A Steamroller, Facebook and The Fall of Icarus

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On April 23, 2011, Concordia University is hosting the Steamroller Printing Event, at the corner of Mackay and St. Catherine, in Montreal. Artists are invited to bring a woodcut or linocut plate, measuring at least 1 meter by 1 meter. The Student Print Association supplies ink, paper, cleanup supplies and a 48 inch 5600 pound steamroller.

I posted the Steamroller Printing Event on my Facebook status:

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“42 days left to engrave a large-enormous plate!! Anyone up to the challenge?”

Printmaker, René Donais, member of Atelier Circulaire, “liked” my status. He commented:

“Je pourrais m’essayer. Mon unique lino remonte à mes années à la polyvalente. Ce serait une excellente occasion de faire une 2e gravure en relief sur ce matériau.”

Forty-seven minutes later, René proposed that we form a group of Atelier Circulaire artists and collectively work on a large linoleum plate. This sounded practical and fun.

The following day at the studio, we discussed the idea. Since René is preparing his upcoming solo show, we agreed that I would organize the project. Over the next few days I recruited four more artists. Our Group of Six includes René Donais, Talleen Hacikyan, Michel Lancelot, Noémie Lesquins, Rolande Pelletier, and Deborah Wood.

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The Fall of Icarus, Albrecht Dürer, woodcut,

The group met in Atelier Circulaire’s kitchen, around Deborah’s home-baked banana bread and a pot of green tea. Although each artist had their own vision of the project, there were common threads, and through discussion, and with the help of some sketches, our direction became clear. We decided to engrave a 3.5 x 6 foot piece of linoleum, inspired by The Fall of Icarus. We would cut our plate into twelve equal pieces. On the ensemble of these plates we would collectively draw a silhouette representing Icarus. Each artist would engrave on two randomly picked plates, which would then be reassembled and glued to a sheet of plywood.

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Rolande, Talleen and Michel moving our roll of Marmoleum

Rolande and I walked through a vigorous March snowstorm to Million Tapis et Tuiles, on the corner of Bernard and St. Laurent. Following the advice of Concoria’s Student Print Association, we shopped for Marmoleum, a linoleum made with 100% natural ingredients: linseed oil, cork, limestone, tree rosin and natural minerals. We located a suitable roll of eco-friendly Marmoleum amidst a forest of linoleum rolls, stacked upright against the back wall, settled on a reasonable price that included tax and extra Marmoleum thrown in for free, and hauled it back to the studio by foot.

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Michel cuts and codes the Marmoleum

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Deborah inks the Marmoleum

The group worked efficiently over the next few days. Michel cut the Marmoleum into twelve equal pieces, Deborah rolled black ink onto them to make our engraving more visible. Two days later, when the plates had dried, Rollande, René, Michel and I drew Icarus.

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Talleen A.K.A. Icarus

I lay down on a large sheet of paper and struck my best Icarus-falling-from-the-sky pose. After adjusting my arms and legs just so, the other artists outlined my body. We refined the drawing and transferred it onto the Marmoleum plates.

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Rollande, René and Talleen

The final step was to draw names to see who would be engraving which plates. Paule Maingy, our etching coordinator, kindly undertook this all-important task.

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Paule draws names

Now that the plates have been distributed amongst us, let the fun continue!

Talleen Hacikyan

Stay tuned to future blogs on our steamroller print project.

STEAMROLLER PRINTING EVENT

Saturday, April 23 · 8:30am – 8:00pm

Concordia University, EV building
Corner of Mackay/St. Catherine
Montreal, QC

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