Printing with the Pin Press

Think printmaking and you are likely to think press.  You might conjure images of large, bulky contraptions, reminiscent of the Gutenberg press.  Or, perhaps your reference may be a contemporary streamlined printing press such as the American French.  Chances are, however, that your automatic association will not be the Pin Press.

 

Akua Pin Press

Akua Pin Press

 

The Akua Pin Press is a portable press in the form of a metal roller, designed by Akua.  Weighing only 7.8 pounds, the Pin Press is easy to use and store anywhere.  In my case, it is the perfect addition to my home studio.  The Pin Press is specifically designed to print monotypes with Akua water based inks.  Printmaking at home has never been so safe and convenient.

 

Talleen Hacikyan, monotype printed with the Pin Press, 9 x 12 inches, 2014.

Talleen Hacikyan, monotype printed with the Pin Press, 9 x 12 inches, 2014.

 

I have embarked on a fascinating exploratory journey with my Pin Press. Having always enjoyed building up my images with layers, now with the Pin Press, I add layer upon layer with minimal effort, often working on several pieces at a time.

 

pp3

Talleen Hacikyan, monotype printed with the Pin Press, 9 x 12 inches, 2014.

 

I combine the use of brayers with stencils, stamps and masks, improvising as I go.  Abstraction has helped me develop a fluid approach where I focus on form, color and texture.  This new take on my work is liberating.

 

Talleen Hacikyan, monotype printed with the Pin Press, 9 x 12 inches, 2014.

Talleen Hacikyan, monotype printed with the Pin Press, 9 x 12 inches, 2014.

Talleen Hacikyan, monotype printed with the Pin Press, 9 x 12 inches, 2014.

Talleen Hacikyan, monotype printed with the Pin Press, 9 x 12 inches, 2014.

 

I printed some of my monotypes on dry acid-free Bienfang smooth textured Bristol paper.  This paper comes in pads of 20 sheets and is economical and convenient, especially for the exploratory stage.

 

Talleen Hacikyan, monotype  on Washi printed with the Pin Press, 9 x 12 inches, 2014.

Talleen Hacikyan, monotype on Washi printed with the Pin Press, 10 x 13 inches, 2014.

 

I also printed on dry Washi.  Washi Japanese papers open a world of possibilities for printmakers.  I bought a few types at Au Papier Japonais.  I quite like the soft, almost translucent quality of these monotypes.

 

Talleen Hacikyan, monotype printed with the Pin Press, 9 x 12 inches, 2014.

Talleen Hacikyan, monotype printed with the Pin Press, 10 x 13 inches, 2014.

 

This year I became an official Akua Demo Artist for the Montreal region.  I am part of the team of twelve Demo Artists in North America, hired by Speedball,  who help spread the good word about Akua inks and the Pin Press. We cover art supply stores, printmaking studios and our demonstrations can also be incorporated into workshops.

 

Talleen Hacikyan, monotype printed with the Pin Press, 9 x 12 inches, 2014.

Talleen Hacikyan, monotype printed with the Pin Press, 10 x 13 inches, 2014.

 

I look forward to sharing my experience with this innovative, convenient and fun approach to printmaking. In the meantime, I have a lot more monotypes to print with my Pin Press.

 

Talleen Hacikyan

Monotype Workshop with Akua Inks.

class

 

In March I gave a one-day monotype workshop using Akua inks, with Ateliers de création Je MONOTYPE.  This unique and diverse program, dedicated solely to the art of monotype printing, is founded and directed by Jacinthe Tétrault, artist, educator and printer. It is always a pleasure collaborating with Jacinthe, who shares my passion for monotype and teaching.

 

Atelier Galerie Alain Piroir.

Atelier Galerie Alain Piroir.

 

Seven artists participated in my workshop, at  Atelier Galerie Alain Piroir, where Je Monotype classes are held. Everyone had previously taken a monotype class with either Jacinthe or myself and was eager to discover the unique qualities of Akua non-toxic water-based inks.

 

palette

 

Akua is my ink of choice for  monotype.  I love the palette of highly pigmented colors and often use them straight from the container, without mixing.  The inks and modifiers let me play with subtleties of transparency and opacity.  Easy clean up leaves more time and energy to concentrate on image making.  I can work fast, cleaning my plate with a swift wipe of a damp cloth between passes, or I can take my time, thanks to Akua’s unique slow-drying formula.  I was anxious to transmit these qualities to my students.

 

Manon Boisvert.

Manon Boisvert.

 

I introduced Akua Liquid Pigment and Akua Intaglio and showed how to use Blending Medium for blending and wash effects.

 

Alejandra Bertorini.

Alejandra Bertorini.

 

In the morning we explored brushwork.  I wanted artists to feel the fluidity of the ink and to tap into a painterly mode.

 

Manon Boisvert.

Manon Boisvert.

 

Lise Julien.

Lise Julien.

 

The fluid consistency of Akua Liquid Pigment and the buttery consistency of Akua Intaglio are perfect for capturing flowing and expressive brushstrokes.  Used with Blending Medium they are capable of producing watercolor-like effects.

I showed how to make ghost prints using Release Agent.  Ghost prints are second, lighter pulls from an inked plate, often resulting in surprisingly evocative images.

 

Marie Claude Favreau.

Marie Claude Favreau.

 

Lise Julien.

Lise Julien.

 

In the afternoon, we worked with brayers.  We explored the multi-pass monotype using stencils and masks.  I encouraged a spontaneous approach.

 

demo

 

Using a  stencil, I demonstrated how to use Akua Intaglio with Intaglio Transparent Base as well as the needle applicator.

 

Alejandra Bertorini.

Alejandra Bertorini.

 

Towards the end of the day, I left everyone free to experiment on their own, mixing all the techniques they learned, innovating some along the way.

 

Jacinthe Tétrault.

Jacinthe Tétrault.

 

The prints coming off of the press became precious teaching tools and students proudly shared their processes with each other.

It was a joy to teach this workshop in this inspiring studio with the Je Monotype program and to introduce an exciting, safer approach to printmaking with Akua Inks.

 

Talleen Hacikyan

Merci aux artistes qui ont participé à cet atelier et à ce blog avec leurs images.

Photos #1, 3 (detail), 10 and 12 by Jacinthe Tétrault.

 

Chicago Skyscrapers and Chocolate.

Talleen and Robin Chicago style.

Talleen and Robin Chicago style.

 

Last week my friend, Robin and I visited Chicago.  We used to attend high school together at the International School of Geneva.  We’d  have a blast as moped-riding, fun-loving foreigners in Switzerland.  Whether we reunite in Montreal, California or New York, we always have fun.  Chicago was no different.

 

Nathan G. Moore House, 1895 / 1906, Frank Lloyd Wright.

Nathan G. Moore House, 1895 / 1906, Frank Lloyd Wright.

 

On our first day we went to Oak Park, to the Frank Lloyd Trust. Oak Park, 10 miles from Chicago, has the largest collection of Wright-designed residential properties in the world.  On an audio self-guided tour, we located the 19 homes and the Unity Temple.  It was a treat to listen to the outstanding commentary while viewing the buildings.  We also went on a guided tour of Wright’s home and studio. In 1991 Wright was recognized as “the greatest American architect of all time.” His designs definitely bear testimony to that claim.

 

Robin meets the Property Brothers.

Robin meets the Property Brothers.

 

Next we came across a remarkable sight.  We bumped into the Property Brothers at the entrance of the Chicago Theater.  That evening when we watched the twins sell and renovate real estate on TV, our hysterical laughs resonated on all 25 floors of the Omni Hotel!

 

Crystal Gardens, Navy Pier.

Crystal Gardens, Navy Pier.

 

After Robin chummed with Jonathan and Drew, we went to Navy Pier.  Originally designed for shipping, Navy Pier is Chicago’s lakefront leisure and entertainment area.  We had a  a peek at the Crystal Gardens.

 

Louis Comfort Tiffany, Smith Museum of Stained Glass.

Louis Comfort Tiffany, Smith Museum of Stained Glass.

 

We also visited the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows. The collection has lovely pieces, from 1870 to present, including several Louis Comfort Tiffany windows.   Of the 150 religious and secular pieces, most were originally installed in Chicago homes, churches and buildings.

 

Oak Street Beach.

Oak Street Beach.

 

My Canadian-wintered body was thrilled to find itself at Oak Street Beach, where I shed my coat and Northern chill.  Steps away from the shops on Michigan Avenue, this oasis is one of many beaches that line the Chicago shores of Lake Michigan.  Barefoot college kids played volleyball, a woman practiced yoga, while a tractor maintained the sand.  A local woman who used to come to the beach as a teen told me, “Everyone tuned their transistor radio to the same station and it was one big party.”

 

View from 360 Chicago.

View from 360 Chicago.

 

At 360 Chicago, the observatory tower, an elevator soared us up 1000 feet above the city.  The view revealed that there was still a lot of ground to cover if we wanted to conquer Chicago, so we called it a day, dragged our screaming legs to pick up some Chinese take out and you already know who entertained us on TV.

 

Wendella boat at dock.

Wendella boat at dock.

 

The next morning we took an architecture boat tour. We departed from the Wendella dock at Trump Tower and went on a 75 minute tour that took us through the three branches of the Chicago River.

 

Marina City complex, designed by Bertrand Goldberg, 1959.

Marina City complex, designed by Bertrand Goldberg, 1959.

333 West Wacker Drive, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, 1979-1983

333 West Wacker Drive, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, 1979-1983

 

Our guide pointed out buildings and architectural styles designed by notable architects Mies van der Rohe, Bertrand Goldberg, and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.  From the business hub to the newer residential projects, it was interesting to observe the city from the vantage point of the river.

 

Hello Chicago!

Hello Chicago!

 

As our capitan navigated towards Lake Michigan the full skyline came into view.

 

Voges shop window.

Voges shop window.

 

Our last adventure of the day was a walking chocolate tour to six establishments.  My favorite was Vosges, Chicago’s designer chocolatier that features truffles spiced with an array of exotic flavors ranging from allspice to ginger to hemp seed to wasabi.

The chocolate pralines, the Omni Hotel, the art, the architecture and The Property Brothers made this trip with Robin unforgettable!  As we’d say when we were 15, what a BLAST!

Talleen Hacikyan

Thanks, Rabs!

 

 

 

Chicago Chicago

chicago sign

 

Last year, after visiting New York, Boston and Philadelphia, I told myself that Chicago should be next on my list of U.S. cities to visit.  When my friend Robin, from California, invited me to join her in Chicago for a few days while she would attend a conference and then explore the city, I knew that this was my chance and that I had to grab it.

 

Omni Hotel.

Omni Hotel.

 

I flew to Chicago and met Robin at the Omni hotel, conveniently located in the heart of downtown on North Michigan avenue, A.K.A. The Magnificent Mile. Chanel, Gucci,  Armani, Vuitton and the American Girl Place, where you can get your hundred-dollar doll’s hair styled, ears pierced and face scrubbed at their spa, are all there for your wallet’s pleasure.

 

city

 

I explored the city on my own for the first two days, while Robin attended her conference.  Chicago is easy to navigate, has a relaxed pace and people are friendly.  I love the fact that you can walk from the forest of skyscrapers to the beaches that hug Lake Michigan.  The Windy City also features world-class art.

 

Chicago Chicago renoir

Art Institute of Chicago.

 

Day 1, I walked to the Art Institute of Chicago.  I enjoyed their impressionist collection as well as the Christopher Wool exhibit.  Also noteworthy is Renoir’s True Colors: Science Solves a Mystery.

 

Cloud Gate, Anish Kapoor.

Cloud Gate, Anish Kapoor.

 

Inside dome of Cloud Gate.

Inside dome of Cloud Gate.

 

At Millenium Park, I saw Cloud Gate, by British artist Anish Kapoor.  This is the most intriguing public art sculpture I have ever seen.  I love the way it interacts with its environment, the way people react to it and the infinite visuals it offers as one walks around and though it.

 

Pilsen.

Pilsen.

 

The next day I rode the “L” (elevated) train to Pilsen, in the Lower West Side of Chicago.  In the late 19th century, Pilsen was inhabited by Czech inhabitants, gradually joined by other ethnic groups of Eastern European descent.  In the 1970s, Latinos became the majority population of Pilsen and today it has a distinctively Mexican flavor.

 

woman

Pilsen mural.

Pilsen mural.

Pilsen mural.

 

I went mainly to see the murals that color the streets. I was rewarded with a feast for the eyes. Storefronts, doors, cement walls under the tracks on 16th street, all competed for attention from my camera’s busy lens.

 

esther

Ester Hernández, Sun Raid, Screen print, 2007.

 

In Pilsen, I also enjoyed my visit to The National Museum of Mexican Art. The exhibition Galería Sin Fronteras, features Chicano based artwork from the collection of professor Gilberto Cárdenas, the founder of Galería Sin Fronteras, in Austin, Texas.  The works in this show reflect the reality of Latin American immigration to the States and convey messages of social consciousness.

 

marisol

Marisol, Self-portrait, wood, 1961-62.

 

Back downtown, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, I delighted in the Warhol and Marisol exhibit as well as the one on Alexander Calder.

Next stop, River North, featuring the greatest concentration of galleries in Chicago.  I visited Printworks Gallery, where I discovered the etchings and photogravures of Teresa James.  I also popped into half a dozen other galleries.  My favorite show was by award-winning Chicago-based artist, Jordan Scott at Judy A Saslow Gallery.

 

Chicago Printmaking Collaborative.

Chicago Printmakers Collaborative.

 

My fourth train ride of the day took me to the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative (CPC) to my rendez-vous with Deborah Lader. Besides being the founder and director of CPC, Deborah is an artist, a master printer and a musician with the Folk group, Sons of the Never Wrong, for which she is a multi-instrumentalist, a vocalist and a song writer.  It was inspiring to talk with Deborah.

 

Chicago Printmakers Collaborative.

Chicago Printmakers Collaborative.

 

The studio has a warm feeling to it and the space is well organized, with an etching press, a lithography press and a combination press.  I was lucky to catch their exhibit, New York Society of Etchers.  CPC is celebrating their 25th year and their future looks bright and promising.

Back at the Omni, at the end of day 2, after a tasty meal at Su Casa with Robin, and my nightly swim, my head was dancing with all the images and sights I had seen in Chicago. I couldn’t wait to share the next two days with my travel companion.

Talleen Hacikyan

Stay tuned to my next blog on Chicago architecture and chocolate!

 

 

 

 

Gelli Printing Workshop at Studio Talleen

Talleen with Gelli workshop participants.

Talleen with Gelli workshop participants.

 

On Saturday March 22, eight artists braved yet another Montreal snowstorm to attend my Gelli Monotype workshop in my private studio.  The warm ambiance and burst of color that followed alleviated weather related woes.  An all woman power team of professional artists, school teachers, translators and a program designer spent the day exploring the magic of Gelli printing.

 

Anne-Marie Gervais.

Anne-Marie Gervais.

 

After a slideshow of various Gelli artists, followed by a look at my own original Gelli prints we got to the serious business of creating art.  My studio felt ergonomic and functional.  Students had ample room to work on two tables.  We had a station for tools, another for paper, and a table for drying and displaying prints.

 

allworking

 

Print by Zaynab Mufleh with the foam stamps she made.

Print by Zaynab Touqmachi with the foam stamps she made.

 

Although Gelli printing is straightforward, its endless possibilities make it a challenge to teach.  I guided the group through a series of structured exercises, gradually leaving more room for personal exploration.  While I demonstrated, participants created very small Gelli prints, using various tools such as rubbing plates, rubber stamps, combs, bubble wrap, Q-tips and credit cards. They learned the basics of overprinting and masking. Working on 8 x 10 inch Gelli plates, provided the convenient option of working on smaller bleed formats.

 

Renée Gélinas

Renée Gélinas

Karin Montin

Karin Montin

 

After commenting on the ensemble of work, students experimented on larger formats with the techniques they had just learned.  They quickly grasped a feel for the medium and eased into the mode of intuitive image making.

 

lunch

 

Lunchtime was a jovial affair.  My mother brought a homemade marble cake and served us tea and coffee, while Renée treated us to a bottle of her refreshing homemade fruit kefir. The dining room table was abuzz with chatter and questions about my artwork on the walls.

 

brush

 

In the afternoon we explored stenciling and brushwork, working on the entire surface of the Gelli plate.  I ended by showing how I trim my Gelli prints with the paper cutter and mount them onto quality art paper.

 

Charlotte Fauteux

Charlotte Fauteux

Brigitte Chabert Hacikyan

Brigitte Chabert Hacikyan

 

Professional printmakers were happy to have discovered a printmaking technique that they can practice at home.  Teachers were excited to integrate the technique into their educational programs. Everyone was satisfied with their work.

 

lisec

Lise Carriere

 

By the end of the day the storm had subsided.  Everyone left with their new prints, leaving a trail of footprints in the snow and a warm feeling in our hearts.

Talleen Hacikyan

Please check out the dates of my next Gelli Monotype workshop in the “COURS” section of this blog.

 

The Joy of Gelli

Gelli plate with work in progress.

Gelli plate with work in progress.

 

As the notion of the traditional edition of identical prints is being questioned by many printmakers, more and more artists are including monotype in their practice.  Monotype designates a unique work produced by transferring ink from a non porous, unaltered matrix, such as Plexiglass or metal, usually to paper, with a press or by hand.

 

Gelli package.

Gelli package.

 

For many artists, the challenging art market does not sustain the demand for large editions.  For others, years of rigorous editioning, often with toxic products, have left  them yearning for a freer, faster, non-toxic, more experimental approach to printmaking. The Gelli monotype fits the bill perfectly.

 

Talleen Hacikyan, Two Girls, Gelli monotype, 2014

Talleen Hacikyan, Two Girls, Gelli monotype, 2014

 

The Gelli is a gel plate made with mineral oil and is a hypoallergenic polymer material. It does not contain any animal products or latex and is non-toxic.  With proper care, Gelli plates are durable and long-lasting.  The plate was developed in the States by Joan Bess and Lou Ann Gleason, with a view to creating a non-perishable printing plate that has the same sensitive surface as gelatin, that is used in gelatin printing.

 

Talleen Hacikyan, Three Girls, Gelli monotype, 2014

Talleen Hacikyan, Three Girls, Gelli monotype, 2014

 

On the last day of a monotype workshop that I gave at Atelier Circulaire, one of my students gave me a Gelli plate as a present to express her appreciation.  I was flattered and excited, as this was a technique that I had been wanting to experiment with.

 

The Joy of Gelli heads

Talleen Hacikyan, Totem Twins, Gelli monotype, 2014

 

Over the past few months I have been indulging in long, blissful Gelli sessions, discovering a myriad of special effects.  This uncomplicated, fast technique not only yields beautiful prints, it enhances the spontaneous nature of monotype printing. The fact that one does not need a press for Gelli makes it very user friendly.

 

Talleen Hacikyan, Head Space, Gelli monotype, 2014

Talleen Hacikyan, Head Space, Gelli monotype, 2014

 

Paints.

Paints.

 

I’ve been using acrylic paint with Gelli, which gives the images a bit of a painterly effect.  Liquitex Basics and Dollar store craft acrylics work well.

 

Tools.

Tools.

 

I explore multi-layering of rolled surfaces, combined with stencils, stamping, pressed textures and combed effects.  I stocked up on a number of new tools, from textured brayers and stamps to textured plates for rubbing art.

 

Talleen Hacikyan, Paper Flake, Gelli monotype, 2014.

Talleen Hacikyan, Paper Flake, Gelli monotype, 2014.

 

This versatile technique is perfect for both experienced and aspiring artists.  Gelli produces professional quality monotypes. It is also suitable for card making, visual journaling or crafts projects.

 

Talleen Hacikyan, Blue Flake, Gelli monotype, 2014.

Talleen Hacikyan, Blue Deer, Gelli monotype, 2014.

 

I look forward to sharing the joy of Gelli with other artists in future workshops.

Talleen Hacikyan

Thank you, Manon, for your kind gesture.

 

Atelier Circulaire and Friends Visit New York.

autobus

En route to New York with Isabelle and Mustafa to the right.

 

On Friday November 8, 2013, at 4:00 a.m. 21 artists, from three different printmaking studios hopped on a bus and cruised to New York to visit the IFPDA Print Fair.  Atelier Circulaire, Zocalo, and Atelier de l’Île members shared an unforgettable three-day art adventure.

 

group

Part of our group after breakfast on the road at Golden Corral.

 

Isabelle Desjardins, Mustafa Hacalaki and I organized the trip.  We chose to work with Tourika, for their affordable rates, sound reputation, and their professional approach.  Tourika reserved the first half of the bus for our group and the rest for their other clients.  Our Liberty package, included transportation between the two cities, rooms at the Holiday Inn, in Carteret, New Jersey, transportation each day to and from the hotel and Manhattan, as well as buffet breakfasts.

 

Martine at IFPDA Print Fair

Martine at IFPDA Print Fair

 

Our first destination was the IFPDA Print Fair. We were ecstatic as we perused aisle after aisle of delectable prints, like kids let loose in an all-you-can-candy store.  I cover the event in my blog, Talleen’s Picks at the 2013 IFPDA Print Fair.

 

In front of MoMA

In front of MoMA

 

After this extraordinary visit, artists were free to explore the Big Apple in smaller groups, before meeting on 49th Street to take the Tourika bus back to the hotel at 8:00 p.m..  My husband, Diego, and I went to MoMA for the Magritte exhibit, had our mandatory dose of New York Pizza topped with all those condiments in all those shakers, and caught a 10:15 New Jersey Transit bus from Port Authority to our hotel.

 

breakfast

Holiday Inn, Carteret, New Jersey.

 

Next morning, at breakfast, we reconnected as a group while munching pancakes and scrambled eggs.  Everyone had their own agendas, whether it was the Empire State Building, the Guggenheim, the MoMA, or another art destination.

 

cloisters

The Cloisters.

 

Diego and I hopped on the A train to 190th Street. After a breathtaking walk through Fort Tyron Park, overlooking the Hudson River, we visited the Cloisters, the medieval collection of the Metropolitan Museum.  The highlight of this visit was Janet Cardieff’s sound installation, The Forty Part Motet.  Listening to the polyphonic choral effect of the voices streaming out of the high-fidelity speakers in the chapel alongside other mesmerized listeners was a profoundly earth-shaking experience. I also loved the room with the unicorn tapestries.

 

Jaume Plensa, Talking Continents, Lelong Gallery

Jaume Plensa, Talking Continents, Lelong Gallery

 

After an invigorating walk on the High Line, Diego and I met seven fellow travellers in Chelsea for a guided gallery tour. Rafael Risemburg, founder and director of New York Gallery Tours, took us to seven hot exhibits in Chelsea.  He had a record-breaking attendance of close to 80 people joining this tour.  As daunting as that sounds, it was a pleasurable and enriching experience.  Rafael’s college-professor-trained voice projected very well in the large galleries.  My favorite show was Jaume Plensa at  Lelong Gallery and many from our group oohed and aahed over Richard Serra’s monumental sculpture at Gagosian Gallery.

 

Our group after the Chelsea gallery tour

Our group after the Chelsea gallery tour

 

Diego and I topped the night off with supper in Chinatown with Ann and Judith, followed by icy ice cream in glittery, chilly midtown before catching the 10:00 p.m.Touika bus back to the hotel.

 

Holiday Inn, Carteret, New Jersey.

Holiday Inn, Carteret, New Jersey.

 

All too soon it was our last breakfast.  Besides Ann, who had faithfully worked out in the hotel gym at 5:30 every morning, most of us admitted to being a tad tired, while maintaining a high level of enthusiasm.  The best line of the trip came from Sergei: “My feet feel like the feet in Picasso’s paintings.”  Nevertheless, everyone had ambitious plans for the morning.

 

JL

Strawberry Fields, Central Park.

 

Many of us got off the Tourika bus at Central park.  Finally after countless visits to the park, I saw Strawberry Fields, the 2.5 acre area that pays tribute to John Lennon.  There was even a guitarist strumming Imagine, despite the sign that declares SILENCE as one of the many rules in this Garden of Peace. Everyone magically vanished to their destinations while Diego and I headed to the Met to see the Bathus show.  I also saw Interwoven Globe:  The Worldwide Textile trade, 1500-1800.  This is truly an outstanding exhibit.  Also, in keeping with Print Week activities, I saw Artists and Amateurs:  Etching in Eighteenth Century France.  

 

all

Part of our happy group…

 

...and with me!

…and with me!

 

At 1:00 p.m. we all boarded the bus for Montreal.  Everyone agreed, this was an incredible trip.  It was heart-warming to witness the camaraderie within the group.  We spend so much time working side by side each other that it was refreshing to play together, especially in one of the all-time best playgrounds for artists.

Talleen Hacikyan

Last photo by Carlos Calado, merci!

Talleen’s Picks at the 2013 IFPDA Print Fair

 

Talleen's Picks at the 2013 IFPDA Print Fair me

Talleen in front of the Park Avenue Armory.

 

The International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA) Print Fair is a must-see for printmakers and art enthusiasts. This is why I made made a beeline from Montreal to to the Park Avenue Armory in New York City.  Twenty fellow artists from three different printmaking studios in Quebec, as well as six artists from Brooklyn, New Jersey and Pennsylvania joined me to share this spectacular print extravaganza.

A visit to the IFPDA Print Fair is an extreme pleasure trip that takes you from 16th century engravings to hot-off-the-press prints by today’s leading international artists. This twenty-third edition of the annual Print Fair is the crown jewel of New York Print Week. It features 90 dealers; 63 from North America and 27 from Europe.

 

general

 

Each booth, whether featuring work by old masters such as Rembrandt, Dürer and Goltzius or new editions by prominent contemporary artists such as Tauba Aurbac, Olaffur Eliasson, and Damien Hirst, offered a unique window into the rich world of printmaking.  The juxtaposition of period and movement creates an interesting rhythm that enhances the viewing experience.

 

rembrandt

Rembrandt, Self Portrait with Long Bushy Hair, etching, 1631

 

It was pure pleasure to hear David Tunick’s presentation at David Tunick Inc.  He highlighted Rembrandt’s Self Portrait with Long Bushy Hair.  This etching is the third of of thirty states, that are prints that record the evolution of an image.  Tunick explained how Rembrandt would add a detail, such two or three strands of hair, before printing a new state, practically using the copper plate as a sketch pad.

 

jazz

Henri Matisse, Page from artist’s book, Jazz, pochoir print, 1947

 

I also liked Tunick’s presentation of Matisse’s artist’s book, Jazz.  This delightful leather bound book, features Matisse’s bold cut-out designs as well as his handwriting that dances off the pages.  Yoko Ono recently bought this book.

 

ford

Steven Ford, Untitled, linocut & collagraph with chine collée, 2013

 

I was thrilled to discover Steven Ford’s work at Dolan Maxwell.  Ford deftly combines several techniques to make his large prints. Linear patterns, reminiscent of woven textures, create intricately composed surfaces.

 

hockney

David Hockney, Office Chair, digital print. (Home-made print in colors executed on an office copier), 1988

 

David Hockney is always a delight.  I was drawn to his Office Chair, presented by Leslie Sacks Contemporary.  Hockney’s technique, color copier printing, is particularly in sync with the subject matter.

 

kentridge

William Kentridge, Etant donnée, photogravure, stereogravure, 2007.

 

The Fair always provides a glimpse into more obscure printmaking techniques.  South African artist, William Kentridge is showing stereogravures.  I was primarily attracted to his prints at Robert Brown Gallery for their whimsical imagery.  It was fun to discover that these double images were conceived to be viewed through a stereoscope for a three dimensional effect.  The gallery owner assured me that each purchased print is accompanied with a snazzy red stereoscope that folds into a palm-sized box.

 

bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois, Crochet 11, Mixografia, 1998.

 

Speaking of technique, it is always a thrill to visit Mixografia’s booth.  The Mixografia technique is a fine art printing process that allows for the production of three-dimensional prints with texture and fine surface detail.  Mixografia evolved in Mexico City in response to Rufino Tamayo’s work.  In 1983 the Mixografia workshop expanded to Los Angeles.  I was drawn to Crochet II, by Louise Bourgeois.  The highly embossed mandala-like pattern let me reflect on the relationship between women and needlework.  The blood- red  lines, reminiscent of veins, also made me think of how our lives, like our bodies, are constructed of intricate vital networks.

 

hodgkin

Howard Hodgkin, Stormy Weather, hand painted carborundum relief from two aluminum plates, 2012

 

The larger prints tended to be displayed on outside walls and one that caught my eye was Stormy Weather, by British artist, Howard Hodgkin.  I was drawn to the power of his broad gestural brushstrokes and his restrained yet sumptuous palette of blues.

During my visit I kept bumping into my printmaker friends, each more enthused than the other,  several bringing me to his or her favorite print.  That afternoon, perusing aisle after aisle of captivating prints and sharing the experience with fellow artists I realized that the IFPDA Print Fair is my best excuse to visit New York, not that I ever need an excuse!

Talleen Hacikyan

 

IFPDA Print Fair

November 7 -10, 2013

Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Avenue at 67th St.
New York, NY 10065

Illustrating Aesop’s Fables For Today’s Children.

Can Aesop’s fables be made more relevant to a child in 2013 through the illustrations?  This is what Laura Prior, specializing in narrative illustration, is investigating for her final year dissertation at Birmingham City University in the UK.  After seeing my illustrations in Aesop’s Fables, she requested an interview with me.  This gave me the opportunity to reflect on the subject of relevance in illustration.

 

Illustrating Aesop's Fables For Today's Children. calder

Alexander Calder. A City Mouse and a Country Mouse.

 

Did you try to modernise the stories with your illustrations? 

When I was ten years old, my mother gave me a copy of Fables of Aesop According to Sir Roger L’Estrange With Fifty Drawings by Alexander Calder.  Calder’s simplified, squiggly black line drawings made an impact on me.  They were so different from the more elaborate and traditional illustrations I associated with Aesop’s fables. When Tradewind Books asked me to illustrate Aesop’s Fables, I wanted to find a new approach to illustrating the stories.  I was very aware that Aesop’s fables have been illustrated umpteen times and was determined to give the pictures a fresh look, just as Calder had done.

 

11_the_axe_and_the_trees

Talleen Hacikyan. The Axe and the Trees.

 

If so, how did you try to do this? 
Tradewind Books art director, Carol Frank, had a specific look that she wanted for the book.  She had seen the cover of Tork Angegh,  the previous book I had illustrated, and she wanted me to work in a similar style.  I worked with acrylic paint on a black illustration board.  Besides detailed brushwork, I incorporated a lot of hand printed textures using all kinds of objects, such as leaves, cabbage, pine needles, engraved Styrofoam  and woodblocks made for textile printing.  The fact that I am a printmaker, goes a long way to explaining why I gravitate to this method that produces unique textures.

 Do you think the type of colours used make it more relevant or is it more to do with the content of the illustration?

Working over the black background gives the illustrations a mysterious atmosphere and adds a new twist.  I haven’t seen Aesop’s fables illustrated this way before.  As for content, Carol suggested that I do a literal interpretation of the stories, which brings me to Michael Rosen’s writing.  The Midwest Book Review writes, « Each tale and moral is retold in a refreshing vernacular that allows the good old bones of the tale to shine directly through. »  I appreciated this very quality when I read from the book recently at a literary festival. I believe that the synergy between the writing and illustrations is what makes our book relevant to today’s reader, child or adult.
bull1

Talleen Hacikyan. Frog and Bull.

 

Do you think children’s preferences in illustration have changed over time? 
I think children are attracted to characters, whether human or animal, that draw an emotional response from them.  They like pictures that stimulate their imagination and transport them into the fantasy world of the story.  I don’t think that has changed.  What has evolved  is graphic style.  The line between illustration and fine art is much more flexible today.  Despite exposure to contemporary illustration in different media, I would like to think that a child today could admire and respond to a classic illustration, from let’s say  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, even after having seen Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton.
oxe

Alexander Calder. A Frog and an Oxe.

 

Is there such a thing as a timeless illustration in your opinion or will everything become dated at some point?
An illustration will always remain great, even if  it was made many years ago.  If an illustration has the capacity to capture the heart, eyes and mind of the reader and enhances the story by adding another dimension to it then it is timeless. Alexander Calder illustrated Aesop’s fables in 1931.  When I look at those illustrations today, I am as fascinated as I was as a child.  Today, as an artist, I also appreciate the pictures from a new perspective.  With a few continuous and fluid lines, Calder captures the personalities of his characters. These pictures, although devoid of the many technical devices of contemporary illustration, are pure pleasure, 82 years after their creation.
Talleen Hacikyan
Thank you Laura Prior.

Aesop’s Fables Wins Gelett Burgess Award

Aesop's Fables Wins Gelett Burgess Award web

Good news is always good.  As I await my gold medal to come by mail, I feel a sense of calm satisfaction, now that the excitement has had time to settle.  Two years of  hard work at the illustration table that I set up temporarily in the living room to  maximize on natural light is now being rewarded with recognition from the prestigious Gelett Burgess Foundation.  Here is an excerpt of the press release.

Aesop’s Fables Wins the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award:

Canadian Illustrator and British author Awarded Gold Medal in American Competition.

The Tradewind Books children’s book, Aesop’s Fables, has been awarded the 2013 Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award for outstanding contributions to children’s literature. The book was awarded in the Arts and Letters Picture Storybook category.

The Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award highlights excellence in family-friendly books covering the broad expanse of a child’s existence, helping them grow socially, emotionally, ethically, intellectually, and physically. Each year Gelett Burgess Children’s Book awards are given to 40 books in 4 distinct classifications: Lifestyle, Arts and Letters, Society and Culture, and Education. The list of winners is promoted throughout the year with additional activity and lesson plan resources made available.

More information can be found at www.GelettBurgessCenter.org.

About AESOP’S FABLES

Celebrated children’s book writer, Michael Rosen, collaborates with Talleen Hacikyan in this delightful retelling of Aesop’s most iconic tales, rendered with the author’s signature wit and paired with luminous and enchanting illustrations.  A parade of captivating characters–tricky foxes, talking trees and ferocious lions–impart the universal wisdom of this master of the parable.

Award-winning author, MICHAEL ROSEN, is one of UK’s best-loved children’s book writers.  He was the UK Children’s Laureate from 2007 to 2009 and presents BBC Radio 4’s Word of Mouth.  He has published over 100 children’s books, including the best-selling We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.

TALLEEN HACIKYAN is an artist, teacher and writer, based in Montreal.  Winner of the Loto-Quebec Printmaking Prize, she has been featured in over 85 solo and juried  exhibitions internationally.

More information about Aesop’s Fables can be found at http://www.tradewindbooks.com/book&Id=75

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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