SUSANNA ORESKOVIC’S PHOTOGRAPHS AND COLLAGES: Patterns of Existence in the Natural and Constructed World.

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Susanna Oreskovic photographed  by Cody Caissie

 

Susanna Oreskovic is an award-winning photographer and visual artist. Born in Croatia, raised in Australia, she is now based in Montreal, Quebec. She accredits her strength of identity and place, in a world of confluent migrations, to her parents who bravely left their homeland for foreign shores. Her formal training in visual arts began at the University of Western Ontario, from where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, followed by a business degree in Accounting.  Several years of working in the corporate sector led to disillusionment and a decision to complete a digital photography program at Dawson College. Since graduating with honours from Dawson, she has worked with modeling agencies, a Canadian national magazine and various businesses and community groups.  Susanna likes to travel off the beaten path, where she finds the greatest connection with nature. The interplay of nature and society and our place within it, is a source of inspiration and fascination for her.

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I interviewed Susanna on the occasion of In Between, her upcoming one-day solo photography and collage exhibition at Espace Pop in Montreal, on May 13, 2017.
In Between puts us at a crossroads between the world we construct for ourselves and the consideration we give to the natural world. The exhibition is a reminder to us all that the absence of something is as important as constant development and growth.

 Songbirds marks an exciting, new direction in your work.  Tell us about your process and how it is connected to the subject matter.

It’s exciting to see the result of what began as an intention to practice more drawing. Sketches led to pen drawings on paper and that led to more tactile explorations of papermaking. This focus on paper and tactile art with my background in creating photo composites found expression in collage.

 

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Collage in progress by Susanna Oreskovic, 2017

 

With Songbirds, I use collage sourced from discarded fashion magazines, such as Vogue, to comment and juxtapose on what is natural and artificial. I use the highly stylized fashion photographs, deconstruct them into their base elements of colour, shade, patterns, and reconstitute them into another image. For the collages, I cut out sections from the models clothes, hair and skin as my “palette of paint” building up the image in tonal values and leaving visible the rough-cut edges to add to the layered effect.

 

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Susanna Oreskovic, Black and White Warbler, collage, 9×6 in., 2017

 

Fashion often uses natural textures and is inspired by nature’s colours, seasons, as well as flora and fauna. Like many industries, fashion has an environmental impact with its’ excessive production and “fast fashion” ethic. While inspiration is a creative gift, the exploitation through cheap goods, and warping of feminine agency pulls us ever further toward unsustainable and detrimental ways of living.

To further highlight the environmental impact, I chose to focus on songbirds of Quebec listed as species at risk due to declining populations or being climate threatened with loss of habitat. For many of us, birds are our first reminder that nature is outside our doorstep. It’s closer to us than we realize.

What prompted you to photograph Montreal expressways in your series The Architecture of T ?

 

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Susanna Oreskovic, Lines to Sky, digital photograph, 12×16 in., 2014

 

I photographed parts of the city, and the expressways on my daily commute. With so much news about crumbling structures, traffic delays, and frustrated drivers I was inspired and marveled at what we collectively had created. In what is a grey concrete thoroughfare I found the elevated roadways to exemplify a majesty, an achievement, an ideal, and began to question what that ideal may be.

These urban structures we navigate each day are held to a cathedral-like status and are built to serve our car culture. They hold lofty ideals, not only in that they tower over us but in their promise of a modern metropolis. Intertwining, blanketing vast areas of land, we are trapped by their sinewy ways. Commuting daily on them, taken for granted, we do not see what we have created. We have created this ‘Thing’ that both impacts detrimentally our natural world and keeps us imprisoned from it.

Do you have a different relationship to your environment and process when you photograph in an urban setting as opposed to in nature?

 

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Susanna Oreskovic, Bounded, digital photograph, 12×16 in., 2014

 

In looking at the urban landscape I see the human impact and wonder about the people, whose choices, values and ideals created the structure. Everything we build is based on what we collectively think and value. If we were to truly live, work and build in sustainable harmony with natural systems, our cities and society would look very different.

Walking in natural environments, I look for forms, textures. There are patterns of existence that go beyond our humanness. We are not the almighty and powerful ones. I feel honored to be in places that are the least trodden, unscathed.

 

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Susanna Oreskovic, Morning digital photograph, 8×12 in., 2014

 

Though I live in a city, I can shrug off the bureaucratic demands of life, the time induced insanity and still welcome the spring air, the bird song.

As a child were you fascinated by the camera?

I’ve always been fascinated by technology having grown up in an age that transcended black & white TV to the internet age. We didn’t have many tech gadgets growing up. Part of the reason was probably our family migrating around the globe, from Croatia, to Australia, to Canada. We did have an old 70s style tape recorder and my parents had a 1961 Exa film camera. Photography was fascinating in that it could capture a moment in time. Of my family in Croatia, we only have a handful of images and there is only one baby picture of myself. Looking at old prints I always wondered what life was like for the people within them. The fascination stems from the seemingly magical properties of a few chemicals and light that can produce an image. Today with digital photography, it brings in a whole new world of technical spells to master.

You have photographed in many spectacular locations, from Machu Picchu in Peru, to the Karst mountains of Croatia, to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands.  Can you describe how the act of photographing shapes your understanding of a particular environment?

I have been fortunate to travel to many parts of the world. Each place has its unique qualities and lessons to teach. It’s like an antidote or a lens through which I filter my daily life. The mode of travel is very much self-directed except in places so protected they require hiring a guide.

 

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Susanna Oreskovic, Santiago Island, digital photograph, 12×16 in., 2013

 

Travelling to the protected islands of the Galapagos, one can see the many animals in their natural habitat as well as areas newly formed from lava flows. There is a rawness, a sense of danger and of peace. Life goes on untouched there.

New Zealand feels lush and green with vast expanses of mountains and sea. Very much in topography like our western Rockies, the difference is in the people and cultural heritage that exists there. The rich Maori culture is part of everyday life.

South Africa, another spectacular natural destination, is full of animal life on land and in the sea. Here too the cultural legacy of separation is apparent. In order to see elephants, zebras, and antelopes one must have enough “privilege” to book a tour. It was in South Africa that I felt the greatest clash between society and nature. To experience the land, we must pay for the privilege; a privilege the majority do not have. I have stories of picking up hitchhikers, having camera equipment stolen and returned. I couldn’t say why they returned it, but I like to think it was the way my partner and I related to them.

 

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Susanna at Salkantay Mountain en route to Machu Picchu. Photograph by Walter Tom.

 

Photography is all about getting a different angle, a new viewpoint. It doesn’t begin with looking in a viewfinder. It’s what I understand of the world. So from time to time I go climb a mountain. Perhaps looking down from the mountaintops gives me a different vantage point to view what we construct and its look on the land. Some of my mountain trips include:

A trek to Machu Picchu by way of Salkantay mountain pass.
Climbing Mexico’s highest peak, El Pico de Orizaba.
Reaching summits in the Drakensburg mountains of South Africa.
A number of peaks in the Canadian Rockies.

In your book Travelling Footsteps you capture a 36-day voyage across western USA. through your photography and writing.  What were some of the joys and challenges of combining your images with your words?

 

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I was in the middle of my 365 day project. During the trip, I continued to post daily. However, each post became a story with 3 to 4 images, which soon after became Travelling Footsteps. The travel pace was hectic, staying in a different place each night. I would get up very early before the family wakes to edit and work on the day’s post. Those quiet hours allowed my mind to wander, to see the story in the image and craft the short lyrical essays. Almost a meditation, the process allowed me to view the trip differently, with some distance yet great connection.

Is there something, someone or somewhere you dream of photographing?

I’ve not considered myself a documentary photographer but rather a finder of the story or the poetry within the image. I like to place myself in different environments and locales and experience what is there. I am always mesmerized by what shows up on the image. From there I take the lived experience and infuse a poetic story to the image. In that light, my goal is to travel, change my routine and have enough variety in life so that I may see new things around every corner. And sometimes these things may be just ordinary things like grey concrete or a box of old magazines. I see another story to it.

Talleen Hacikyan

Thank you Susanna Oreskovic.

In Between
Photography and collage by Susanna Oreskovic
One-day pop-up exhibition
Saturday May 13, 2017
Open 2:00 pm
Vernissage 5:00 – 9:00 pm
Espace Pop
5587, ave. du Parc
Montreal, QC
H2V 4H2

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IMPRESSIONS DE SOI: a Solo Exhibition by Talleen Hacikyan

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My solo exhibition Impressions de soi, on view at the Centre culturel Notre-Dame-de-Grâce in Montreal until January 22, 2017,  proposes an intimate reflection on the theme of identity. The show presents two installations, two series of prints and a didactic showcase. 

 

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Impressions de soi, Centre culturel Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Montreal.

 

Dress Up is a series of five large format collagraph prints of dresses that evoke women’s bodies.  Essentially black and white, with a blue detail in one piece, the dresses bear imprints of my hands, arms, feet and torso.  These direct traces of my body interact with symbols, textures and an infinite tonal range of black, reinventing my identity within the realm of the imagination.

 

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Talleen Hacikyan. I Chart, collagraphie, 122 x 100 cm, 2014

 

I Chart is a play on the optometrist’s eye chart, used to measure visual perception.  The letters on this dress invite deciphering and raise questions of how are we are perceived, what we choose to reveal about ourselves and what lies beyond surface appearance. Each dress represents a facet of womanhood and is a reflection on exterior identity and inner states of being.

 

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Talleen Hacikyan.  Paper Steps, installation with 32 life-size paper shoes, paper, acrylic, collage with  print media, 2014

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The Paper Steps installation of thirty two paper shoes marks the beginning of my exploration of the three dimensional form within the context of an installation.  I used my feet to create moulds with which I made the shoes.  Our feet are our roots and direct connection to the earth.  They epitomize our steps and paths and evoke the passage of time.

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Talleen Hacikyan. From the Paper Steps installation. Life size cast paper shoes, mulberry paper, acrylic, collage with hand printed Japanese paper. 2014

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The shoes in this installation are embellished with acrylic and collage of various media, such as gelatin prints, shredded strips of my personal journal and photocopies of my son’s baby feet.  Suspended, these whimsical shoes twirl and come to life, conjuring imaginary characters and their trajectories.

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Talleen Hacikyan. Installation of 32 life size cast paper hands, mulberry paper, ink, acrylic, collage of print media.

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Handy Tales was created specifically for the juried exhibition Then and Now in New York City in 2015, where it was awarded the Speedball Purchase Award.  This expanded version of Handy Tales, is on show for the first time.  The installation consists of twenty life-size three-dimensional hands made of cast Mulberry paper. 

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Talleen Hacikyan. From the installation Handy Tales, 20 life size cast paper hands, mulberry paper, collage with drypoint and typewritten message, 2015

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The pieces incorporate water based printing ink, acrylic and collage with paper printed with various techniques such as drypoint, woodcut, collagraph and gelatin printing.  Several pieces also include typewritten and handwritten messages.  Like a palm reader, one can project a story in each hand.  The masterfully staged lighting creates an intriguing projection of mobile shadows on the wall, that englobe their own narration of interacting hands.

The Renaissance series of eight monoprints, created in 2016 specifically for Impressions de soi, complements the exhibition with a more subtle tone.  At a Renaissance used goods store in Montreal, I discovered a pair of women’s leather gloves.  The wrinkles of these soft gloves bare  witness to the movements and life of the original owner.  The gloves evoked a sense of nostalgia.

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Talleen Hacikyan. Renaissance Glove V, Perforated monotype, 28 x 22 cm, 2016

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Each print of the glove, in pastel tones, simultaneously suggests fading away and rebirth. Printed on thick 320 gram paper, the inked gloves that passed through the etching press created an embossed effect and physical evidence of the real glove. Over the printed gloves and surrounding white paper I perforated designs and words with needles.  Words such as renaissance and rebirth, radiate hope and celebration.

The different series of work in Impressions de soi resonate and interact with each other, creating a poetic symphony of symbols, colors and twirling forms that play on the imagination and suggest a multitude of possible identities. 

Talleen Hacikyan

Impressions de soi is on show until January 22, 2017

Centre culturel Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, 6400 Monkland Avenue, Montreal, Quebec

Hours and information: (514) 482-0777

Thank you to Mylène Robillard, Colin Earp-Lavergne, Robert Dufour, Rémi Turgeon, Émylie Bernard, Audrey Gan-Ganowicz and Alain Piroir.

Photo credits:

Mustafa Hacalaki (Portrait)

Daniel Roussel (I Chart)

Susanna Orescovik (all other photos except for last one)

AKUA DEMO AND WORKSHOP AT STUDIO SORGE.

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In April 2016, I had the immense pleasure of giving an Akua demonstration and workshop at Studio Sorge, in Dunham, in the Eastern Townships, in southeastern Quebec.

 

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Studio Sorge.

 

The studio, originally a church, is nestled between trees, sky and plots of permafrost agriculture.  Bernice Luftie Sorge, an artist from Nova Scotia, bought the abandoned church in 1987 and converted this charming sanctuary into her studio.

 

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Studio Sorge printmaking space

 

Bernice’s painting studio and gallery on the upper level radiate light and peace.  The spacious printmaking studio on the lower level, is equipped with a huge electric etching press.  In 2013 Bernice formed Encreguenille – Ink Rag, a group whose members print at the studio.

 

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It was in this wonderful setting that I gave an Akua demo to thirteen people.  The group was comprised mostly of printmakers.  Also among us, was a man who attended with his four young and attentive children, the oldest of whom participated in the workshop.

In the demo I showed how to make a monotype and print it with the Akua Pin Press.  I also printed a collagraph and a drypoint with the etching press.  A few of the artists had experimented with Akua inks and were pleased to learn more about their unique qualities.  Others were happy to discover an exciting, non-toxic and uncomplicated approach to printmaking.

 

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Léana with her monotype.

 

The demo was followed by a monotype workshop.  This was the first time I did a back-to-back demo and workshop.  Judging from the high quality of work produced, I think it is a successful format.  Students have the benefit of immediately putting into practice what they see and learn in the the demo.  They approach their first monotype with bursting motivation and inspiration.

 

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The layout of the print studio allows for each artist to create at their own work station, with their own inking surface.  Everyone worked in their bubble of concentration. Gathering around the press to print provided moments of sharing and exchanging impressions.

 

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Monotype by Sanders Pinault.

 

During the workshop, I gradually introduced increasing levels of technical difficulty.  Participants started with small black and white monotypes and progressed to color and larger formats.  I covered additive and subtractive methods, brayer, brushwork, stenciling and the ghost print.

 

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At the end of the workshop, we admired the prolific and impressive display of everyone’s work. There was a shared feeling of satisfaction and joy that I carried with me during the drive home through the rolling hills.

Talleen Hacikyan

Thank you to Bernice Luftie Sorge for her invitation, organizing and hospitality.

Merci à tous les participants.

Thank you Speedball Art Products.

Grande Printed Art Fair.

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The Grande Printed Art Fair made its debut on May 7 during the 2016 Printed Art Festival Montreal (FAIMTL).  The event gathered more than 50 artists and organizations selling printed art, from fine art prints to artists’ books to art zines.  It was held at 5445 de Gaspé, a vital hot spot that houses many artist’s studios and galleries, including Atelier Circulaire.

 

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Béatrice Sokoloff

 

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Renée Gélinas and Denise Faucher

 

The combination of established, mid career and emerging artists, as well as the eclectic   work exhibited created an effervescent energy at this well-attended event.

 

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Alexandre Fortin

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Diane Jutras and Daniel Sylvestre

 

Several Atelier Circulaire artists participated in the Grande Printed Art Fair.  Although I have worked side by side with these artists for many years, this was an opportunity to admire their work in a new context.

 

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Claudia Leduc presents Atelier Circulaire members’s prints.

 

Atelier Circulaire presented a selection of lovely framed small format prints.

 

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Yayo admires screen prints by Julien.

 

The informal setting was conducive to approaching the artists and their artwork.  Turning pages of a portfolio or leafing through prints protected in plastic envelopes is very different from looking at framed art on gallery walls.

 

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Andréeanne Bouchard.

 

It was a thrill to discover the work of Andréanne Bouchard.  Her three-dimensional screen printed houses that light up from the inside with LED lights, are delightful and irresistible.  As I was buying one for my mother, a mother was buying one for her pleading five year old son.

 

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Paul Cloutier

 

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Claudia Bernal (right) assisted by Julianna Rios.

 

The fair was the culmination of the first edition of FAIMTL.  The festival presented ten days of free events and exhibitions of printed art, featuring local and international artists. These events were organized by six partners: Atelier Circulaire, ARPRIM, Zocalo, Archive Montréal / Expozine, BAnQ and the Maison de la Culture Villeray/ Saint-Michel/ Parc-Extension.

 

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Louis-Pierre Bougie (seated)

 

With fewer  galleries in Montreal dedicated to printmaking, it is satisfying to witness the the birth of FAIMTL. Papier, the annual contemporary art fair dedicated to works on paper,  has been the mandatory destination for print enthusiasts in Montreal for nine years.  Now printmakers, print lovers and the general public will also have FAIMTL to look forward too.

Talleen Hacikyan

Thank you to everyone who smiled for my camera!

 

 

Celebrating the Day of the Dead in Puebla with Akua.

 

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Introducing the Akua Pin Press to an appreciative Catrina in Puebla, Mexico.

 

Cool April temperatures in Montreal have inspired me to write about exciting times in hotter climes. In October 2015, I was invited to the The Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP), in Puebla , Mexico, to give two Akua demos to university art students and professional printmakers.  BUAP is the oldest and largest university in Puebla.

 

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Puebla, the fourth largest city in Mexico, is a two-hour drive from Mexico City. It has beautiful Spanish colonial architecture in the historical center, is famed for the painted Talavera tiles and is the birthplace of the chocolate-based mole poblano sauce. Puebla is also a hub that draws students to its many prestigious universities.

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An ofrenda at BUAP.

 

Marco Antonio Duran Sanchez, professor of printmaking at BUAP, coordinated my visit, which coincided with the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. The excitement in the air was palpable on the streets and on campus, both decked out for the festive occasion. Students had made many ofrendas, offerings or alars, in the main patio of the university.

 

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Papel picado decorations at BUAP.

 

I particularly loved the papel picado, perforated paper, decorations suspended from the second floor. Equipped with my skeleton printed apron, I blended perfectly into the colorful atmosphere.

 

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I was officially welcomed and introduced to the students by the University and Department directors and by Professor Duran Sanchez. Two captive audiences attended my demos.

 

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Showing how to use Akua Transparent Base.

 

 

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Additive and subtractive monotype techniques.

 

The students and artists were excited to discover new monotype techniques, specific to Akua Inks.

 

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The portable Akua Pin Press was also a crowd pleaser, especially when I pulled my monotype off the plate.

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After my demo, I showed a selection of my prints, made with Akua. Everyone was intrigued with the work and they asked many technical questions. I put my Spanish to good use that day!

 

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Following my demos, I was presented with an official certificate from BUAP. The directors also kindly gave me several beautiful books, published by the university press.

 

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The enthusiastic and generous welcome that I encountered at BUAP was truly heart warming.

¡Mil gracias!

Talleen Hacikyan

Special thanks to Professor Marco Antonio Duran Sanchez, BUAP directors, Lizzy Yoselovitz, and Speedball Art Products Akua Inks.

Monotype Printing Workshop at John Paul I High School

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Student monotype. Living with the Monster.

On March 14 and 15, I gave four monotype printing workshops at John Paul I High School, in Saint Leonard, Montreal, through the Culture in the Schools program.  Jennifer Medwid invited me to give these workshops on the theme of Inuit art to her secondary 1 and secondary 2 classes.

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Student monotype.

I showed the students some of my prints, spoke about Inuit art and legends and gave them a demonstration on how to make a monotype. Next, each student created a monotype based on the Inuit theme.

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Student monotype. Rock Man.

Each workshop lasted 75 minutes. My challenge was to organize an interesting, fun and practical technique that would fit into this time frame. I opted for a subtractive method of working over rolled up ink, on thin PETG plastic plates. With this technique, an image is created by taking ink off a plate, rather than for example, brushing on an image. Edgar Degas used this technique, as well as the additive monotype method just described.

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I set up an inking island that accommodated six students at a time. We worked with water based, fume free Akua Intaglio printing inks.

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I had separate inking slabs for three colors that combine well together: Lamp Black, Pthalo Blue and Quinacridone Magenta. Students had the choice of inking with one, two or three colors with soft rubber brayers. They particularly loved this stage of the project.

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Student monotype. Hybrid Neon Cat.

Back at their tables, after inking their plates, students lifted ink with cotton swabs and rags to create their designs . I emphasized the experimentation of line and texture.

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Printing with the Akua Pin Press.

Each student printed their monotype at the printing table, with the portable Akua Pin Press. John Paul I has a predominantly Italian origin population. While printing, more than one student remarked, “This is like making pizza!”

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Student monotype. Saphire Eagle.

It is always fun to go back to high school, without being in the student’s seat! With homework and finals out of my way, I can concentrating on delivering print related joy to students and hopefully inspire a few budding artists.

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Student monotype. The Night Wolf.

 

Talleen Hacikyan

Thank you Jennifer Medwid and John Paul I High School for the invitation.

Akua Goes to La Fabrique in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

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En route to Sherbrooke, Quebec.

 

On February 23, 2016, on a brisk Tuesday night, I gave an Akua Inks demonstration at La Fabrique, in Sherbrooke, Quebec.  La Fabrique, located in downtown Sherbrooke, is a vibrant, new, community establishment.  They offer workshops and training in many fields such as carpentry, mechanics, electronics, business and of course, art.

 

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Deborah Davis, artist and art educator, coordinated my Akua Demo.  La Fabrique has a fully equipped screen printing studio as well as an etching studio, where I gave my demo.  Fifteen enthusiastic artists participated.  Many were members or students of La Fabrique and a couple had previously studied with me.

 

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I showed how to make a monotype print with the portable Akua Pin Press. It is always a joy to show this spontaneous and accessible approach to printmaking.

 

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Following the first monotype, I made a second, lighter print (ghost print) from the same plate by using Akua Release Agent.

 

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Next on the agenda, a two-plate, two-color collagraph, with plates made of cardboard and lilypads,  printed on the etching press. These plates, made of insect-bitten lilypads that I collected from a pond, never fail to fascinate the crowd.

 

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The last technique I showed with the etching press was the printing of my drypoint, Silence is the Best Music, engraved on a PETG plastic plate.  I am particularly fond of this drypoint that I made in Susan Rostow’s Brooklyn Studio, under her guidance.  It is always a pleasure to pass on the techniques she taught me.

 

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Talleen Hacikyan, Silence is the Best Music, drypoint, 2015.

 

The artists were impressed with printed quality of the lines.  They also remarked on how easy and fast it is to print with Akua inks.

 

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We ended the evening with a viewing of my Akua prints, while sipping on cups of tea that Deborah had kindly prepared for us.

Clean up was a breeze thanks to a couple of participants who offered their much-appreciated helping hands!

Talleen Hacikyan

Merci à La Fabrique et Deborah Davis pour l’accueil.
Merci aux particpants pour votre présence.

Akua Demo at Cégep du Vieux-Montréal.

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I have officially kicked off my 2016 season of Akua Demos.  My exciting line-up of upcoming visits to printmaking studios, artists associations, art supply stores, colleges and universites is truly exciting.

Yesterday I presented Akua Inks to professors in the art department at the Cégep du Vieux-Montréal.  A Cégep is a pre-university college in the province of Québec. Cégep du Vieux-Montréal has a reputable Fine Arts department.  My visit was timely; they have just opened a new printmaking program.

 

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My hour and a half long presentation included monotype techniques with the portable Akua Pin Press and two-plate collagraph printing with the department’s brand new French-American etching press.  I demonstrated how to use Akua Intaglio, Akua Liquid Pigment and Akua Modifiers, such as Transparent Base, Release Agent and Blending Medium.

 

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Collective monotype by art professors. Printed with the Akua Pin Press on mulberry paper.

 

This was my first experience doing teacher training with Akua Inks and it was a rewarding experience, knowing that the information I was transmitting will be disseminated to groups of eager students.

 

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Because I was working with a small group, after printing two monotypes with the Pin Press, I invited the professors to create a collective monotype.  It was fun to watch them put into practice all that I had showed them. Their approach was one of spontaneity, exploration and discovery.

 

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A teacher tries her hand with the Akua Needle Applicator.

 

The Needle Applicator was a hit!

 

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Next on the agenda: to print my collagraph composed of two cut-out cardboard plates on which I have glued lily pads. The professors were impressed with how easy it is to ink and then wipe the plate with Akua Intaglio and Akua Wiping Fabric.

 

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We were all excited to see the new press at work. Imagine, a press wheel with that smooth, glossy just-painted feel to it!  You have to be a printmaker to indulge in that joy.

I printed the fist plate with Quinacridone Magenta and I then superimposed my second plate that was inked with Lamp Black.  The professors remarked the vibrancy of color and the precision of detail.

 

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Talleen Hacikyan.  Two-plate collagraph printed with Akua Intaglio.

 

Everyone was impressed with the ease of cleaning up Akua with soap and water.  They smiled as they envisioned students leaving a twinkling studio after their class.

 

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We ended the demo by looking at my display of prints that included monotypes, collagraphs, drypoints and linocuts, all printed with Akua.

In the past I had wondered what it would have been like had I studied art at Cégep du Vieux-Montréal.  Yesterday, I satisfied that curiosity with my brief yet gratifying encounter with the art profs, eager to start the adventure of their new printmaking department.

Talleen Hacikyan

Thank you to Speedball Art Products.

Merci aux professeurs d’art plastiques au Cégep du Vieux-Montréal.

 

 

Linocut Workshop at Studio Talleen.

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Linocut and woodcut were my entry techniques into the fascinating world of printmaking.  Teaching my one-day linocut workshop in January at Studio Talleen was pure pleasure.  It was also a perfect excuse to reorganize my studio. I set up my Vandercook proof press — perfect for relief printing, created a new inking area next to the window to maximize natural lighting and suspended a sturdy drying line made out of a repurposed telephone extension cable.

 

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Four eager and hard working women came from as far as Mont Saint-Hilaire, to participate.  Each artist made two linocuts.  The focus was on line, texture, and composing with positive and negative space.

 

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The first challenge was to carve straight onto the plate with no preconceived idea of an image.  I wanted each person to explore the tools and to create different effects with the various gouges. Everyone concentrated on the task at hand and it was exciting to see the linoleum plates develop gradually.

 

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Next step was to print with black ink.  We used Akua Intaglio, a soy and water based, light fast, fume-free ink.  We used it straight from the container without any modifiers and got good results.  It is always possible to stiffen the ink with Akua Mag Mix or Mag Carbonite, if need be.

 

chantal final

Linocut by Chantal Lagacé.

 

It is delightful to see a freshly carved plate reveal itself with the first roll of ink and then printed on paper.

 

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Two animal themed prints by Susanna Oreskovic.

 

For their second print, the artists carved a composed image, working from a rough sketch.  It was rewarding to witness the artists’ assurance as they controlled their carved effects.

 

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Linocut by Susan Copeland, in deep green and in black, printed on Arnhem and Mulberry paper.

 

The participants had time to make several prints of each plate, on Arnhem paper and also on Mulberry, for two different results.  They also had the option to print in another color.

 

Linocut by Béatrice Vizkelety.

Linocut by Béatrice Vizkelety.

 

Everyone was satisfied with their prints . I am particularly pleased to have passed down my love of linocut, the first technique that drew me to professional printmaking and a medium that has been making an important comeback in recent years.

Talleen Hacikyan

Upcoming workshops.

Ateliers à venir.

Gelli Monotype on Wood Panel at Studio Talleen

gelli wood

 

As an art educator, specialized in printmaking, I put a lot of creative energy into designing workshops.  As my art practice expands to include new techniques and safer, alternative printmaking methods, I enjoy offering new classes that follow this direction.  At Studio Talleen, my private studio, I have the freedom to design my own program, tailoring classes to student demand and my own interests.

 

collage

 

On December 12, for the first time, I gave a Gelli Monotype on Wood Panel workshop at Studio Talleen.  An inspiring group of four professional artists and one photographer participated.

 

papers

 

In the morning the artists printed with the Gelli plate to create an array of beautiful papers. The Gelli plate is ready made plate that looks and feels like gelatin but is durable and reusable.  It is perfect for printing monotypes by hand, without the use of the press.

In this workshop we printed with acrylic paints on Japanese paper.  These fine yet strong papers are absorbent, pick up a lot of detail and are wonderful for collage.  We also printed on deli paper, interesting for their translucency.

 

sokoloff

Gelli monotype on Kozuke by Béeatrice Sokoloff.

 

The emphasis was on creating papers with different approaches to color and design.  Some prints had subtle all-over patterns in harmonious color schemes, while others had bold, high contrast designs.

 

positioning

Composing : Gelli monotype on wood panel. Kozuke, mulberry and deli paper. Work in progress by Susanna Oreskovic.

 

After lunch, the artists studied their assortment of Gelli printed papers with a view to creating a collage on a wood panel.  They spent the afternoon tearing, cutting, composing, gluing and transforming. Everyone was excited to discover new possibilities appear before their eyes.

 

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Gelli monotype on wood panel by Denise Faucher.

 

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Gelli monotype on wood panel by France Houle.

 

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Gelli monotype on wood panel by Francine Denault.

 

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Gelli monotype on wood panel by Susanna Oreskovic.

 

bea

Gelli monotype on wood panel by Béatrice Sokoloff.

 

Mounting the Gelli prints onto a cradled wood panel, changes the creative process and final look of Gelli printing.  Each print becomes a surface to deconstruct and to juxtapose to other pieces of prints, to gradually form a new entity.  As the thin papers are smoothed over the wood surface, the printed textures fuse and magically become whole.

 

works

 

Each artist made two panels. We exhibited the finished work in the studio, delighting in the variety of work as well as the professional quality of all the pieces. I look forward to offering this workshop again at Studio Talleen and to making a new series of Gelli monotypes on wood panel.

Talleen Hacikyan

Upcoming workshops at Studio Talleen.

Ateliers à venir au Studio Talleen.

Thank you to all participating artists!  Merci à tous les artistes!