The Botany of Blue: Cyanotypes after Anna Atkins

In 1843, botanist and photographer Anna Atkins self-published her first book of cyanotype photograms. The Botany of Blue commemorates Atkins, cited as the first woman photographer, and her scientific (and artistic) cyanotypes.

Cyanotypes are contact prints on light-sensitive paper, bridging photography and printmaking. UV light hitting treated paper triggers a chemical reaction that forms an intense blue dye. After looking at historical examples of cyanotypes and the work of Anna Atkins, students will explore the process through creating their own botanical prints. Working out of doors, students will use sunlight to make images from native flora, flower shop clippings and hand drawn transparencies. No previous experience necessary for this explorative, and playful process.

How to Talk About Your Art

As a visual artist, how do you go about verbalizing your art practice? How do you respond to nice but overwhelming questions like “What do you do?” or “What type of art do you make?” Finding the right way to express your artistic practice is no small feat. Sharing your artistic practice in a way that clarifies, excites and motivates is even more challenging.

While crafting the perfect artist statement is a noble undertaking, this workshop takes a step back to look broadly at how we talk about our work, be it through a residency application, on your own website, during a studio visit, as a vendor at an art festival, or in an elevator (proverbial or actual!). This workshop will focus on how to tell your story – lucidly yet artfully – and funnel your various ideas and artistic approaches into a well-written and easily accessible statement. Through brainstorming, group discussion and individual writing exercises, attendees will be able to develop the framework and draft an elevator pitch and artist statement. As an added bonus, students will be able to stick around after the workshop for a little more personalized feedback on their work-in-progress statement.

If your current artist statement is a jumbled mess of eccentric adjectives or you fumble when asked to describe your art, this workshop is for you!

Presenter Bio:

Margaret Paulson is a storyteller, strategist, and master word tailor with an MA in International Education from Stanford. She’s passionate about and experienced in teaching people and organizations how to tell their stories in clear, confident, and powerful ways. When she’s not teaching, writing, or teaching writing, you can find Margaret learning something new (next up: Mandarin and Krav Maga), practicing power poses, and eating all of the donuts.


Finding Your Audience; Gaining Recognition is a free event kicking of our 2016 Professional Development Series What You Didn’t Learn in Art School:

Part I: Finding your Audience; Gaining Recognition 
Part II: How to Talk About Your Art
Part II: Documenting Your Artwork for Under $100
Part IV: The Start Up: A Beginning Guide to Being Self-Employed
Part V: Contracts for Creatives: How to Protect Yourself and Your Artwork 

Are you a member, but didn’t receive the discount code? Just email us! We’ll confirm your membership is current and send you the code!  

Documenting Your Artwork for Under $100

As a visual artist, the importance of high-quality art documentation cannot be over stated. Join artist and professional photographer, Maureen Cooper, for this hands-on artwork documentation workshop and gain not only a dozen professional slides of your most recent body of work, but the know how to continue documenting your own work in the future.

Participants will work independently and in small groups to take high-quality digital photographs of their artwork. Participants will learn how to use (and where to rent) a professional light kit, plus the best go-to camera settings for either the Spudnik Press digital SLR or their personal camera. Once at a computer, Maureen will share best practices and plenty of handy tips for editing digital slides.

Participants should bring a selection of flat artwork (paintings, drawings and prints) and if possible, a personal camera and/or laptop with Adobe Photoshop. Each participant will be able to document about a dozen artworks.

Presenter Bio:

Helen Maurene Cooper’s photographs focus on fractured storytelling traditions that have resulted from pop culture, which has ultimately distorted location, subjects, and detail. Helen’s other projects explore the geographical, cultural, and socio-political influence on the aesthetics of Chicago nail art.


Finding Your Audience; Gaining Recognition is a free event kicking of our 2016 Professional Development Series What You Didn’t Learn in Art School:

Part I: Finding your Audience; Gaining Recognition 
Part II: How to Talk About Your Art
Part II: Documenting Your Artwork for Under $100
Part IV: The Start Up: A Beginning Guide to Being Self-Employed
Part V: Contracts for Creatives: How to Protect Yourself and Your Artwork 

Are you a member, but didn’t receive the discount code? Just email us! We’ll confirm your membership is current and send you the code!  

Photoshop for Printmakers

Not everyone needs to be a Photoshop expert. With that said, there are many benefits of understanding the software and knowing a few tricks that come in handy as a printmaker. Our one-day workshop will arm even the most “non­techy” person with digital arsenal of skills needed to transform drawings, photographs, and found images into their next great idea.

Through hands-on file editing, students will practice using a variety of Photoshop tools to 1) help plan and visualize multilayer prints and 2) edit files to create crisp darkroom-ready stencils.

For example, students will better understand color modes and when to use each of them (CMYK, Greyscale, Bitmap and Duotone). Students will learn tricks for separating an image into multiple layers and adjusting contrast, levels and curves to create high-contrast black and white images from scanned drawings. Students will learn how to add trapping to their artwork and how to create an on-screen approximation of what their artwork might look like as ink on paper.

Students are encouraged to bring their own computers with Creative Suite. However, a limited number of students may request to use our onsite computers (email staff to confirm availability).

*Please note that this workshop focuses on digital file editing. Students will not be creating prints during the workshop.

The Start Up: A Beginning Guide to Being Self-Employed

At Spudnik Press, we see artists selling their wares online and locally through consignment and wholesale accounts. We see artists seeking illustration, web design and poster design jobs. We see artists submitting proposal for public art projects and teaching opportunities. We see artists doing their best to sell directly to consumers through fairs and festivals.

Artists often don’t have a choice but to be self-employed, yet business planning is rarely part of the art school curriculum. With no right or wrong way to begin a business, the options can be overwhelming. Plus as artists, we are often faced with the additional challenge of reconciling artistic vision with consumerism and creating a viable product.

Luckily, business advisor, Kenny Smilovich, is bringing his years of experience working with artists-turned-entrepreneurs to Spudnik Press Cooperative. This workshop will help artists define the parameters of their business and determine a business model that can work for them. Attendees will learn not only what a Business Plan entails, but how they can make a plan for their business and a road map to get there. This workshop will investigate practical concerns as well as the visionary.

Plus, attendees will learn about a wide variety of services and organizations throughout Chicago that provide resources and programs to help entrepreneurs like you thrive.

Presenter Bio:

Kenny Smilovitch is Director at the JVS Chicago Duman Entrepreneurship Center where he helps aspiring entrepreneurs develop business plans and identify project funding. He has worked with the Arts division of the Government of the Northwest Territories, and at Desrosiers Dance Theatre in Toronto, and is a lecturer in in the department of Arts Administration and Policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Kenny also plays guitar and has received awards from the Canada Council for the Arts and Conseil des arts et des letters du Quebec.


Finding Your Audience; Gaining Recognition is a free event kicking of our 2016 Professional Development Series What You Didn’t Learn in Art School:

Part I: Finding your Audience; Gaining Recognition 
Part II: How to Talk About Your Art
Part II: Documenting Your Artwork for Under $100
Part IV: The Start Up: A Beginning Guide to Being Self-Employed
Part V: Contracts for Creatives: How to Protect Yourself and Your Artwork 

Are you a member, but didn’t receive the discount code? Just email us! We’ll confirm your membership is current and send you the code!  

Wearable Prints: Screenprint Your Own… (August 2016)

Convert your own drawing or design to a collection of hand-printed wearable items in this energetic and informative one-day workshop. Printing an assortment of t-shirts or totebags is practical, fun and incredibly gratifying!

Arriving with a simple black and white drawing, a high-contrast photo, or art designed in Illustrator or Photoshop, students will have time on site to (if needed) refine the artwork to be best suited for screenprinting. Each student will use a pre-coated photographic screen and mix their own custom ink color. Everyone is encouraged to bring about five items of their choosing to print. As long as they are fabric and flat, we can help you print on it! T-shirts, tote bags, tea towels, bandanas, and thrift store jean jackets, will work great. Leave with a sample for an Etsy store, a surprise gift for a friend, or an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags!

Letterpress 201: Daredevil Type

Are you ready for a letterpress challenge? Creating a curved composition is the ultimate letterpress test. Join veteran Spudnik Press Teaching Artist for an afternoon of type setting in the round.

Using a mix of geometry and ingenuity, work with fellow printers to experiment with circular lock-ups and curved lines of type. Get a chance to try out the Daredevil Furniture Kit and make your own curved furniture. Learn how to safely take risks and avoid injury to the smashable lead type and our printing presses.

Contracts for Creatives: How To Protect Yourself and Your Artwork

Managing client relationships is one of the most exciting parts of being an artist and an entrepreneur. Not.

Clarifying sales agreements, negotiating rights, determining payments, and setting overall client expectations are made opaque through the drafting and signing of a contract. This process is rarely fun, but an essential business skill.

Luckily, Shannon Downey has a fresh perspective on how artists can take ownership over the contract writing process and feel great about their professional acumen. Shannon will share her views and her enthusiasm for contracts, and teach attendees approachable and effective methods to avoid confusion and controversy while protecting their art, their time and their intellectual property.

When it comes to a contract, what is overkill? What is the bare minimum? When is it reckless to not have a contract? When do you present a contract? When do you request a contract? What do you do when a contract isn’t followed? These are the types of questions that stress artists when first taking on contract-based work. Attendees will look at contracts for a variety of the situations including sales agreements, commission, art on loan, reserving image rights, contract printing, work for hire and more. Attendees will leave the workshop empowered to craft their own contracts and confidently deliver them to their client.

Presenter Bio:

Shannon Downey is founder of the marketing company, Pivotal Chicago and is adjunct faculty at both Columbia College and DePaul University teaching business, entrepreneurship and marketing. She is the woman behind the blog Seriously Badass Women and is a not-so-secret fiber artist known as Badass Cross Stitch. She is on a never ending crusade for digital/analog balance and massive change.

www.pivotalchicago.com
www.SeriouslyBadassWomen.com
www.BadassCrossStitch.com


Finding Your Audience; Gaining Recognition is a free event kicking of our 2016 Professional Development Series What You Didn’t Learn in Art School:

Part I: Finding your Audience; Gaining Recognition 
Part II: How to Talk About Your Art
Part II: Documenting Your Artwork for Under $100
Part IV: The Start Up: A Beginning Guide to Being Self-Employed
Part V: Contracts for Creatives: How to Protect Yourself and Your Artwork 

Are you a member, but didn’t receive the discount code? Just email us! We’ll confirm your membership is current and send you the code!  

Risography 101 (August 2016)

The Risograph is an automated duplicator from Japan that efficiently produces offset-like photocopies. Though not originally intended for artistic application, the machine has recently gained traction (and notoriety) in small-press culture for its distinct footprint and efficiently as well as being rather finicky.

This workshop will walk students through the fundamentals of Risograph printing for making books and fine art prints, and familiarize students with techniques to best reproduce their imagery. Students will become acquainted with the mechanics of the printer and learn basic maintenance, including how to change the master roll and a drum’s ink tube. Lastly, students will learn how to best design for the Risograph, taking into consideration ink drying time, ink density, paper options, registration, and patience. Everyone will leave with a three-color collaborative print produced throughout the workshop and authorization to continue making Risograph prints at Spudnik Press Cooperative.

Relief Printmaking Refresher

Relief printmaking is a graphic and versatile type of printmaking. This fast-paced refresher class is a great bridge for people familiar with block printing to refresh their technique and become comfortable cranking out prints at Spudnik Press.

The class will revisit the entire process from selecting a material to carve to the proper use of gauges to inking plates and using a press. Each week will review foundational skills while helping students develop a more nuanced understanding of the process and materials.

For those who may seek inspiration and motivation as much as demonstrations, the class will look at lots of prints using a range a carving styles and printing methods. Mini projects will encourage students to experiment with mark making, texture, pattern, color, shape, contrast and materials.

Building off these exercises, students should be ready to begin an independent project that will continue beyond the brief four-week class.

 

Screenprinting Explorations (Sep 2016)

Most people are fans of screenprinting whether they know it or not. Screenprinting is an art form known for its bold graphics and its usefulness. A close cousin of stenciling, screenprinting is easy to learn, yet hard to master. Our eight-week class provides adequate time for new printers to complete a range of projects on paper and fabric, gradually increasing in complexity and nuance. With the ongoing support of a pro to help trouble-shoot along the way, students will be familiar with dark room exposure, mesh count, screen tension, ink consistency, and registration. In addition to developing A+ printing skills, this class will help students develop their imagery, be it hand-drawn illustration or digital files, to work best as a print. By the end of the class, students will know their way around the printshop, and be well equipped to continue printing independently at Spudnik Press Cooperative.

Saturday Morning Illustration Club

How can visual artists tell non-verbal stories? Illustrations can evoke the senses, imply a story, and represent moods and ideas difficult to put to words. Saturday Morning Illustration Club will investigate the role of narrative in illustration by developing “visual vocabularies” and approaches to communicating time, space and perspective in still images.

In addition stretching the ideation phase of illustration, students will work with a variety of art materials to translate their vision to the page. Sketching exercises and class projects will encourage students to hone their drawing and composition skills. Inking exercises will encourage students to experiment with pens, markers, and India ink and how different materials generate distinct styles.

Two final portfolio projects will allow students to bring these skills together: a single-page illustration that communications multiple themes or ideas and a collection of sequential images that work together as a series. Through both, personal style will support the concept to tell a compelling narrative.

Anyone who loves to draw is welcome. So regardless if your art ends up in comics, zines, posters, apparel, stationary, screen prints or your own living room wall, you are bound to benefit.