Posts By: Spudnik Admin

Member Interview Series: Atlan Arceo-Witzl

Atlan Arceo-Witzl is a Mexican-American visual artist and creator whose work is concerned with everyday rituals, icons, symbols, objects, and language. He is a recent graduate of Skidmore College with a BS in Studio Art, concentrating in relief printmaking, sculpture and drawing. He lives outside of Chicago in Oak Park, IL pursuing a career in the arts and enjoying the fascinating human game of communication. He is currently a Studio Fellow at Spudnik Press.

Cat Chen: How did you get into printmaking?

AAW: So my dad went to The School of the Art Institute in the 80’s, and he studied printmaking there. I grew up with printmaking in the house. Our basement had printing press and all the ink, so I was kind of raised with it. In middle school I was exposed to things like linoleum, and then from there I knew I wanted to pursue art in higher education. I started with an intro class, and really kind of dove into it. I got to experiment with lithography, relief, woodcut, and intaglio, just like a good mix of different processes. After a while of trying a bunch of different mediums I think woodcut was the one that stuck the most.

CC: What is it about woodcut that interests you?

AAW: That’s a good question. What I’ve been exploring for the past year and some change has been the quality of the wood block as a storied object. I enjoy how tactile the surface of the woodblock is because things like intaglio are pretty subtle. Screenprint too is something that you can see what’s happening but you can’t touch it and say, “Oh I see this is where something’s going to pick up and print and this is where we’re not touching paper and so nothing’s gonna happen.” There’s a lot of character you can put into a woodblock. Also nothing looks like a woodblock cut! You work with the natural qualities of the material and turn them into whatever you want to get out of it.

CC: I read in your artist statement that your work has to do with “everyday rituals.” Can you talk about what that means?

AAW: When I was working on thesis, I discovered that I enjoy things that are mundane and part of everyday life. There’s a piece I did in my lithography class that was a mug that was kind of being morphed upside down into a reflection of itself.

Jarra Bolteado, aluminium plate lithograph, 2016

And it elicited the most response of any piece I had done in that class and I was like, “What about it is doing that?” When I started to talk to people about it I found that the piece is grounded in the everyday, but elevating it to a level that you can appreciate. It’s also a little bit comical! 

This print is about readymade monuments for things that you use everyday.

Ready Made Monuments, reductive woodcut, 2019

It depicts a clothes pin, a mug, a comb, and a telephone—but not like an iPhone—like an old house phone kind of deal-io. The tactile nature of doing everyday tasks and having a structure to your day often revolves around objects that you use. I carry a comb with me everyday. I think it kind of grounds me. I’m prone to mechanical distraction so having something to do with my hands is very much a thing that I enjoy. That ties back into this idea I really enjoy that’s, “You’re ancient now, the things you do are ancient now.” When you go back to the records of what people did everyday—they used this kettle to cook their meals and they did it in this pot, or they went up these stairs and put that incense there on this altar—in a way that was very normal. 

CC: I know a lot of your work comes from the visual language of Mesoamerican and Indigenous cultures. You also mentioned the United States Post Office as one of the traditions you draw from. What are your personal connections to these traditions?

AAW: The Mesoamerican part of it comes from the house that I grew up living in. My dad is from Mexico, and he and my mom did a lot of traveling around Mexico. My dad worked for what’s now called the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen. So I know my background is half-Mexican and half German-English on my mom’s side. Besides that, I think the visual language of Indigenous peoples is very evocative and is also reflecting things that are happening in the everyday. Using the Postal Service became a funny thing about analog communication in our information era. I think the postal iconography too was something that really struck me. 

CC: What do you mean by that?

AAW: The postal service is a keystone for communication, but is also an organization. I think organizing is a thing that we like to do as humans. “We have this mission and we’re trying to do this,” and then making an image or approach that matches the mission of that group. It’s a really…diverse but quirky practice in a way that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. I think accessibility is an interesting thing for the postal service too, because it allows anyone to send a message to wherever. Nowadays you can do that on your phone, but it’s a relaxing practice to take stock of what you’re trying to say to someone in a tactile form and it shows that you care a little bit more. 

CC: Do you mail things still?

AAW: Yeah, so I started this project a little bit before Spudnik. I heard this phrase at the print studio one day, “What About Yesterday’s Lunch?” I have these moments sometimes where I hear a phrase and I liked the way they sound so I wanna record them. The project became a kind of funny thing but also meant to be a check-in question with friends after school. I did a little booklet to start off with, and I did a little prompt for people to make their own post cards that will be compiled into a booklet. I’m still waiting to see if I get any more responses.

CC: You talked a bit about the text you got from just overhearing things…is that usually how you get an idea for what to put in a work?

AAW: [The artist] Lesley Dill came to visit at Skidmore, and she was talking about how much she records passing ideas. If it’s something you think will be valuable later, you have to write it down in the moment. Because if it’s not important we’re not gonna remember it, and it’s hard to tell what’s important without giving it a chance. I think the way that I process information sometimes comes in these little instances or little phrases of words that get grouped together somewhere. The first print that I did at Spudnik included the phrase, “Out of the blue, on the wings of small events.” I love the idea, because that’s how we live our everyday lives. Things aren’t just magically happening. The phrase itself comes from a Union Pacific Railroads safety video that was meant to prevent injury for railroad workers. It just popped up in the middle of a video I was watching. That’s another silly thing I like to do: just browse through the internet for instructional videos and what used to be considered documentaries.

Out of the Blue, On the Wings of Small Events, letterpress printed woodcut, 2019

CC: Is your process usually hearing the words first and then the image comes after?

AAW: Sometimes they’re kind of co-evolving, and sometimes an image gets punched in my brain. I have a lot of those shower moments where I’m shampooing my hair and I close my eyes for a split second and my brain’s like, “Hey! Look at this picture that I just made up!” and they’re often very vague shapes, geometries, sometimes they’re more explicit. It’s just like a constant filter of going in one ear and bouncing around like a pinball machine in my head and then it comes out the other side. 

CC: I see that you use a lot of disposable, cheap, and easily available materials. Is that a practical thing or is it more of a conceptual choice that ties into your practice or both?

AAW: I think a lot of the times it’s a matter of what’s around because it makes it easier. Once you start stewing in an idea for long enough then you just melt into the possibilities of what could happen. I think it became a way to streamline and also utilize the things that are a part of my everyday or things that I collected because they resonated with me. Lately I like using China markers, but then you have to peel them. Those have started finding their way into being collaged on paper. I started thinking about using refuse but the refuse is also something that you made. Here at Spudnik I printed “Out of the blue, on the wings of small events,” and I made a bunch of them so that I could use them as a collaging material.

A collection of Atlan’s prints, drawings, paintings, and sculptures

CC: I’m curious about your experience as a Spudnik fellow? How long have you been at Spudnik?

AAW: We’re five months in. I think as a printmaker it’s been a fun thing because leaving school I was really looking for a community in the arts. After four years you leave that place and it’s so important to have other creative individuals in proximity to you to bounce ideas off of or to collaborate with. I think being a part of the fellowship here at Spudnik satisfied all those hankerings. Also the professional development that we do has been helpful, as a young artist not necessarily knowing what I should be doing with the thing I love to do everyday. 

CC: Do you have an idea of which direction you want to go?

AAW: I haven’t made any real decisions about what kind of avenue I want to go down. I’m leaning towards proposing shows and working on bodies of work that could potentially be in some kind of space but I’m also interested in collaboration. Tabling at events has been appealing. I’ve been doing an album cover here and there, or event posters. I’ve started volunteering graphic design with Compound Yellow, which is a space in Oak Park that’s artist-run and does cool programming. Art education is something I’m starting to get more into. Here at Spudnik I’ve been helping with the letterpress class on Saturdays and that’s been a really rewarding experience. I’m working with YOUMedia, which is a program through the Chicago Public Library Foundation that’s after-school for tweens and teens. The promise of doing arts education is something that has been looming over my shoulder for a long time because my family is made of educators. 

CC: We’ve been talking a lot about art. What do you do when you’re not making art?

AAW: I like to listen to music. I like to make music. I play the drums. I used to play the euphonium, which is a miniature tuba, in elementary and middle school. I have a bunch of various instruments. The collaborative portion of music making really caught my attention but also the act of creating is something that I gravitate towards. I dunno…I like to make things…that’s like, the thing. *laughs* I’ve been trying to get out to nature more. I want to do more sightseeing and investigating the communities of Chicago. That’s another thing, just exploring the community that I’m now back in and reengaging it in a new way. I guess that’s not really a hobby…

CC: It’s a thing to do!

AAW: *laughs* I like to go places, sometimes.

CC: Last question: if people want to see more of your work, where should they go?

AAW: They can go to my website, Instagram, and Facebook.

Noah Breuer: CB&S Werkstätte | Opening Reception & Artist Demonstration

Featured Artist:

Noah Breuer

Dates:

6/7/2019-7/27/2019

Location:

Annex of Spudnik Press Cooperative, 1821 West Hubbard, Chicago IL 60622

Corresponding Events:

Noah Breuer: CB&S Werkstätte | Opening Reception & Artist Demonstration

June 7, 2019 6:00 – 9:00pm

Press Release:

In his first Chicago solo exhibition, Noah Breuer presents prints and fabric wall hangings from his ongoing project that examines the visual legacy of “Carl Breuer and Sons” (CB&S), his Jewish family’s former textile printing business in Bohemia. The exhibition’s title, CB&S Werkstätte is a nod to the now-defunct family business that began in 1897 and was forcibly sold to Nazi-approved owners in 1942. Breuer acquired a rich digital collection of original CB&S designs and fabric samples during a 2016 research trip to the Czech Textile Museum and has used these images as the primary source material for his current work.  The exhibition features recent laser-engraved woodblock prints, large cyanotypes on cotton and an accompanying risograph-printed artist book published by Spudnik Press.   

In conjunction with the opening, Breuer will facilitate a demonstration that will allow exhibition attendees to use the laser-engraved surfaces of custom-built table-tops to make wax rubbings.  Attendees may collaborate with the artist and produce new artworks inspired by the CB&S factory designs.  The table-tops will be displayed and made available for use through the duration of the exhibition. 

About the artist:  Noah Breuer is an American artist and printmaker.  He holds a BFA in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design, and an MFA in Visual Art from Columbia University. Breuer additionally earned a graduate research certificate in traditional woodblock printmaking and paper-making from Kyoto Seika University in Japan. Solo exhibitions include Spudnik Press Cooperative, Chicago, IL, Left Field Gallery, San Luis Obispo, CA, SPACE Gallery, Portland ME, and Zughaus Gallery in Berkeley, CA. He has attended residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Ox-Bow, Kala Art Institute, Hotel Pupik, Grin City and the University of Oregon. His artist books have been published by the San Francisco Center for the Book as well as Small Editions in Brooklyn, New York. His work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Victoria & Albert Museum.  Currently, Breuer works as an Assistant Professor at Auburn University. 

Image:  Hops, 2018, woodcut, 22″ x 15”

 

Call for 2019 Exhibition Committee Members

Spudnik Press Members: Open Call to Join the 2019 Exhibition Committee

The Spudnik Press Exhibitions Committee is member-driven and provides a platform for our members to take the lead in the curatorial process for all Spudnik Press Exhibitions. Only in its fourth year, the Exhibitions Committee is a constantly evolving committee composed of members who are committed to advancing exhibitions at Spudnik Press Cooperative. It acts as a steering committee for all Exhibitions-related opportunities, assists with execution of all components of the Exhibitions Program and, to the extent of its ability, acts as an advocate for exhibitions within and beyond Spudnik Press.

More specifically, the committee reviews all exhibition proposals, selecting which proposals will be offered as part of the annual Exhibition Calendar, and contributes to the development of additional programs offered in conjunction with each show, such as artist talks, workshops and opportunities for our members. Each year the committee coordinates the Annual Member Exhibition, bringing energy and innovation to this group exhibition opportunity. In addition, committee members have the opportunity to develop an additional exhibition of their choosing, which could take the form of an invitational exhibition, bringing a traveling exhibition to our gallery, or jurying a thematic exhibition.

The Exhibitions Committee is fully backed by Spudnik Press staff who lead meetings, manages all exhibitions, handles budgets, etc. Committee members are asked to volunteer with various stages of each exhibition, including installation, photography and event assistance, approximately 6-8 hours per year.

By joining the committee, members are committing to a one-year positions with the option to renew each calendar year.

2019 Meeting Dates:
• May 22, 2019
• July 24, 2019
• October 23, 2019
• December 18, 2019

**all meetings begin at 6:00 PM

Requirements:
• Must maintain a current membership at Spudnik Press Cooperative throughout 2019.
• Must be able to commit to attending the majority of quarterly Exhibitions Committee Meetings.
• Strongly encouraged to volunteer for 6-8 hours in the production of exhibition programs. Members can select volunteer activities that best suit their skills, interests and availability.

To Apply:
• Email susannah@spudnikpress.org with the subject “Exhibition Committee”.
• Please include your name and phone number.
• The exhibition committee is first come, first serve. If response exceeds our capacity, a wait list will be formed.

Member Interview: Emma Punch

Emma Punch is a multimedia artist from Richmond, Virginia living in Chicago. She is currently attaining her BFA in Studio art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work is largely based in print and animation, however she has recently been exploring paper making and pulp painting.

Kaelyn Becker: Let’s start with what you do. Could you give me an overview of your practice?

Emma Punch: I started at SAIC in painting, then I became more interested in sculpture. I’m drawn to representational and narrative works, and started making comics. I ended up in a comics class on accident but ended up really enjoying it. From there I was making a lot of comics, printmaking, and animation. This semester I’m in a papermaking class.

‘Untitled’, Paper Pulp, Fruit Net, Thread, 2019

KB: Yeah, your work covers a lot of ground with animation, drawing, printing and sculpture. Do you think those mediums influence the way you work? For example, do you think about the way animation or print will affect your drawings as you’re making them?

EP: I feel like a lot of the prints that I do on the risograph machine are just doodles I have in my sketchbook that I photoshop together into something. I really like instant gratification. I don’t think about much, and it’s a lot more of just making. If I think I’ll get too into my head I won’t do it. For a lot of sculptures I make, people have told me that they look just like something that I would draw. I guess they are-they’re just three dimensional.

KB: Do you prefer certain mediums over others?

EP: I really like the risograph machine because I like multiples. Like I said, I like the instant gratification, but I’m in a drawing class right now with Gladys Nilsson which is very cool. I like drawing a lot because it’s just immediate and it’s done, and I can just have it.

KB: Your work is very whimsical and playful. Is there anything that you’re trying to communicate with that or is it just an aesthetic choice?

EP: I think I just want people to enjoy looking at them, so I think that plays into it. You’re the third person who’s told me that recently-Gladys Nilsson also told me that.

KB: It’s true though! You have a lot of characters and faces. For example, you’ll put a face on a mountain and it makes your work come off as very fun and lighthearted.

EP: I think that’s aesthetic that I’ve kind of fallen into, I like it and so I keep doing it.

KB: Everything you make is really colorful as well. Do you tend to gravitate towards certain color palettes or do you like to experiment with colors?

EP: I do have favorite colors. My favorite color is pink, if you go on my website it’s all pink. It’s like a default color. I think it’s beginning to be a really popular color, especially with the risograph. People love the hot pink on the risograph machine. And then I like greens and blues too.

KB: I love the zine you made with the flowers on the cover, the leaves and the hot pink. (‘Love Flower’ – 2018)

EP: Yeah thanks!

‘Love Flower’ , Risograph, 2018

KB: And then, the music video that you just did for The Slaps, that was great! Do you find it difficult to find commission work as a student?

EP: I actually approached them. They’re my friends and I said, “Let me make this for you!” And then from that I’ve had more friends in bands who have asked if I can make an animated video for them as well. And I’ve gotten Instagram commissions, but I don’t take a lot of them because animation is hard to be paid for because it’s so much more work and everyone that’s our age has no money, so I would just be underpaid for the amount of work I’m doing. But my mom told me I can’t put a price on exposure.

Still from ‘Song For a Friend’ by The Slaps – animated and edited by Emma Punch, 2019

KB: In the same light, is it hard to balance work you do outside of school with your practice within school? Or do you find that they tend to correlate with each other?

EP: Last semester I tried to make that video for The Slaps my final project for my animation class, and my teacher wouldn’t let me. At one point in time I was working on about three different animations which was wild, and I can’t believe I did that. I feel like the ideas in them really go together. For commissions I always tell people it’s going to take me a lot of time because school is my priority right now.

KB: Do you see your work as going more in the direction of exhibition spaces or distribution?

EP: I do like galleries, I just took SAIC’s study trip in New York about Art and Criticism. Most of what we did was go to galleries and do studio visits. We got to meet with a lot of the curators. It was an awesome opportunity.  Also, I worked in SAIC’s Sullivan Gallery, so I do think about how I would present my work in that context a lot. I don’t know, I like both of them and hopefully I don’t have to choose. I think that as a job once I graduate I’d like to be in animation for a career, so it wouldn’t have to be either.

‘Untitled’ , Paper Pulp, Fruit Net, Thread, 2019

KB: I was going to ask; do you think you have to pick between the two or do you think that you
can do both?

EP: I think I can do both.

KB: Especially with your work, I mean having sculpture which is conventionally thought of as
more of an “exhibition space” medium.

EP: Yeah, I’ve been talking with different groups of people about doing shows together, and applying for
things. So maybe!

KB: Have you participated or are you interested in participating in local zine fests like the
Chicago Artist Books Fair?

EP: I did volunteer at the Chicago Artist Books Fair, and when you volunteer they let you put some work
in the show. I sold out of the Love, Flower comics I brought! I only brought five or six, but it’s still a really
nice feeling to know people enjoy what you make enough to bu it.

KB: Since you just finished up that music video I want to ask, is there any music that’s been
inspiring you recently?

EP: Yes! I was listening to this song on repeat the whole way here, it’s called Full Circle by The Pom-
Poms.

‘Diary Entry #37’ , Risograph, 2018

If you would like to learn more about Emma and stay up-to-date with her artistic pursuits, you can follow her instagram  @officialembutt or check out her website www.emmapunch.online.

 

Member Interview: Alexandra Antoine

Alexandra Antoine is a Haitian-American artist and educator based out of Chicago. She received a degree in art and art education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014. Her work focuses on her Haitian-American identity, which she investigates through language, memory, portraiture, and archival practices. Recently, she has been incorporating Haitian sequins and beadwork into portraitures as a way of holding onto and continuing an art form that is native to her culture. We invited her to Spudnik Press to share more with us about herself and her work.

M Kellman: Can you introduce your artistic practice? What kinds of things are you interested in?

Alexandra Antoine: I am primarily a printer and a painter. I love screen printing and lithography. Fell in love with lithography first time I did it. I’ve always been a painter. While I was at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) I figured out my style of painting. Recently I’ve been incorporating painting along with Haitian beadwork. I like seeing progression, from a beginning stage, middle stage, to the end. It keeps me excited.

I also work on two or three things at a time, so I can swap through different things and then I don’t finish anything too fast. I’ve noticed that in the past few years I really like slow processes.

MK: Are you from Chicago originally?

AA: No, I’m originally from Miami, stayed there till I was 11, then moved to Orlando. I have family all up and down the east coast of Florida. My parents are Haitian, so that’s what lead my parents to go to Florida. I love Chicago! I finished undergrad at SAIC, only planned on staying a year, but then I started meeting other artists, I started teaching and chilling out with the students, and I’m still here in 2019.

MK: Do you think you’d want to end up back in Miami or Orlando?

AA: You know, I thought about it. A lot of my inspiration comes from my culture—when I’m in Haiti, when I’m around family, when I’m listening to family talk. Now, Chicago has a Haitian community but it’s not as tight as New York and Miami cuz those are two hubs where it’s Little Haiti central. Sometimes it gets hard being here, which is why I’ll go see my family in New York often—it’s the closest if I can’t get to Florida. I need to be around the food, around the language—something about being in it helps the gears move.

MK: I notice you incorporate a lot of traditional practices into your work. Can you talk about how you learn these?

AA: I’m really into working with other artisans. Outside of my studio I like to find artists who do things that I wanna learn and learn from them.

When I was in Haiti, one of my friends sat with me and taught me Haitian beadwork. And now I’m working on a piece that’s super big. It’s taking weeks, but I love the process.

And back in 2010-2011 I went to Mali, West Africa, to learn traditional sculpture. It was just me and my teacher  from like 7am to like 8 at night, just hackin’ at wood. I love this because it’s a thing he inherits through his family line. There’s not a syllabus. It’s just “Watch what I do, and you do it”. I love learning like this. The classroom is nice but when you get this one on one, right next to somebody, I like this.

A portrait of a young black girl looking to the left. Traditional Haitian beadwork and sequins decorate the girl's hair.

MK: How do you decide which skills you want to learn?

AA: It’s about reconnecting with my culture. I like to choose places within the African Diaspora in art forms that are valuable but a lot of young people aren’t running to learn it. So like my teacher in Mali, if his granddaughter doesn’t want to learn it and he passes, that’s it. Or in Haiti, some of these skills I’m seeing, a lot of older people are doing it, but when you’re gone then who takes it over? I wanna keep these things that could potentially be lost because people migrate or move around.

MK: In addition to your studio art degree, you have a degree in Art Education. Do you teach?

AA: Yes! I’m all about sharing what you know, especially when it comes to African American communities. I was teaching visual arts full time in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) when I got out of school. It’s fun introducing the students to new skills, but what I found was interesting was, when I was in Art Ed and we would go visit schools, I think I maybe saw one black art teacher, if any. And the schools that were all black usually had a white art teacher. African Americans have had a huge contribution to art but none of the students saw teaching art as a career path. I wanted to teach in an all black or predominantly black school because they gotta see that art is a career they can do. And of course when I walk in it was like, “You’re the art teacher?”.

MK: So I imagine you’re not very interested in the traditional Eurocentric art history and art education curriculum, right?

AA: Oh yeah, and that’s where the struggle was. It seems like the way Art Ed is set up in CPS is, “We want you to teach X Y and Z”. But that’s not how artists work. All artists don’t want to just do this one thing this certain way. I took art history in college and it was great learning about da Vinci and Europe and all them, but… We didn’t touch Asia, South America, nothing. And I’m not saying da Vinci and all are not great artists, but what about Faith Ringgold, or Carrie Mae Weems? What about them?

So when I was teaching, I was like, “Let’s get down on the floor”. If an artist was squatting when they do this work, let’s all squat. If they were only using their hands, let’s just use our hands, no paintbrushes, no pencils. Was it what the principal wanted me to teach? Not really. But this is how artists think about the world. We’re not here just to pump out a perfect assignment.

MK: I saw you did some work with Cook County Jail and a juvenile detention center. Does that fit your practice better than CPS?

AA: It does. Right now I’m teaching visual arts with Free Write Arts & Literacy. I came in with the same philosophy—I’m not gonna just teach the fundamentals of shading. There’s so much that the students I work with have experienced, they all come from various communities in Chicago that have their own unique aspects. We can’t just be talking about how to shade. We have to be talking about things that are relevant. And I tell my students, even if you don’t become an artist, this is a way to look at the world differently instead of how you’ve been told to look at the world.

A group of women gather in a secret back room in a bookstore to discuss their protest plans. A mural depicting famous African American women covers the walls of the room.

A screen capture from Chi-Raq (2015, dir. Spike Lee). Antoine’s mural can be seen on both walls. Copyright: Amazon Studios, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks.

MK: So, a little fangirl momentChi-Raq? You painted the mural in the bookstore scene with Angela Bassett. So cool! How did you get that job?

AA: In 2013 I was in a group show at Roman Susan gallery. Then maybe 5, 6 months after the show—I’m teaching at CPS at this point—I get an email from the art director of Spike Lee’s new movie like “Can you come down to the studio and talk about your work?”. So I went down to the space and they told me the concept and gave me some subject matter and said, these are the women we want you to focus on painting. They had me on the set of the bookstore. I was there maybe a month or a couple weeks before they would transform it. The art director let me come on set the day they were shooting in my space. I told my friends—where Angela Bassett takes them into a secret room, all of that is mine.

As an artist, you never know who’s gonna see your work and what that’s gonna lead to. My aim is not always, somebody needs to buy this. You just never know where somebody might see your work.

MK: Did you like the public art aspect of working on the movie?

AA: Yes. It was fun doing that. It was a good experience. I do like it when my work can be accessible to more people than just the art world or just gallery openings and exhibitions. Especially since I work with young people, I want y’all to see there are other ways of being artists. You don’t just have to be in the MCA or the Art Institute. Those are great, but look at your whole community.

MK: Do you have any other instances of showing your work outside a gallery setting?

AA: Yeah, similar to with Chi-Raq—maybe early last year, someone from the Haitian Embassy contacted me and said, “We saw your work at Ghetto Biennale in Haiti and wanted to know if you were interested in a group show at the Embassy in Port-au-Prince as part of the Art in Embassies Program?” Now mind you, I had the Art in Embassies photo on my vision board for the past two years, so when they called I was like, “You don’t have to tell me twice!”. There’s this idea that when people leave Haiti they don’t come back. But I want people to see that us younger Haitian Americans, we always love coming back here.

MK: Any projects on the horizon? Future directions?

AA: This summer I plan to go to Benin. Most Haitians came from Benin, the Congo, Togo, and some parts of Central Africa. There’s an arts and cultural organization in Benin that works with young people, so this summer I’m going to work with them.

In Haiti, people know we come from West Africa—but, with the way enslavement happened, there may be people, especially some of the younger people in West Africa who may not understand how Haiti plays a part in our shared history. I really wanna build relationships with some young folks there, make connections and see what comes out of that.

MK: Could you show me some of your work?

AA: A lot of the people in my work are people I know—either family members, friends, people I met through my travels, but we’ve always had conversations. That’s important for me because I’m showing Haitian culture the way I see it, so I want it to be authentic. To me it’s important to have that relationship, especially if you’re gonna be showing somebody’s image everywhere.

A print of a face in reds and oranges. The man has three lines scarred on each cheek.

Language, symbols, nonverbal communication, that’s real big in my work. For a while, I was really into scarification practices, because that’s a way of identifying somebody, being a part of a community. When I was in West Africa, my teacher had these three lines—that’s the Bambara tribe. So I was into showing them with these prints.

This piece is looking at the architecture in Haiti. Whenever I go to Haiti I look at the tower work, the way the houses are structured, the window sections. The window is sculpted out of the cement—all these different shapes. I find that really interesting because you don’t see these a lot everywhere. This is a distinct style.

A lithograph print showing architecture in Haiti.

MK: Do you have a favorite piece?

AA: I have to say this one, because it’s all the elements I love in one. This piece is a lithograph. It’s incorporating my face with a well known sculpture from Benin, the Bronze Head of Queen Idia. I also tied in Haiti—I put the mountains in there, I put the women holding the baskets, abstract, on the head, I put the architecture of the houses in there. I’m always finding a way to layer in a little bit of Haitian culture.

A lithograph of a face made of abstract designs and details showing different aspects of Haitian culture.

MK: Do you have any upcoming shows? If someone wanted to see more of your work, where should they go?

AA: I will be showing some new work at my friend’s event on the 15th of March at Stage Two in Columbia. She has a collective called Synergy, and they’re doing an album release party. It’s an all women hip hop album that she produced. I’m excited about that because, again, I get to show work outside the gallery. The way people talk and the conversations you get to have are different when you’re in different spaces.

And there’s another show in New York at Flux Factory. One of my friends is doing a show for Women’s History Month, for black and brown women. I love artists supporting each other. I’m always down for that.

MK: Is there anything you want to try that you haven’t?

AA: I want to try letterpress, which surprisingly is the one printing technique I haven’t learned. I love words. Why haven’t I tried this? I visited Purgatory Pie Press, a letterpress studio in New York, that does artists’ books, so I was like “collaboration?” and the owners were all for it. I’m really excited. I’ve got a lot of directions, but they all connect in some way.

Chicago Print Crawl 2019: Call For Print Venues, Artist Studios, & Galleries

Registration Deadline: March 10

The Chicago Print Crawl is a self-guided tour of printmaking production, publishing, exhibition and sales venues throughout the City of Chicago, organized by Spudnik Press Cooperative.

The Chicago printmaking scene encompasses a wide range of processes and purposes and supports a huge network of artists and designers. From traditional stone lithography to screenprinted gig posters to letterpress stationary, from private art studios, to collectives, to galleries and retail venues, The Chicago Print Crawl includes an eclectic mix of one-of-a-kind spaces.

The Chicago Print Crawl is now registering venues and studios interested in participating!

The 2019 event will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2019 from 11 am-5 pm.

Eligible venues include:
• Artist’s studios engaged in on site printmaking
• Nonprofit printmaking shops, exhibition spaces or galleries showing prints
• Commercial printmaking shops, preferably also engaged in fine art production
• Commercial galleries or other for profit spaces exhibiting and selling prints.

For more information and registration, visit The Chicago Print Crawl website.

New Authorization Schedule In 2019

In our efforts to make Spudnik Press increasingly accessible, we’ve made some changes to the authorization process to introduce new artists and makers to our organization and facilities. As always, anyone interested in simply checking out the space is welcome to stop in and take a look around during any of our business hours or open studio sessions.

If you are an experienced printer looking to use our facilities, we ask that you attend an Authorization Session.

Authorization sessions include:

  • General Studio Tour
  • Overview of our programs that provide ongoing support to artists and makers
  • Discussion of prior printing experiences to determine if minimum requirements for authorization are met
  • Brief operational and safety demonstration on equipment and processes specific to the needs of the attendees

Once authorized, artists can take advantage of Open Studio or other Studio Access Programs. Artists may stay and print immediately upon completion of authorization. However, we recommend getting authorized well in advance of any project deadlines.

NEW 2019 Authorization Schedule:

Mondays: 7:00pm sharp
Fridays: 1:00pm sharp

You are welcome to drop in for authorization sessions, but it’s helpful if you RSVP to let us know that you are coming and what process(es) you want to be authorized for. Just email info@spudnikpress.org or call 312-563-0302.

Letterpress Authorizations requires scheduling a hands-on printing session with a Teaching Artist. This 3-hour session costs $125. Email info@spudnikpress.org to schedule an authorization.This requirement can occasionally be waived by providing a reference who can speak to the qualifications of the printer.

Hope to see you soon!

Chicago Print Crawl Spudnik Member Art Market

Sunday, June 24
12pm – 8pm

$12 Full Table
$8 Half Table

This opportunity is for members of Spudnik Press only. If you are not currently a member please join or renew prior to signing up.

Members! This summer we are very excited to be organizing a super fun all Chicago event, the Chicago Print Crawl. The crawl part includes a self-guided tour of printmaking production, publishing, exhibition and sales venues throughout the City of Chicago. We’ve already got more than a dozen stops on the tour. Naturally, Spudnik is one of them.

The Chicago Print Crawl takes place Sunday, June 24, 2018 from 12-6 pm with an after party for all the venues and participants from 6-8pm.

The Spudnik stop will include shop tours, print activities, and a parking lot party with music, food, and cold beverages. Most importantly though, is the opportunity for you to show and sell your work.  The art market portion of the event (and After Party) will be located at the beautiful new Low Res Studios on the first floor. Air-conditioned and no worries if the weather is crappy. We look forward to highlighting the member participants as we promote the event.

The fee covers the cost of a table and a chair. Artist are responsible for their own signage, sales, packaging, etc. If you want to bring a friend to work the table with you, you’ll want to bring that second seat.

To Participate:

  1. Pay the full table or half table fee online. Spaces are first come, firs serve.
  2. Send us your links and handles: Send us an email with your website and social media handles.
  3. Look for an email with more details about how to help promote the event.

Save the Date: Chicago Print Crawl

This year, we are very excited to introduce a fun new summer event (drum roll) the Chicago Print Crawl! The Chicago Print Crawl is self-guided tour of printmaking production, publishing, exhibition and sales venues throughout the city of Chicago.

Sunday, June 24

12-6pm, 6-8pm after party

Naturally, Spudnik will rock our spot from the parking lot to the third floor with a food trucks, cold beverages, a member market, shop tours and print activities. Escape the heat at Low Res Studios at 6pm, when the member market turns after party!

Details to come, stay tuned!

Behind the Chili Interview Series: Candor Arts

Candor (pronounced kan-der) is the quality of being open and honest. Candor Arts publishes books about life, learning and healing. Operating on the basis of open and honest communication, the efforts of the organization are rooted in the support of its affiliated authors and collaborators. Specializing in handmade artist book editions, Candor Arts produces a range of design and print projects driven by each artist’s vision.

As a returning chef, we asked Matt Austin if he’d share a little more about their work and, of course, their thoughts on chili.

SP: Candor Arts always seems to be experimenting with economic models that are pushing a more equitable agenda. Was this emphasis on a alternative funding models with a bit of a moral overtone part of the plan from the beginning or something that has evolved out of need or trial and error?

CA: It has certainly been an evolution—I see any current existence of ours as a response to the circumstances we exist within, as well as a culmination of our learning through experience operating as a small institution. I think our model has been built partly in necessity to sustain our work without being so vulnerable to abrupt losses of support, like inconsistent/unlikely grant opportunities or the uncertainty of finding individual donors, and partly in observing the overall lack of financial support and equity for artists in America.

SP: Where did you get your mad bookbinding skills?

CA: A guy named Sage Reynolds on YouTube. He is an excellent teacher, gentle man, and does not require student loans to learn. 😉

SP: Do you have a favorite style of bookbinding? If so, why?

CA: Not necessarily a favorite style, but I think my favorite thing to make is complicated clamshell boxes. I think there’s some kind of madness to it, like you might mess this whole thing up in one small mistake over the course of hundreds of moves made to put it all together.

SP: What book(s) are you reading right now?

CA: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, Five Fifths by Growing Concerns Poetry Collective, 11 poems for addicts/normal people by Justin Nalley.

SP: Can you tell us a little about your newish studio space?

CA: Yes! We have a nice nook in west Logan Square (3520 W Armitage) where we do much of our in-house bookbinding, foil stamping, and some digital printing. We share the space with talented awesome artists April Sheridan, Daniel Mellis, and the boys of Ghost Press: Ryan Troy Ford, Cooper Foszcz, and Josh Davis.

SP: What is the key to great chili?

CA: Consistency.

SP: Name something people should not put in chili, but do all too often.

CA: Too much heat.

SP: Who is one person, living or dead you would have over for chili and why?

CA: Gerhard Steidl, so we can critique the chili in our lab coats.

SP: Do you have a favorite chili story?

CA: True confession: I don’t think anyone will ever top the legacy of Cowboy Mustang Jane’s Flamin’ Hot Freedom Chili from the 2015 Hashbrown Cook-Off, but we will continue to try.

The Hashbrown Show Down:
Spudnik’s Rootin Tootin’ Fair & Chili Cook-Off

Saturday, February 24, 2018
5:00 pm

Reserve Your Tickets

 

Behind The Chili Interview Series: Fata Morgana Press

What exactly is fata morgana? Simply put, it’s a mirage. More specifically,  it’s an unusual and complex form of mirage that is seen in a narrow band right above the horizon. These rapidly changing mirages significantly distort the object(s) which they are based on. Often times making the object completely unrecognizable.

Fata Morgana Press is the studio of Mary Clare Butler and Amy Leners. They embrace all forms of craft from the traditional to the experimental. This interdisciplinary practice allows Mary Clare and Amy to constantly shift their approach to traditional craft, making the outcomes unique and unexpected.

Come February 24, Fata Morgana Press will present their manipulation of vegetarian chili for our consumption at The Hashbrown Showdow: Spudnik’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Fair & Chili Cook Off! Or will it just appear to be vegetarian chili?

Read on to learn more about Fata Morgana Press in the second installment of our pre-Hashbrown interview series:

Spudnik Press: How did Fata Morgana come to be? What does Fata Morgana do?

Fata Morgana: Fata Morgana began when Mary Clare and Amy were finishing grad school at Columbia. While working in the papermaker’s garden together, they began to plan a future studio. When they saw the press listed for sale in Chicago, they jumped at the opportunity. Luckily and they were able to rent space in the Chicago Sustainable Manufacturing Center alongside bike frame builders, woodworkers, puppet makers and other craftspeople. Since then, they’ve collaborated on papermaking and bookbinding workshops, broadsides, music packaging, and posters, in addition to producing their own work. Last year, Angela Davis Fegan joined the studio, where she prints the Lavendar Menace Poster Project and maintains an active studio practice.

SP: Where did the name come from?

FM: MC was reading The Yiddish Policemen’s Union when they were trying to think of names for the new venture and the phrase just kind of leapt out. Upon further investigation, the two discovered it was the term for a complex mirage named after an sorceress who used witchcraft to lure sailors to their deaths. They decided it was a fitting name for a studio run by women with an experimental approach to traditional craft.

SP: You’re a returning chef and you competed in our Printing Dash competitions over the summer. Do either of you play competative sports? Or strategy games? 

FM: Hell no. Unless bowling counts. We just take chili very seriously.

SP: Last year’s chili was quite delicious. Will you be working from the same recipe or trying something new? 

FM: We received some secret chiles from a friend so we’re working on a new recipe that incorporates those!

SP: What is the Chicago People’s Library?

FM: Right around the time Amy and Mary Clare were starting the studio, they met Courtney Bowles and Mark Strandquist; their People’s Library Project was featured in the Social Paper show curated by Jessica Cochran and Melissa Potter. While making paper from deaccessioned library books at the show, they got to talking to Sulzer Regional Library’s local history librarian, Julie Lynch. With Courtney and Mark’s blessing, they started a Chicago chapter of the People’s Library. They’ve held ten-ish workshops at the Sulzer and South Chicago branches of the Chicago Public Library, as well as the Chi Teen Lit Fest, where participants made paper, bound books, and recorded their experiences and memories of Chicago. The books were displayed at Sulzer with plans to circulate across the city.

SP: Many thanks Mary Clare and Amy! See ya at the Show Down! 

The Hashbrown Show Down:
Spudnik’s Rootin Tootin’ Fair & Chili Cook-Off

Saturday, February 24, 2018
5:00 pm

Reserve Your Tickets

 

Behind The Chili Interview Series: Barrel Maker Printing

As we gear up for the Hashbrown Showdown on Saturday, February 24, we are excited to introduce a few of our featured chefs in a series of interviews. First up: Barrel Maker Printing!

All the cool kids screen print their own t-shirts. If, for some reason, that’s not possible the cool kids get their shirts printed at Barrel Maker. Just glance at their Instagram feed (@barrelmakerprinting) and you will know it’s true.

The folks at Barrel Maker are some of the coolest and most creative that we’ve known in the world of Chicago screen printing. Even though their presses are now based in Elk Grove, they keep a foot in Chi with a remote office in Logan Square.

We asked Zach Corn, VP of Sales, a few questions to acquaint those that have not met Barrel Maker. While we can speak to their caliber of awesome, you’ll have to come out to The Hashbrown Showdown to gauge the caliber of their chili.

SP: Where did the name Barrel Maker Screenprinting come from?

ZC: The Owners’ first kid was named Cooper, named after Agent Cooper from Twin Peaks. Since a Cooper is someone who makes Barrels, they figured it would be a cool Ode to Cooper.

SP: Who will be the lead chili chef? How did they earn that honor?

ZC: I’m actually going to be the lead Chef on this journey. My wife and I have a few chili swaps every year and it isn’t a huge departure for me to make some chili and sling it to some friends.

SP: What is the craziest or weirdest event that you’ve done live screen printing at?

ZC: Lollapalooza was pretty crazy just with the amount of people there and the format. We also did one at an opening event for a climbing gym. People really enjoy seeing printing happening. You can easily take the process for granted when you see it every day.

SP: Do you have a pet peeve regarding file prep? If you could give one tip to our artists about how to better prepare their file for printing, what would it be?

ZC: I don’t like when files are Untitled.xxx. Just call it something. And keeping everything on one artboard and not giving just the art that is needed. If the preview is of something we aren’t even printing, it could be cleaner. In the end though I’m usually just happy people are working with us.

SP: Thanks Zach! And for you cool kids that print your own shirts, check out Barrel Maker’s line of eco-social-friendly apparel, Allmade.

The Hashbrown Show Down:
Spudnik’s Rootin Tootin’ Fair & Chili Cook-Off

Saturday, February 24, 2018
5:00 pm

Reserve Your Tickets