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The Unknown

30 x 22 inches.


Monoprint using Lithographic Offset Press


Rives BFK Paper




Monoprint 1/1

(This print is one of a kind)


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This piece is part of a suite of works developed in the winter of 2012 when I was an artist in residence at Montreal's Atelier Circulaire, working closely with master printmaker Carlos Calado. Those two weeks in Montreal were painfully cold and the I had never been to a French-speaking city. With no access to my cell phone and no friends in the immediate area, I worked in the studio day and night.


Calado pushed me outside of my comfort zone, encouraging me to experiment with a limited color palette in a larger format than I was accustomed to. It was the first time I had printed monotypes on a lithographic offset machine and in those two weeks, I learned to relinquish control, unable to anticipate the outcome of each print. 


The process of printmaking on a lithographic offset press requires layering inks and textures on a metal plate while the rollers gradually apply layers of oil-based ink onto the paper. 


In this print suite, I experimented with different brayer sizes and brushes, sometimes cutting off the ends of thick brushes for a blunt effect. I also experimented with the application and viscosity of the ink, covering the full surface of the plate and wiping it away with rags, creating fingerprinting-like swipes. By extracting ink instead of rolling it, I was forced to create shapes within  in negative space.


Moving away from my usual color palette of yellows, oranges, and reds, I limited myself to yellow, green, and black. My goal was to better understand layering and to adjust the chemistry of the inks to manipulate their transparency. Printmaking with repetitive layering and paper stencils enabled me to gradually create depth in each piece. Hand-cut newsprint paper stencils are used in the suite of works, creating the conflicting sense of composed chaos, with pristine figures surrounded by swirling disarray.


In this print, "The Unknown," I drew upon street culture and depicted a cholo standing on one of the many street corners in my neighborhood.

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