Large Scale lino cuts for The Big Print, at Print Festival Scotland

At the same time as IMPACT 8, The very first Print Festival Scotland took off, with loads of events including studio open days, print and education exhibitions, and special film screenings at DCA. The Big Print has been in the works for the last 6 months, led by the Creative Learning Team at The McManus. The artworks are collages of many pieces by children, young people and adult learners inspired by the McManus collections and Dundee history, architecture, science, and culture.

There were then many sessions of lino cutting to transfer the initial drawings into the giant lino blocks. This was done by many artists, students and volunteers, and I managed to help a little. Here is a cutting process picture I took on an extremely rainy day in the creative learning centre at The McManus...

So when the day of printing rolled by, the momentum was really something- a great atmosphere of excitement and fun. The 'giant printmaking' was achieved using a road roller! Here are some photographs of last Saturday...

Well done to everyone involved, there was a lot of hard work involved but it turned out fantastic in the end!

Impact 8 Printmaking Conference in Dundee

So Impact 8 happened last week, and it just flew by. The conference has previously been held in Australia, South Africa, and many cities within Europe, so it is very exciting that Dundee was chosen to host this year. Dundee does have a rich, relevant print history though - with DC Thompson, the invention of the postage stamp, academia, the art school, and digital and computer games industries.

I was a volunteer, and we were all very busy assisting with various tasks and taking in the awesome printmaking/academic vibes/knowledge. Dundee University and DCA print studio had been preparing for last week for a long time, and that enthusiastic energy really showed with all of the Impact events and the first ever Print Festival Scotland, too. I mainly acted as a technical hand should anything go awry in the presentations. I helped look after 2 talks (each with 3 speakers) and a panel discussion. The talks were both on the subject of 'Art and Science', which was really interesting and included a lot of great work. I met a lot of really talented folks with inspiring ideas. The speakers were  Barbara ZeiglerTim O’Riley, Monika Auch,  Sean Caulfield, Kathryn Smith, and Beatrice Haines. Everyone had such interesting things to say, and managed to elevate my understanding of how art and science can be brought together in a variety of ways, not just your usual 'visualisation/anatomy' uses. To name a few - ethics, highlighting scientific detachment, drawing attention to people, process and materials, and solving intrigue.

The panel discussion was so interesting too, and much more involved in the kind of subject my own art is involved in: 'Printopias' - creating whole worlds within print. My 4th year studio buddy Raluca Iancu was speaking at the panel discussion (about the Three Bridges Project), and it was fantastic to catch up after 2 YEARS! I can't believe it's been so long since graduating.  The other speakers were John Philips (he spoke about the worlds and utopias within postage stamps) and Curtis Bartone (he spoke about fictional dystopia/utopias) , and the panel was chaired by Beauvais Lyons.

I plan to make a post on The Big Print soon. :)

Johanna Basford and her new DCA show Wonderlands

One of the most exciting things I have had the opportunity to be part of with the DCA is the big new show by Johanna Basford! I have assisted with a lot of the preparation work in the studio. A couple of weeks ago I helped screenprint these bad boys:

 

It took five of us to get these done, using the biggest press and very thick, cloggy ink so that it would be fully opaque. This meant, however, that we had to work VERY fast in between prints to take the fresh one away (carefully) and get the new one aligned properly before the thick ink dried into the screen. When that happens... you have to wash it all off, dry, and start again. Which we did have to do a few times. Screen printing can be frustrating.

However, this particular work was really satisfying! The artwork is fantastic too, so that helps with the warm fuzzy feelings. This one is called Macbeth. The subject matter, general symetry and imagery are all stuff I strive for in my own work. Black and white hand drawn patterns- loving it. :)

 

The show is going to be really immersive and have so much to sit and look at for hours, including illustrated mannequins, trees, and a sailboat, to name a few. Wonderbeasts will also be there, her massively collaobartive kickstarter project that 150+ people helped to create.

As with all big DCA shows, there will be a host of related events, including exhibition tours, an artist talk, a doodle designing group for 11-16 year olds, and other activities for families, too. The cinema will be showing Labyrinth, Alice in Wonderland, and The Illusionist.

Can't wait to see it all come together...

 

Wonderlands is open in the main gallery of Dundee Contemporary Arts on Saturday the 4th of May until Subday the 7th of July 2013. Admission is free!