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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Artist Andrew Kosten speaks to UA printmaking community


Printmaking artist Andrew Kosten displays an original print. His work was on display at the UA School of Art from Feb. 27 to March 3.

Printmaking artist Andrew Kosten displayed his work at the University of Arizona’s School of Art this week from Feb. 27 to Mar. 3 as the visiting artist invited by the Wildcat Print Association. During his time here, he has been working with printmaking students on prints he brought and teaching them more about what it is to work in an art form generally misunderstood in today’s modern world.

Printmaking is a medium where images are created by putting ink on what is called a matrix, or a printing plate, then pressing it on paper using large equipment. The result is an image that can be recreated more than once but remains original because it comes from the same process. 

There are various styles of printmaking, including intaglio, lithography and relief with stone and wood cut, which are done here at the UA. The equipment for these styles of printmaking are available for printmaking students at the School of Art, which is highly necessary for those who make prints using more traditional methods. Printmaking can also be done through digital processes.

Kosten, a former teacher in printmaking and full-time artist, described printmaking as “an umbrella term to describe a number of processes.” The techniques he uses most are intaglio and lithography, traditional processes.

The processes were originally done on book covers and are not popular today. However, there is another process commonly used today.

“Screen printing is probably the most abundant process, because you can screen press t-shirts and textiles,” he said. “Commercially, it’s probably one of the most common methods.”

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Currency is also created through the use of printmaking, but the process is often overlooked or not thought about, according to Kosten. 

Kosten sees printmaking as a way to honor history and tradition.

“It’s important to me,” he said. “It’s an appreciation of a certain process that is very labor-intensive, and historically, printmaking is incredibly relevant because it is so important; it’s like the wheel.” 

Being a printmaking artist is a way to appreciate connections to history.

“It predates computer technology,” Kosten said. “The dissemination of information on such a mass level of books and more is so fundamental.”

Cerese Vaden, an associate professor at the Art School of 2D Studies said that she has benefited from printmaking when it comes to her art. She teaches some printmaking classes and encourages interested students to pursue it. 

“A great printmaker from Wisconsin said that it’s the ultimate artistic sport. If you throw something at it, it’s gonna throw something back at you and you have to solve the problem,” Vaden said. “You think you know what the acid is going to do, but the acid is going to do something else.” 

She said that the unpredictability that comes with printmaking helps her make more interesting works in other mediums, and she tries to use the same elements of cause and problem solving. 

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“It makes me re-look at my process and makes me bring a lot of play and a lot of challenge into the process that brings better work,” Vaden said.

Mitch Mantle, a second-year printmaking graduate student and president of the Wildcat Print Association, also feels passionate about the art method and the community it has introduced him to. 

Mantle said being part of the printmaking club has allowed him to be part of an artistic community with people who share the same interests and help each other with their art. 

“Printmaking is a community type of medium where people can work together to make things, and it’s really great,” Mantle said. “It has that great energy. There’s a lot of things you can learn in printmaking—there’s a lot of demos, a lot of technical things that can be shared.”

It is through this group effort that the Wildcat Print Association brings in visiting artists.

“We get together, we make prints, we sell them in print sales and we make money to bring in these artists, and we made enough money to bring in Andrew,” Mantle said. 

The Wildcat Print Association also holds demos and sales for people to check out prints and increase an understanding of art.

“We’re just trying to build our name and to really build up printmaking,” he said.

Anyone can join the Wildcat Print Association. A person doesn’t have to be a student or even a faculty member. They can just be a Tucsonan interested in learning more about printmaking. 

“You get a cool pass, and just being part of a printmaking family is really cool,” Mantle said. “This is a good opportunity.”

A good way for interested individuals to learn about printmaking is to take a class, especially if it’s an elective, which was how Kosten was exposed to this art form. 

“I took a class as an undergrad, and it was the very first step,” Kosten said. “I didn’t know much about what printmaking was. I took it as an elective credit and fell in love with it.”

Vaden encouraged people to take classes about printmaking no matter their artistic level. She also recommends people walk around the art school and check out the student work, which is always on display.

Follow Melissa Vasquez  on Twitter

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