Prints – Democratic Art Works.
Any one who has ever used a rubber stamp, or printed a potato – cut will know what a print is; any sort of repeatable image.
Printmaking is the ‘Fine Art’ form of this.
Artists have been making prints for centuries . Think Rembrandt and his etchings; Goya also with etchings, and lithographs; Durer and woodcuts; right up to David Hockney with a multitude of techniques under his belt. Andy Warhol used screenprint as a ‘painting’ by printing onto canvas.
Today, digital technology opens up a huge range of ‘editionable’ work. In the ‘fine art’ or ‘original’ prints, the artist will calculate the edition size – how many virtually identical images, usually on paper.
Also, how many prints before the (etching plate) wears out, loses detail. Another thought – it’s important for the artist/printer to think about how many works the market can bear!
William Blake tried to make a ‘crust’ by making and printing his own books with a relief etching technique. But it is a complicated and time-consuming process and he found that he couldn’t make a living out of it. These brilliant little books, like ‘Songs of Childhood, are priceless today, but poor old Bill Blake couldn’t make a living!
Around the early 1960’s in Australia and other countries, there was great surge of interest in the printed image. Art Schools in Australia boomed. Because printmaking needs machinery, a number of Art Schools opened their doors to graduates to use the facilities in the evenings, or weekends. Photo-technology and screen printing were grudgingly accepted as a legitimate part of art practice.
This is when the Print Council of Australia was formed, in 1966. To bring like-minded people together, whether they were practitioners, students, or collectors. Or any interested people.
Because of their multiplicity, prints are the democratic medium, serving various causes, from Fine Art, to posters, to football tickets.
Anyone can become a collector on a small budget; Entrée to the Art World!
The Print Council publishes a quarterly newsletter/ journal called ‘Imprint.’ It has been the backbone of this organisation. Communications and information about print history, or technology, or any likely network of workshops. There’s information about exhibitions and competitions.
There is advertising by purveyors of materials needed by printmakers. This pays for the journal, as well as being handy.
The Council is run by a group of dedicated volunteers, with an underpaid general manager and small office space. The office has changed a number of times during 50 years. It is currently in Fitzroy Town Hall. (Melbourne)
As 2016, is the 50th anniversary, the Print Council Is hosting an enormous variety of print – related exhibitions across the country.
Keep an eye open for the 50 year symbol.