Printmaking is one of the most accessible art forms out there. While you could use a press to print, it is certainly not required. You can make linoleum prints, monoprints, and screenprints at home without a press, just to name a few. What is printmaking? First you create an image on a printing plate (could be a variety of surfaces, ranging from plexiglass to wood to a potato– yes, I said a potato. Remember those prints you made in grade school where you cut a star into half of a potato, dipped it in paint, then printed it onto paper? That’s basic printmaking.) Then you transfer your image from the plate to paper or fabric or whatever.
This is where the super cool thing about printmaking comes in– you can print multiples of the same image. For an artist, this means you can do series, have multiples to sell or exhibit, and print the same image in lots of different colors (like Andy Warhol’s Soup Cans). It also allows you to print the same image on different types of surfaces, from Rives BFK paper (a favorite of mine) to handmade paper to fabric or nontraditional surfaces. As a buyer, multiple prints means printmaking is one of the most affordable ways to own original artworks.
For example, the online shop Mengsel’s Design has the above beautiful screen print of a boat on waves for only $65. Or Nifty Swank has this retro hand-cut lino print for only $15! There really is a print for every budget.
If you’d like to try your hand at making your own prints, I’d suggest checking out a class at Ragged Edge Printmaking Studio in Cohoes. Owned by Kathy Klompas and Lise Toch, the studio is tucked away on Remsen Street and offers everything from monoprinting silk scarves to summer “camp” options for kids. The studio itself is a great work space with a gorgeous press and ample work space. Ragged Edge is also “green” and uses eco-friendly alternatives to the harsh chemicals often found in a traditional printing studio. There is also the Arts Center in Troy.
If you can’t or don’t want to try printmaking yourself, be on the look out for the work of three of my favorite local printmakers: Harold Lohner, Pamela Hollinde, and George Dirolf (who is also an amazing painter).