Archive mensuelle de mars 2012

Collagraph Charisma

Collagraph Charisma large-houses1

Brique Collage series, 128 x 98 cm each, 2002


The term collagraph is derived from the Greek word koll or kolla, meaning glue and graph, meaning drawing.  In the 1950’s, collagraph became accepted as a legitimate printmaking technique, largely due to the abundance of work produced by Glen Alps, a printmaking professor from the University of Washington, in Seattle.  Elementary collagraphic techniques can, however, be detected in 19th century prints.  The development of collage as an art form in the early 20th century also led to collagraph printing.



Lifesaver, collagraph, 38 x 28 cm, 2005


Collagraph is a printmaking technique where various materials can be glued to a plate.   Paper, fabric, leaves, egg shells, coffee grounds, carborundum powder, plaster and acrylic gel medium are some examples of materials that can be used.  The plate-making process is entirely non-toxic.  Collagraph is a direct approach to printmaking, allowing for spontaneous work, while providing the possibility of creating more complex pieces.



Mother Zeppelin (detail), collagraph, 170 x 110 cm, 2008


The base plate can be cardboard, wood, Masonite, Plexiglas or metal.  Lines and textures can also be engraved into plates. The plates are printed in intaglio with an etching press.  This method can be combined with relief printing by applying ink with a brayer over the textured plates.



Animal Mask, collagraph, 38 x 28 cm, 2009


I have been making collagraphs for twenty-five years.  I work on a high density cardboard that I prepare with acrylic medium, yielding durable plates.  I generally make editions of 40, however, I have made two editions of 100 each, by touching up plates along the printing process.



Artist's books, collagraph, 2009


Collagraph is a flexible medium, lending itself to experimentation. Over the years I have explored two-plate color printing, cut-out plates and large formats.  I have also incorporated collagraphs into my papier mâché sculptures and one of a kind artist’s books.



Little Black Dress, papier mâché, wire, collagraphy on Japanese paper, 61 x 31 cm, 2011


Although I use a wide variety of materials, I keep returning to plaster.  I use premixed drywall joint compound.  Not only is it inexpensive, it does not break under the pressure of the press. Typically I apply the compound with spatulas, shaping it into place with swift movements.  Once dry, I often engrave into the compound with a drypoint. It is also possible to imprint objects into the compound.  Recently I discovered a way to make bicycle tire prints.



Traces du va et vient, collagraph, 56 x 76 cm, 2012


I learned the fine art of collagraph at Atelier Circulaire in 1987 from French master printer and artist, François Xavier Marange. François Xavier worked at Leblanc, Lacourière-Frelaut and Maeght studios in Paris, where he printed for great artists such as Miró, Tapiés and Zao Wou-ki.  In France, artists were making collagraph prints with oil based, toxic varnishes.  In Montreal, Francois Xavier experimented with local, non toxic products with a view to producing a durable plate that could create a full range of subtle printed effects.

After twenty-five years of pushing this technique to new places I can say with conviction that collagraph is my printmaking medium of choice.

Talleen Hacikyan

All artwork by Talleen Hacikyan

Studio Days


Studio Days door2


There’s no feeling that compares to entering 5445 de Gaspé, in Montreal’s garment district.  In winter there is the immediate relief from the bitter wind that invariably rages on the street, playing havoc with my oversize portfolio-wanna-be-kite.  On any given day, however, despite the season, there is always a sense of well-being that overcomes me as I press 5 in the elevator, intensifying the instant I see the turquoise door of Atelier Circulaire.





My private space within the communal studio is my haven.  Surrounded by my work on the walls and work in progress I feel whole.  The outside world disappears for a few precious hours as I get to the task of creating art. I usually have a few projects going at the same time.



Internal Evidence, papier mâché, wire, shredded journal, hand printed Japanese paper, 2011






I’ve been working on papier mâché dresses and shoes that I collage with printed Japanese paper.  Last week I hand printed a fish on a large piece of ivory Kozuke paper.  That morning I went to small fishery on Park Avenue for my day’s catch.  I asked the fishmonger, stylishly clad in rubber boots and a wool tuque, if he happened to have any fish that was slightly too old to sell.  After he replied, “Non, non, on a pas ça,” with a touch of pride in his portuguese accent, I told him I’d settle for a fresh hand-sized fish with big scales.  He showed me a few specimens, resting in peace side by side on crushed ice and after running my fingers over a few, I opted for a Doré rose.  At the studio, I inked the poor, albeit oblivious fish, and printed repeated patterns on my Kozuke.  I worked fast, to spare my studio mates of the fishy order that lingered as my piece advanced.  The next step will be to use this paper to decorate one of my dresses.



Acrylic paint and shredded journal on two-by-fours, 2011


Yesterday in my private space, I painted on wood panels.  I worked in the same vein as the totems on the wall, made from recycled two-by-fours, combining acrylic paint and collage.  One of the elements I’m using for collage is my journal, passed through a paper shredder.  It is a cathartic feeling to shred my past and transform it into decorative elements that contain cryptic messages that can be rearranged and highlighted by taking them out of context.  Yesterday in my pile of shredded feelings I found the words, Budgie in a green jar.



Detail of fish print on Kozuke


My studio is a place where I can bask in creative energy.  This is where I can shred my journal, print fish, mold papier mâché shoes over my feet, engrave erasers, dip a dress into a bucket of plaster.  This is where I color my world.  This is where I get to the serious business of playing.


Talleen Hacikyan






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