Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Art of Protest: A Review

One time at UofL we had a show that I am pretty sure was simply called "Dissent". It was a good show. Tons of political works wheatpasted to the walls. They even had some stuff by Shepard Fairey in the show.

Well tonight, I thought that I would be treated to a similar experience at Vanderbilt University's Divinity School. The Divinity School had an opening reception tonight for a show titled "Art of Protest". I didn't know what the Divinity School even was, but I just assumed that was the name of their art building. It isn't. It is a school for religion, and houses their religion grad program. What this has to do with art I do not know, especially the art of protest.

Thank goodness it wasn't in the school's art department. The exhibit could have been called "Art of Art" because while some of the work was politically charged, a lot of people's art is, but I wouldn't call it "protest art".

Many works, such as the George Bush portrait made out of matches and matchbooks, would have fit in great during the 2004 election, while others seemed like fine pieces of art, but hardly seemed to protest anything. Some dealt with race relations, some dealt with consumerism, some dealt with the way/the things we eat, but I never really got the Protest vibe.

These were just the way these people feel about the subjects. That's what most artists do. Externalize the internal. I guess when I hear "Protest" I think sit-ins, fliers, t-shirts, and giant signs, maybe a folk singer. It's as if the curator(s) of the show had lumped protest work with general artistic emotion. That is to say that any work that strayed away from technical skill to that place of conceptual thought, was considered protest.*

I am not critiquing the artists in the show at all though. Every artist there brought their "A" game. Everyone's work looked very solid technically as well as conceptually, and the works ranged from very traditional paintings, drawings, a few video works, amazing print work by Sue Coe, as well as some work that incorporated found objects.

I think that the best way to remedy the lack of a "protest vibe" would have been to include an artist statement, or a short description of the particular piece. When Bob Dylan started singing protest songs, he used powerful imagery, but it was catchy enough and easy enough to read that you got the message. With these works the meaning behind them often seemed so esoteric, that it was impossible for me to decode what exactly the artist was protesting. Was the explosive vest made from crayola crayons a statement about child soldiers? Was it a comment on the loss of innocence in war-torn Countries? I don't know.

Its a really nice show, but if you go, don't go in thinking "art school protest show". The work is quality, but the organization of the show under the banner of "Protest" was just bad marketing.

*I guess thinking, could be a form of protest(1984?), but that means every art show would be a protest art show, so as deep as that may be getting, I don't think that's where they were going with that.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Images From My First Week @ Hatch Show Print

The first week has come to an end, and what a week it was. I learned how to spot Franklin Gothic and other fonts, how to use a pantone book, run a vandercook letter press, how to measure in picas and points, what a serif is, how to read type upside down and backwards with no problem, and all kinds of other printmaking and design oriented stuff. On an un-printmaking related note, I also learned how Jack Daniel's is distilled while touring the distillery in Lynchburg.
This image shows a typical job in progress, or a job being dismantlement by interns. Since we have not done any jobs ourselves, this one is probably being put back. Each letter, and piece of metal or wood (rigglets)must be put back into their original drawer. There are drawers(cases) and shelves of type everywhere in the shop, and a lot of it is very small.
Here, intern Harry runs a Vandercook press to do a re-strike of the Hatch Cats Poster. A re-strike is when an existing poster is reprinted. Usually this is done with the older posters that are used for sale to the general public one at a time.
On this Vandercook press, ink is aplied to the top vibrating roller which distributes the ink to the other rollers. When the wheel is turned the ink is rolled onto the block (seen here already inked) then the paper is locked onto the drum and rolls over the image creating with enough pressure to create the print.
The final product. These posters seem to be quite popular. Between 4 interns we printed over 400 of these.
Michaela and David were assigned to decorate this birdhouse for a charity auction. All the images on the house were made from print proofs which are called make-readys in Hatch speak. I would let my birds live there.
100 print order+2colors+the start up fee=$350...I hope she said "Yes"
Oh you can use GOJO, and soap and water, but sometimes that ink just doesn't come off! I still have blue under my fingernails from Friday.
HUEY THE HUGE!! He is fat, loves attention, and drools. He reminds me of my cat Danger back in Louisville.
Bethany Taylor designed this poster and printed the orange/yellow background. I printed the black.
I forget who did the blue, but here is the final product.Friday was an interesting day. We put up lots of type, I printed re-strikes for Alrico stunt shows, and the radio show "American Routes" came in to record. I think that I messed up the Alrico assignment.

The colors were inconsistent, either because I had to mix up a new batch of ink which was not quite like the other, or because the ink was running low on some of them and they turned out lighter. The colors printed for the background before we got there were also inconsistent which led to the borders being off on some of them. Instead of resetting the furniture(pieces of wood used to keep the plate in place on the press) I decided to print straight through them all because the 2 colors still lined up at the same border which would have still made it the same size poster when we trimmed them.

Speaking of borders! When NPR was doing their interviews with Jim and touring the shop recording we decided to step out for a long lunch next door at a place called Bailey's. We played ping pong, pool, and watched the Olympics for a while just to stay out of their hair.

After lunch we walked back and they were still recording. Jim and the NPR people walked over to me printing (the only one printing at the time)and Jim asked me how the re-strike was coming along. As soon as I opened my mouth to talk about the way in which I had to adjust the border about 1 pica to the left, this fuzzy microphone was there in my face. They cut, and Jim told me I needed to say it again, but really describe it for the radio audience. No pressure or anything. I tried again and probably sounded a lot more nervous than I did the first time. It threw me for a loop, and my smooth moves at the press where thrown off. The lady kept recording the sounds of me applying ink, and the sound of me making prints. It was pretty cool. I am excited to hear the show. Brad says stuff like this happens probably once a month.

In addition to the NPR people, tour groups kept coming through the studio and taking pictures of everything, including me printing. It is interesting, and also a little unnerving to be the center of attention like that. With all of this excitement around all the time, I wonder if it ever gets old.

The rest of the time spent outside of the internship was spent hanging with the other interns, or hanging at home mostly. I ride my bike almost 4 miles a day 5 days a week and yesterday we went to the Jack Daniel's distillery and then saw a show at The Basement on 8th st.

Having a wonderful time, wish you were here.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dress for Success-ful Printing

And they all thought I was MAD for dressing like a rain cloud all the time when my prints were so bright!! I turns out that I was right for doing so from printeresting.org

Friday, February 19, 2010

Printing Money.

This is a magic trick, but it is also kind of useful to show you what I have been doing during my week at Hatch Show Print. Paper goes through the rollers, and prints come out the other side.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Print Collection 3,4 & 5

Kelsey Iwanski
Pin-up 1, 2, & 3

Last year around this time was the Southern Graphics Council conference in Chicago. It was here that I acquired the three prints you see above. This was from the Columbia College campus I think. I don't remember what the name of the building is, but it is the same building that houses the Shop Columbia store. Inside the doors to one of the rooms on the first floor was a spinner rack. You would often see these racks inside of stores where you could display postcards, or it could be used as a way to display pamphlets. This was the latter. Inside this display rack were show flyers, and other information, but along side that were two pockets with a different pin-up print in each.

It was like finding a small printed sexy treasure. The prints have a D.I.Y. feel to them, and make me think more about the zine and concert poster culture than the gallery culture in art.

The third print we found was later in the same building. Up a few floors and after seeing some demos or visiting some gallery's-whichever may have been happening in this particular building at the time-we stumbled upon a table near the stairs with lots of other college information, and concert flyers scattered across it. In with the other printed ephemera was the third in the series of Pin-up prints. I am curious to know whether there were more in this series scattered around. I also can't help but wonder if there was some sort of artist statement attached somewhere along the lines or if this. Was this a part of a larger exhibition? Did it have anything to do with a Shepard Fairey-esque study of phenomenology?

As I mentioned before, the images seem to lend themselves more to a low-tech or counter-cultural printmaking aesthetic, and as such are probably nothing more than a way of spreading the joy of printmaking, and the joy of images with others.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Eric Lawrence: Hatch Show Print-ern.

Today was our first day as Hatch Show Print interns! Since there are a lot of pics, I will try to keep it short. I could probably click away all day in there and not get half of the shop documented as it should be. This image for "The Show" wine, was being packed up ready to be shipped this morning. It's really interesting to be able to see things before anyone else does. Some people in the company probably haven't seen this image yet, but today I did. I held and touched the posters before the client even did.
I rode my bike to work today. I only live about a mile from Hatch. I was riding on the sidewalk because I am not a strong enough rider to take these hills, and about 2 blocks from the show I turn my wheel a little at the crosswalk and slid on a patch of ice. Down I went. A few blocks down a man standing outside said that he gave me a 2 for the fall. I told him I will try harder next time. My first adult bike injury! YEAH!
If there is one project in Hatch's archives that I would like to have a copy of or do a re-strike of, it would have to be some of the work done for the Kentucky State Fair. I remember seeing some of these posters when I was younger and loving them even though I had no education in printmaking at the time. As interns we get to keep a copy of any work we do, as well as get something like 10 prints from around the shop.
This is Maow. He is one of the famous "Hatch Cats". I thought he was dead or something because the last time I visited everyone kept talking about Huey, the other Hatch Cat, and about a dog they were rehabilitating. No one mentioned Maow.
The Hatch Show Print neon sign from the inside.
This is the pile of boards with works in progress. There are two piles kind of like it that us interns get to spend hours putting away. Everything must be deconstructed into its separate blocks and then put back into its corresponding drawer. There are a LOT of letters and images. For example: in addition to having cabinets for all the different fonts, and sizes of fonts, there is also a shelf for "Random" and a shelf for "Miscellaneous"...It doesn't get confusing at all.
There are a lot of little hidden secrets around the shop like these. One of the Vandercook presses has a picture of Wolf Blitzer on it. The fridge has drawings all over it, and a lot of drawings, and cut-outs are scattered all over the place.
Posters from previous jobs are all over the walls.
One of the Vandercook presses.
More posters. Below the posters are cabinets and shelves full of different type, and images of various sizes.
Hatch Magager Jim Sheraden uses old images and type to produce these monoprint works.
Texas intern David stands in front of shelves of type and images.

After work we went to the Flying Saucer and had some beers. If in Nashville I recommend the Yazoo Dos Perros. By this time it had gotten darker and colder. I am getting used to it, but I still can't wait for it to warm up.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Letterpress is Everywhere.

What a Difference a Day Makes

Today I woke up freezing in my new home in Nashville, TN. For the most part I still felt the way I felt on my first day. I got dressed and made a list of supplies to get at Target. On the way I got lost and found a Kroger too. I stopped by Target 1st, and bought a lint roller, a pot to cook pasta, a strainer, another comforter to prevent freezing, 3 quarts of oil, some underwear, and a light bulb. I spent around $100.

Next I went to Kroger to take care of my food situation. I bought a ton of noodle dinners, a ton of Chef Boyardee(sp?) pastas, a ton of yogurt, granola juice, lunch sized Pringles, 3 frozen pizza's and plastic containers to keep leftovers in. I got back and watched 40 Year Old Virgin. At this point, it is near 2PM and I have yet to see my roommate.

Harry the intern texts me. We meet at my place trek a few blocks south through the Vanderbilt campus to a coffee shop called Fido's. It is a cool place, really big and busy. The hot chocolate I ordered had a wait time of 10-15 minutes. After that I tell him that there is a hookah bar over by my house. We wander around because I was unsure of where it was located. When we can't find it, we go back to my apt. where we discover that it was actually a block from my house and not the mile in the other direction that I originally thought. We smoke cola flavored hookah until both of us get sick, after that, Harry leaves because another intern, David, is meeting him at his place because he is crashing there until he finds housing.

I go home and watch a House marathon, and cook a Red Baron Pizza I bought today. Around 8PM I decide that I am going to go next door to the F.Y.E. and look through their $9.99 cd sale. As I am leaving I see my roommate for the first time today. He walks in as I am going out. I tell him I am heading next door, he says he is about to leave again.

When I first moved in I thought it might be weird to live with a stranger. I thought our personalities might clash, or I thought we would eventually become pretty good friends and maybe hang out sometimes. So far neither have happened because he is never home. This is okay with me too. Its like this is my own place, or at the very least, I don't have to worry about stepping on toes.

At the record store, I find Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zero's "Up From Below", Phoenix "United", Broken Social Scene "Feel Good Lost", and Dr. Katz Season 1.
It's nice to be able to get a good deal on all of these CD's and DVD's, but it sucks because there is no one here to enjoy them with me.

I sit down to watch more House and look to see if SNL is on. It looks like it isn't because of the Olympics. Harry calls right before I watch Burn Notice and says that he, and David are riding their bikes in the area. They stop by and we talk for a minute and get introduce everyone to everyone else. Then we go get food. The pizza and sub places next door are closed because it is now 11PM. So instead we head to Papa John's a block away and get a pizza to go.

Harry called Michaela(the only intern that noone has met yet) but she does not answer. She has spent the last 2 days on the road, and is staying with friends, so she is probably already asleep, or catching up with friends at this point.

They are looking for beer so we walk down to a liquor store by the cr-apple Market but it is closed. We go back and get the pizza and they eat, and then start their long bike ride back to the other side of the river. I get home and my roommate is not here, or else he is asleep already. I think I could get used to living alone, as long as I have friends that stop by every now and then.

Everyone I have met so far is really cool, and pretty laid back. Tomorrow I think that all four of us are supposed to hang out. I don't know what the plan is, but I think in the morning I might look into volunteering at the Frist art Museum. I think I should do this for two reasons:

1) If I don't have a social life, at least I have work.
2) I can get double the resume points in one trip. (Hatch intern/Frist Volunteer)
-Okay one more.-
3) Tennessee is the volunteer state.

Nashville Day 1

I am not an adventurer. That much I know for sure. I don't make a lot of plans in advance, but I also don't make a lot of plans that would end up changing my life in any significant way. I've never done anything that was a risk. I don't take risks. I've never quit a job without a back-up, I've never bought anything without knowing I could afford to make the payments.

In fact, since graduating High School in 2000, I have lived in the same house, worked at the same job, and went to the same school. These three things fall into the same categories above. I never moved out because as I've mentioned, I never bought anything without knowing I could afford it. My job did not allow me to afford it, but I couldn't quit because I did not have a new job lined up. Since I was 17 I have consistently had employment, always put in my 2 weeks notice, and only called in a handful of times. My work ethic is incredible!

Why am I telling you this? Because all of these things have changed. I now live in Nashville, in an apartment I found on Craigslist with a roommate that I have only seen for about 5 minutes since I have know him. Though I still work at my current job in Louisville, (where I am required to work at least 1 day a pay period in order to stay on the payroll) I have a new job as well.

I would hope by now that most people know that the reason I am down here is because I am interning at Hatch Show Print. Many people don't know why I am here really. A majority of people seem to think that I am going to school, and others just don't know what a Hatch Show Print is or does. I don't start the internship till Monday so I have the entire weekend to get settled into my new surroundings. I don't know if I am doing too well.

We(mom and I) got down here around 1PM Friday the 12th and moved everything in which was only about 10 boxes and my bike. Then we got Panera Bread for lunch, and she headed back to Louisville around 3PM(I think, the hour time difference kind of messed with me). I was all alone in my new apartment setting up my room and unpacking. Hours went by, and I was pretty much unpacked and everything was arranged. My roommate came home from work, gave me the password to the internet and then left to hang out with friends. I was all alone again.

I wasn't hungry, but I knew that I would have to go to the grocery and get something to eat besides the 3 boxes of Dr. Pepper I had brought with me. So I looked up groceries on Garman, and started to wander around the neighborhood in search of Foodland. Foodland apparently, is now Apple Market. Apple Market has the worst lighting, and worst selection of groceries I have ever seen before. I am used to having Kroger's in either direction, and Meijers, and a few Super Wal-marts.

There was a Target and a Kroger about 3 miles away, but in my new area, leaving your parking space is asking for trouble because there are meters, and then a few strips of free parking right in front of the building, but that's it! So it being Friday night and this being a pretty hip part of town, I walked to the Cr-apple Market. I bought pasta and sauce, a bag of rice stuff, sandwich bags and some ham and cheese for sandwiches at work. I carried it on home past all the people walking with their friends and having a great time.

I've been alone before. I have gone for long periods of time without dating, and other times I have felt like some of my friends only used me when their "real" friends were occupied, but I always knew that I could count on someone to be there for me when I needed them. But as I walked around Nashville I don't know if I have ever felt so alone in my life. That loneliness mixed with the thoughts of spending the next 2 months here made me feel even worse. I felt like David Byrne in the song "Once in a Lifetime" wandering around the darkness, hitting myself, wondering where my beautiful house was, asking "how did I get here?"


I went home and the apartment was still empty and cold. I still didn't feel like eating, so I listened to music and got onto Facebook as if I could reach into the screen and be back in Louisville. I couldn't, but Kara called, and them my mom beeped in on the call, and my brother was there too. It was as if I had clicked my heels and said "there's no place like home". It was weird to me how I can be so alone for so many hours, and then all at once everyone is calling me. That was ok with me though.

I ended up going to sleep around 7or8PM. The place is freezing, and I could hear people shouting outside of my window. It sounded like people were standing on the balcony yelling which echoed off the porch, or down the stairs or off the wall of the dentist next door. I had a hard time sleeping, but didn't know what else to do with my time. I thought I would read, but didn't feel like it. I thought I would write about what I am writing right now, but I didn't feel like it. I felt like hanging out with my friends, or playing Mario Bros. Wii with my brother.

This all may sound over dramatic, but this is a new event for me. I have never been away from home longer than a week, and when I go, I usually have friends/family/employees to talk to. I have never gone to college out of state, and have never interned anywhere before this, so everything about this is new to me.

It makes me wonder about all of those times when I was younger where I thought that if I moved to a new city I could be confident in myself, and make tons of friends. Somehow, I thought that if no one knew me then I could be myself. The truth of course being that even in Louisville, not a lot of people know me and I am still my awkward, and confidence lacking self, but people love me. The fortune cookie from my last dinner out in Louisville even told me so. I mean it HAS to be true then right?

I don't want this to be a pitty party. The truth is that I know this will be great, and I just have to deal with the changes that are thrown at me. I need to make positive use of my free time. This is a great experience, and I am excited about all the prospects it offers. I pictured myself riding my bike everywhere, eating healthy, reading books, maybe working on grad school stuff, and artwork.

The Only reason I am spilling my guts about everything I am feeling with this internship, is that this is supposed to be a place where my art work, art inspiration and internship is chronicled, and for me to do nothing but talk up the greatness of the shop, and Nashville would be misleading. There is more to this internship than me making prints. I still exist when I leave, and I have to learn how to exist when I am not in the shop. When I wrote my cover letter for the internship I told them:

I believe that the life experience gained by moving to a new city, being on my own for the first time, and working in a field as exciting as printmaking, will be personally beneficial.

And I believe it will.

Hatch Show Print Video Via Arts Break

Friday, February 12, 2010

My New Home

From Louisville With Love
Hey is that Apache Chief from the Superfriends?
Living room
view from my room. I just wish it was warm enough outside to enjoy it.
My bed, my desk, my room.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cool Designs While Shopping at Target.

Remember awhile back when I was talking about the letterpress-like fonts used at Target to promote their "Great Save" event? No? Oh. Well, here's all the details. Target is trying to do a Sam's club type of sale, where they put a bunch of bulk junk in the back corner where the seasonal stuff is. Besides grocery items (I was tempted to buy the 50 packs of fruit snacks for $5), they have bulk picture frames, sweatshirts, and stuff like that. Anyway, I am not writing to tell you what they sell, I am writing to tell you how they sell it.

The image below is from their website, but in real life there are less clean graphics of people pushing shopping carts and more text. Actually I think it is nothing but text. I think it looks like it is trying to mimic letterpress printing. The text has gashes and places missing as if the ink didn't quite make it into all of the holes in the type, and in some cases, it gives the appearance of letter blocks whose fonts do not match.

Someone told me I have to try Heritage Dr. Pepper.

"You have to try it!" They said.

I am a Dr. Pepper fan, but I couldn't find it anywhere even though they said it was available everywhere. So eventually I found it and I tried it. They sell it at a lot of places, but I found it at Target in abundance. They had stacks of it, and an endcap, and some in the impulse buy coolers. It is a part of the "Throwback" line of High fructose corn syrup free, sugar instead soft drinks. It is a cool idea, and a cool can design. I do know the significance of the 10, 2, and 4 on the can, but I don't remember Dr. Pepper looking like this ever in my lifetime.

Here are the other drinks from the real sugar line. I don't remember Mountain Dew looking like this, and it kind of makes me wonder if they are supposed to be reminiscent of older package designs, or if it really didn't matter. I only wonder this because, the Pepsi design is pretty much what I remember Pepsi looking like for most of my childhood, so why would the other ones not be similar? To me, the Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper labels-while cool-give me the feeling of someone trying to be retro/throwback/vintage in their design instead of actually using something from that time period.