and
if one wants to master them, it is good not to take any chances with any of
the stages.

Beginning with proper preparation and smoothing the copper plate, through
asphalt coating, drawing or engraving, etching with acid, powdering and
melting aquatint *resin*. Through measuring and dipping the papers, through
preparing and rolling the paint, its wiping out, through the indispensable
process of printing with a press, subsequent drying and cutting of the
paper, through signing the print to its final adjustments.

Now, why printmaking nowadays. Why not, for instance, computer graphics,
seemingly somewhat more associable with the 21st century?

Computer graphics are basically very similar to classical printmaking, yet
missing the medium and the touch with the material. With the colour. Missing
the immediate experience. Missing the possibility of contact.

And leaving most of the work on a computer program is somewhat not for me...
In fact, the technique is very peculiar in all that the artist has to do
while printmaking.

If one wants to draw, it has to be in reverse. Left is right and vice versa,
most importantly while writing, where the reversed form and inclination of
the letters has to be taken into consideration.

But what makes printmaking so very different from everything else is the
possibility of reproduction. Ten times, twenty times... up to a hundred
times it is possible to have a copy of a motif. A copy, which is, however,
an original at the same time. The possibility to reproduce the work
originally is beautiful. It is hard to give up a finished painting, same
goes for a finished sculpture... but with printmaking, everyone can always
keep an original.

I've gradually started to concentrate on the theme of woman in all her
relations and forms. In the beginning, I was influenced by art nouveau
motifs, which are quite close to capturing women. Symbolism wasn't unknown
to me either, and if there is something that persists in my work, it might
very well be symbols. No longer symbolism as a style, but perhaps works
which carry some sort of a symbol. At least that is what I try to achieve...

I've lately been working in a specific field of printmaking. Ex libris – the
bookplate. On each print there is the name of the owner, who chooses the
motif which should accompany his books. With this print glued into the book,
a reader was originally to learn something about the owner of the book.
Usually, though, it is not so anymore nowadays. The prints haven't been
glued into the books for quite some time, but collectors exchange or sell
them by different criteria, preferences and authors.

It can thus happen that prints appear in various places in the world without
you knowing it...

A number of works belongs to series, whether intentional (Antigone, Mors et
Amor, the Nymphs,...) or accidental, which are often turned into a series by
„accident". Many works are also illustrations, or rather interpretations of
literary works. Literature is quite close to me, so I find it only natural
to try to visualise it.

Craeting a series – naturally not only in printmaking – inevitably makes one
pursue a thought somewhat more intensively. And it is the intensity that I
like. I also like intaglio, which is a printmaking technique, very fitting
for the kind of prints that I make. Printing from the depths, under
pressure. From the depths of the matrix... Form the depths of a man.


Posted: 11. December 2010 - 20:55 | Back to Blog