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COVER STORY

First impressions

UCF’s Flying Horse Editions launches annual fine arts print fair

Photo: Daniel Dorsa, License: N/A, Created: 2011:01:26 15:15:01

Daniel Dorsa

Print on Demand: Jon Didier, an intern at Flying Horse Editions, examines Yuji Hiratsuka's "Bewitching Ritual" woodcut print as it comes off the press


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In some ways it’s an art form uniquely suited to the 21st century, but printmaking has actually been around since the Paleolithic era. When the very first hand was stenciled on a cave wall, the ancient artist was, technically, making a print. When your kindergarten teacher had you carve a shape into a half-potato, dip it in tempera and press it onto a paper plate, you were making a print – printmaking is, after all, just pigment transferred indirectly onto a surface. A print can be created via press, stencil, woodcut, etching, silkscreen or other means to achieve any number of effects, making it a versatile medium. Consider Rembrandt’s somber black-and-white etchings, Hokusai’s woodblock print “Great Wave off Kanagawa,” Warhol’s super-bright silkscreened Marilyns and Shepard Fairey’s ominous and omnipresent stenciled Andre the Giant among the familiar examples that illustrate the variety of modern printmaking.

“Printmaking is not just a method for an artist to reproduce in multiple a specific artwork, so there are more copies to sell, but is a vital medium in its own right,” says Theo Lotz, studio director of Flying Horse Editions, the University of Central Florida’s fine arts press. “The technical processes and the collaborative nature of printmaking have been essential to the creative growth of many important sculptors and painters.” Most printmaking techniques make it possible to produce multiple “copies” of the work – this makes printmaking especially resonant now, as information can be (and often is) endlessly cloned. In addition, anything handmade has acquired cachet in a culture permeated with technology; everyone’s got a smartphone, but they’re probably using it to download a knitting pattern or find a recipe for home-brewed beer. Prints are made by hand, yet also reliant on technology; each piece is unique, infinitesimally different from the one before and after, yet one of a series.

This weekend, Flying Horse is hoping to raise the profile of the art form with its first annual Impressions Orlando print fair, a weekend-long event being held in conjunction with the Orlando Museum of Art (which has amassed a rather impressive collection of modern-art prints over the past several decades). Representatives from various fine art publishing companies – including the New York City-based One Eye Pug, founded by a former OMA curator, Sue Scott, and the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop – will participate in free panel discussions and demonstrations that will demystify printmaking for the public. The event will be hosted at UCF’s Center for Emerging Media downtown, and it will offer budding art patrons the opportunity to see and buy limited-edition works by both emerging and established artists, priced, Lotz estimates, from “a few hundred to a few thousand” dollars.

The weekend’s events and demonstrations are as of yet unscheduled, save one: a panel discussion planned for 2 p.m. Saturday that will explore collecting contemporary art, with a concentration on multiple editions. Participants include OMA curator Hansen Mulford, local art collector Robert Feldman and One Eye Pug’s Sue Scott. Feldman will talk about the role of the private collector, while Scott and Mulford – both of whom have worked closely with OMA’s print collection – will discuss the role of institutions.

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