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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thank you to Intern Leigh Garcia

Intern Leigh Garcia testing Gamblin inks at P.R.I.N.T Press
Leigh Garcia (Intern and Printmaking BFA candidate) shares her thoughts about her internship at the press:
"This past spring semester, I was granted the privilege to intern at the Printmaking Research Institute of North Texas (P.R.I.N.T Press). During that time, I not only learned about the function of a professional printmaking studio, but also the amount of work that goes into running a successful shop. . . 

"On my first day at P.R.I.N.T. Press, I was introduced to the Gamblin ink project. Over the course of the semester, Gamblin, an ink company based in Portland, Oregon, shipped small batches of their new ink formulas. My job was to carve linoleum relief blocks and print them using the new inks and transparent bases. While printing, I would fill out a short form about the inks’ tactile and aesthetic qualities such as texture, tackiness, and opacity. I would also include general comments on my opinions of the ink. These were later emailed to Gamblin along with a scanned image of my print. I did this for about eight inks. This project not only added a research-based project to my resume, but also trained me to pay closer attention to certain ink qualities I had never considered before.

Leigh Garcia and Laura Drapac rearranging the shop
"I also participated in rearranging the shop. Under the guidance of Laura Drapac, we moved screen-printing tables, shelving units, and work surfaces. However, the most labor intensive components we moved were flat files containing past visiting artists’ work. During this process I learned the correct method for moving valuable artwork. Wearing white gloves, Laura and I shifted artwork onto sturdy boards that were used to safely transport artwork to tables. After emptying all the drawers, we took them out of the flat files and then used our brute strength to carry the files to their designated locations. From there we put drawers back into the files and tucked the artwork back where it belonged. The project was tiring but extremely rewarding because I was able to handle artwork that is usually locked away for safety. During downtime, I looked through prints of artists such as Scott Ingram, John Risseeuw, and Lynda Benglis. I was especially excited to handle a James Surls print. It’s very different seeing these prints up-close, without the separation of glass and a frame.

(L - R) Lari Gibbons, Leigh Garcia, Kiki Smith, Jaime Durham and Melody Vaughan
"Though it was exciting to handle this art, it was even more exciting to engage in the process of making it as I did with artist, Kiki Smith. For months, I watched Graduate Area Assistant, Melody Vaughan, and P.R.I.N.T Press Director, Lari Gibbons, work on Kiki Smith’s photopolymer and etching prints. I was constantly asking questions about the photopolymer process, which I had never been exposed to, and learned a lot by watching Lari and Melody work over the course of a few months. On one of the days that Kiki Smith was present in the shop, I was asked to help cut out etching prints of trees for her that would later be adhered to larger prints. It was very exciting to be a part of such an important artist’s process and work alongside her. What I learned most by observing the Kiki Smith project was how artists collaborate with printmaking studios. I found it very interesting to see what methods Kiki Smith would carry out herself, and what processes she left for Lari and Melody to accomplish. This made me realize the importance of print shop staff, especially in regards to their technical abilities and attention to intent of the artist.

"I have learned so much from my experience at P.R.I.N.T Press. From dissecting dried ink cans to prepping artwork for road trips, I now understand how much attention to detail and hard work goes into running a successful printmaking shop. I look forward to applying many of these skills to my future career and hope to intern at other professional print studios based on the positive experience I had at P.R.I.N.T Press." –– Leigh Garcia, May 2014