Open Studios Print Expo creates inspirational atmosphere

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Senior studio art major Noelle Bilodean renders a relief print in the UT Art Building Saturday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Austin McKinney | Daily Texan Staff

Inspired to connect with their inner Rembrandt, UT students viewed various printmaking editions on display for the Open Studios Print Expo and New Prints 2012 Exhibition. 

The various prints were on display Saturday at the Art Building and Museum and Visual Arts Center. 

Part of the atmosphere derived from the International Print Center New York’s art exhibition collection titled New Prints 2012 and the attendance of Austin-area art curators and well-known printmaking studios such as Flatbed Press, Coronado Studio, Serie Project, Slugfest Printmaking Workshop and Women Printmakers of Austin.

The art of printmaking involves creating works by printers onto a variety of matrices such as paper or wood. 

Jason Roh, a senior in the Department of Art and Art History, said the opportunity to be around great printers and print shops was awe-inspiring.

“It’s almost like meeting the Tiger Woods of printmaking — minus the scandals,” Roh said. “To stand next to artists that have gone through what you have at one point and see them succeed is very motivating. Seeing the works of art makes me itch to get back into the studio and work all throughout the day and night.”

The UT Printmaking Convergence program formulated the idea of the Open Studios Print Expo, which is in its inaugural year. Co-Director Kenneth Hale said the idea behind the program and the event is to have all the people working in printmaking to converge and start exchanging ideas while getting to know each other.

“It makes everybody aware of what the quality and potential is,” Hale said. “When you’ve got Flatbed Press showing their finished prints that they’ve done with nationally known artists right next to the students taking their first etching class, then that’s inspirational. That tells that student [they] can get there and that’s what we want to have happen. We want to inspire.”

Hale said the event also serves as a feeder system for UT to recruit the best students from around the area, including students from printmaking programs at Austin Community College, St. Edwards University, Texas State University and Southwestern University.

Studio art senior Rachael Holt transferred from ACC to UT after getting interested in printmaking from a class at ACC.

“I immediately got involved in the printmaking program as soon as I transferred to UT,” Holt said. “I discovered that we have this bookmaking area as well. I took that class specifically because it was relief printing, and bookmaking and relief printing is my area of interest.”

Prints from Holt’s area of interest are on display through an organization on campus called the Texas Printmakers. It is an organization that brings together students, faculty and visiting artists to collaborate and further educate the student body about printmaking.

At the event, other representatives of the organization demonstrated various printmaking processes and techniques such as relief, intaglio, lithography, digital prints and book art.

The president of the organization, Roh, said printmaking can be very methodical and time consuming but can ultimately teach artists life lessons.

“The thing about printmaking is that you got to love the process,” he said. “There’s something about doing a job that takes 20-40 hours. It creates and teaches you discipline and patience with working with art. It’s a bit of an artsy view on life and whatnot, but sometimes you just got stick it out until the end.”

Published on February 11, 2013 as "Expo honors local, national art".