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“master printer” / collaboration

July 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I spent the past week or so working with Noel Puello (friend, artist, fashion designer, New Urban Arts alum, and future student at MassArt!) on making a super-epic, four-layer, 12-color collaborative screenprint.

We made this print to fundraise for Noel’s college expenses: zig has a gap of about $8000 to cover for their first year of art school at MassArt. Read more, see more pictures, buy a print ($30-$100+ sliding scale), or donate just a couple of bucks, right here: http://noelpuello.net !!!

This was a whirlwind project:

  • about two weeks ago, we decided together on a size for the poster, based on paper I had around the studio
  • I gave Noel some wet media mylar (transparent plastic that’s been treated to allow it to accept ink & markers) and we talked about different layers & uses of color, looking at examples around the house
  • Noel went to the store & got some black paint markers (the easiest way to create solid black on plastic)
  • Noel flew to DC for a six-day national youth student leader conference and got about four hours of sleep every night and thought about the poster
  • Noel came back to Providence and made most of the transparencies for the print in one day (!)
  • we met up that evening & talked about rubylith and what text should go on the poster, organized the transparencies, talked about colors and added a rubylith “background” layer

  • by the next day, Noel had decided on the text, we finished the first layer transparency, shot the first screen, & mixed ink colors
  • two days later, Noel mixed the colors for the first & second layers, & we printed those layers on about 75 prints, with the help of CJ Jimenez…

  • the next day Noel mixed all the rest of the colors, and we printed the last two layers, including a final layer with glitter, with the help of Anne Reinhardt who also made us all an amazing dinner that we ate after midnight…

  • that was a very late night, but then we were done! BAM!

It was super interesting to work with a less-experienced screenprinter to help them realize their vision, as opposed to creating or setting out my own vision — I was definitely in the realm of “master printer assisting an artist” as opposed to “artist-printmaker” on this one. I also wasn’t in the realm of “teacher”, because I wasn’t “teaching” Noel a process that zig could then reproduce on zig’s own — rather, we had a joint goal: to create something excellent together.

In experiences that I’ve categorized as “teaching”, I’ve often stepped back and stopped myself from imposing my aesthetic opinion on the scenario, to let the learner follow a course I might not agree with. In this case, I was happy to have the occasional possibility to step in and offer a thought or opinion that I might shy away from talking about with someone who didn’t feel like as much of a creative peer as Noel does.

I was so psyched to work with a friend who was excited about learning and open to my ideas, but confident in the validity of their own vision & aesthetic sense as well. Noel & I were working together to do what was needed to make a beautiful and meaningful object. It’s been really fascinating to make something that looks nothing like anything I would have come up with out of my own imagination — but to still be extremely proud of what we made, and to feel a strong sense of my own artistic identity with it……

You think you’re a grownup & have felt or thought all there is to think & feel, but then there are these new complexities of feeling & understanding that come up, all the time, and demand to be paid attention to & not get generalized into prior experiences. !!!!


Buio stole my leopard-print bandana that I made (by ripping up a pair of pants I found in the trash) for the Feral Summer queer dance party last Friday!

but you just can’t be mad at a person-face cat.

thresholding

July 2, 2012 at 3:38 am

When you feel really like things are going to come apart into pieces, not in an epic explosive way but just in the way where you are not sure if you actually exist or why you are existing or what ground you are standing on at the moment (this could be a good or bad feeling, or in between), you do what is known as thresholding.

This is where you are feeling thresholdy (the feeling loosely noted above) and you go to a place that is a threshold in some way or another, some kind of amorphous/undefined/ambiguous area, a place in transition, a place with no boundary, a place that won’t be there tomorrow. The margins, the passageway between places, the bulldozed earth. GO BY YOURSELF. And then just spend some time there and walk where you feel like within/around that place. Maybe take a camera or drawing stuff because words are generally useless on the threshold, maybe take some food if you think to grab it on your way outta the house, but usually you are leaving the house (or wherever you are) in a rush because you are feeling fucking THRESHOLDY and in your room or trying to talk to your lovely housemate or in a public sociable space is NO PLACE TO BE when you need to be THRESHOLDING.

(Does it have to be said that a car can’t take you to the threshold? Get out & walk to find it, ride your bike but get off when you get there, you need to be moving slowly & feeling your feet on the ground.)

Do that for a while, look at everything, touch things, sit down, lie down, pick up things & put them back or put them in your pocket or put them where they should be. Watch the angles & proportions of the space change as you walk through it. Do something that is scary, climb up a thing, take off your shirt in the sunlight, test the rotted floor, be alone for a little bit longer. When you are done you are done, go back to where people are, or to the coffee shop, get warm, write in your notebook.

Nothing will be solved by doing this. But you do it anyway. Thresholding isn’t supposed to offer you anything, all it can do is echo your own internal threshold but be bigger than you at the same time, hold you within it… something like that… can’t analyze it too much, it’s a threshold…


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