Monday, January 01, 2007

Studio Visit

For 12 years I worked solely making etchings and selling them at art fairs and to galleries. My first love of making art is inseparable from my love of etchings and I am lucky to have a connection to that world through my friend Gene Flores. The beautiful press pictured above belongs to Gene and on Saturday John and I visited his new studio where we christened the new space with good mojo and wine toasts.

This photograph shows a copper plate etched with the drawing Gene put on it and on the right is a print pulled from the plate. It is a very old and laborious technique that is challenging and when done well, thrilling to admire. Gene does it well.

I love this funky corner of his new studio where he has drawn a huge music speaker into service as a table leg. Typical. You gotta have the music and you gotta have a table leg.

Gene is pulling prints out to share with us from the stacks that he has produced over the last 15 years or so. He is tremendously prolific in spite of his teaching schedule at Portland Community College and his responsibilities as the Gallery Director there.

This is a shot of a great idea for storage and framing. He has stapled carpet onto the walls and floor area of cubbyholes that hold his framed work. Above that is a platform that is covered with the same carpeting where he frames the pictures, washes glass, etc. Very efficient.

This shot shows the same storage area from a different angle. It is roughly in the center of the picture. To the left is vertical storage where he keeps booth standards and hand carts, etc. The studio is located in a building with easy access to his vehicle so that loading up for art fairs will be easy to do. Our cherished friend Joan is on the left side of the picture and she helps Gene at the fairs just as John helps me. I could not do it without my side kick and I'll bet Gene would say the same about the help he gets from Joan.

This archaic piece of machinery is a guillotine that is used for cutting heavy slabs of metal. It is heavier than it looks and a good friend to the printmaker. I used to sneak into the metal department at the School of Arts and Crafts to use their guillotine; the head of the department would look daggers at me for the liability I represented. Few printmakers are lucky enough to have their own metal shear.

Following the studio tour we shared a magnificent meal that Gene spent the day preparing; Chili Colorado, Chili Verde, refried beans, spanish rice, green salad, tortillas, homemade apple empanadas and homemade ice cream. Cooked entirely by Gene; is that not awesome? One other time he cooked for us he followed up another memorable meal with Tres Leches Cake (my favorite) which is a real production to create. I bow down to the genius of the good cook. It is the most useful of all the arts (sez me).

Sorry I didn't get good pictures of the main dishes. Here are the tortillas and the dessert. Mmmmmm, perfection.

It is New Year's Day today and I am tying up loose ends in preparation for a return to the studio. If past experience serves me, it will be a slow re-entry after nearly 2 weeks excess. I didn't make resolutions this year but instead wrote down words to consider. I will share them with you.
  • Fearless Exploration
  • Confident Re-Invention
  • Utilize Your Time Wisely
  • Greet Change
  • Respect Strangers
  • Help Everyone
I guess in a way they are resolutions; to keep pushing beyond old boundaries and to utilize my hours well. To keep improving. To reach out to others so that we can all be our best together. To recognize that if each of us uses our energies for good changes in the world, the entire world will change. And even if the world does not change, that the world we experience changes when we become porous and loving.


katie said...

thank you for sharing your visit to your friends printmaking studio; and i learned something new about you too - i didn't know you did etchings for art fairs. and the food sounds like such a treat, yum!

but best of all i loved reading your last paragraph - no wonder i love you so much!

Amy Stoner said...

wow, nice studio! and nice press! I am finally breaking down and buying one of those small 11" inch presses at Art Media this month thanks to some wonderful gift certificates from a couple Santas as well as an original I just sold the other day. I can barely contain myself over waiting till the weekend to go get it! WEEEE!!!! :)