Print Peeps – Andy Farkas

While traveling for the National Day of Feasting – aka. Thanksgiving – I got to spend an evening in Asheville with two dear friends. They indulged my whims of tacos and Muppets. Then to top off the evening we visited the home of my favorite $7 milkshake – French Broad Chocolate Lounge. The milkshakes, if you ever happen to be in the area, are made of homemade ice cream, and cream and whipped cream, and I’m pretty sure there’s some love in there; they are worth the price.

On the walls of the Chocolate Lounge is the work of artist Andy Farkas. I’ve seen his prints quite a few times now, as I keep coming back for milkshakes. I’ve always been impressed with his obvious love of his materials. I sense a great deal of reverence in the touch and attention that Andy expends on his blocks and ink. He makes wood engravings of expressive animals that serve as a metaphor for human experiences.

You should watch this little movie. It was filmed at an art and chocolate event at the Chocolate Lounge. In it Andy talks about his work, you can see some of his highly detailed woodblock carvings and near the end there’s some printing with chocolate going on. I love how he describes of the use of text in his work – that “words enlarge what the print is saying.”



Peace Image

River Print 1

Winds Shifted

Chelsea’s Deer

Each semester my Beginning Printmaking students get to choose their own adventure for their Relief printmaking project. The get to pick between making a five layer reduction woodblock print or making an installation that incorporates woodblock printing. Each semester something really special happens during this assignment. This year that something special was Chelsea’s life-size mounted deer head made with hand printed fur, foam insulation, and salt dough antlers. Her father and her brother enjoy hunting and this piece is her way of joining in.

chelsea deer

chelsea deer 2


There is a looooong and inspiring, shared history of printmaking and social democracy. There are a few print communities who have perpetuated this relationship into our modern times – ( Engaged people sharing their thoughts by spreading the prints.

OccuPrint is a collection of artists who are curating the prints of the Occupy Wall Street movement. According to their website they grew out of a project with the Occupied Wall Street Journal and have gone on to become something larger – “the OccuPrint website is meant to connect people with this work, and provide a base of support for print-related media within the #Occupy movement”

Be sure to check out their PrintLab page for some print at home Occupy graphics.

Work in progress

I’m working on a few new prints.

All of my prints begin as photos. In this layout I’ve combined a few different still images and played around with the transparency. I’m trying to get started on a few smaller prints for my orals. I want to approach these as print, not print/video combos. But I can see that answering some questions just creates more questions. For now, I’m just working away on creating more negatives for printing. Here’s one that’s from a series I took last Father’s day.

Proposals, proposals, proposals

Proposals, proposals, proposals. So I’ve just finished a big project. And I’m in grad school. And my

orals are coming up in a month. So I’ve been in this strange, sort of creative down-time, between

finishing the solo show and getting set for orals. In this “down” time I’ve still been hard at work. I’ve

been working on proposals for shows, residencies, fellowships, etc. I kinda like this kind of work,

well, I like it after about the fifth one. By the fifth packet i pretty much have my goals and statements

flushed out. More importantly, working on proposals allows me to dream. I get to think about what

classes I would teach at University, what art I would make if I were living in Jordan, what an

installation would look like in that particular gallery. Also, it gives me time to catch up on my image

library. Fortunately, I’m a photographer, and I make mostly flat art. This means that I can take my own

documentation images. I do save some money, not having to hire a photographer. But, let me tell

you, it certainly takes a goodly amount of time.

New work comes with many new challenges. For instance, how do I photograph large installation

pieces? Here are two photos of the same piece of art. My Solution of Silver of White Light, Alice, was

only fully installed for one day. The lighting of the space was great for showing the piece, which

consisted of prints and video projection, but not great light for documentation photos. I only had

access to the projectors for one day and so opportunities to take photos of the piece were limited. It

was also a small space, which means that I had to be very close up to the piece when taking the

photos. If I stood right in front of the piece I got a lot of vignetting, and barrel distortion in the photos. I

want to depict the work in the best light (pun intended). Getting art opportunities depends on

accurate documentation of my work. I have to be able to show people who have never seen my work

live and in person, what it’s like to see my work, but through photos. In the end I took many

photographs (god bless digital photography). I also set the prints up in a photo shooting studio here

at IU and took images of it with controlled lighting. After I color balanced and cropped the photos I

enlisted some help with picking images that best describe the piece. A second opinion never hurts

and I can always use a good excuse for chatting with a friend. In the end we decided I should submit

an installation shot, one that shows the piece in the context of the gallery, and the studio shot. This

way, reviewers of the work can get a sense of the beauty and detail of the work; they can see how all

the parts interact. They can also see what scale it is, and how it hangs off the wall.