Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Printmaking Lab

When I first enrolled at Portland State, I was told by multiple sources that the art department was horribly underfunded and that most of the classes were pretty bad. I had been told to try printmaking after taking a drawing class at PCC and so I signed up for the class anyway. I then saw that my sources were wrong about at least one program because the printmaking lab has new, clean, functioning, and plentiful equipment. At Portland State we have the capability of making lithographic, intaglio, relief and screen prints. I ended up being in that room for most of the year. The room itself is roomy and comfortable and easy to work in. There are several students that seem to never leave the room and the instructors are helpful and knowledgeable.

My first experience with printmaking was in high school where after a simple stamp project working with repetition and color, I began working on other projects where I basically taught myself how to print relief (carving in rubber stamp material or linoleum). My high school art teacher was, to me, very mediocre. I didn't learn much from her and found myself often frustrated with the class. When I came to PSU, the printmaking class was the one course that first caught my eye. I was sure that I wanted to take it. I quickly discovered that PSU has an amazing printmaking program and so in my first fall term here, I took relief printmaking with Valerie Wallace. I became completely enamoured with the whole process but mainly my professor and her work. I took a class from Valerie every term of last year, working my way from relief to intaglio (etching) and to silkscreening. I found her to be incredibly inspirational and knowledgeable. Her way of working with the class and individual students was unlike any art teacher I've had before. I felt compelled to make conceptually intriguing and creative artwork and she challenged my abilities as an artist while making my work and creative ideas feel validated all the while. I lived in that studio last year. I fed off of the talents of my professor and the other students.
We found out that the printmaking club is indeed in effect and running. On our way up to the studio located in Neuberger Hall, we noticed that there were club flyers lining the staircase and low and behold, we saw one for printmaking. The meeting are Tuesdays starting at 5:30, so we plan to attend and gather more detailed information about the ways in which the club has gotten together and perhaps any conflicts that they encountered in their attempts to get the club started as well as funded. The club is a way in which the print studio's resources and machinery can be utilized by students who may not be art majors or able to take a printmaking class. When we went to the studio, we found 4 or 5 students working on projects before the beginning of class and were able to confirm our thoughts about the club's start-up and continuation. We spoke to Erika who reiterated that we should talk to Valerie for more information, which we plan to do. Erika told us that Valerie is due for a baby girl, so that she plans to take some time off soon and has been coming into class more around 2:15 rather than 2.

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