Fine print in the making

Get a visual understanding of printmaking at an open-for-all workshop conducted by eminent artists from across the country at the National Printmaking Workshop.

Published: 09th May 2018 05:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th May 2018 05:50 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Get a visual understanding of printmaking at an open-for-all workshop conducted by eminent artists from across the country at the National Printmaking Workshop. The printmaking workshop, organised by RMZ Foundation, which is on till May 10, will incorporate three developments and explore hands-on processes in woodcut, etching and new media prints. The final prints of the artists will be on display on May 10 from 5 to 8 pm at The Gallery, The Bay, Campus 8, RMZ Ecoworld, Outer Ring Road.In a conversation with Akhila Damodaran, artists talk about their journey as printmakers. Excerpts:

I got into art by chance: Champa Sharath

Champa Sharath is one of the few city-based women printmakers. Her work with overpowering female figures are tinged with a feminist philosophy. The bold young women, often dressed in western outfits portray a world of their own that speak about their power, dreams, desires, and independent existences.

What's your technique of work?

My current favourite is woodcut printing.

What are the challenges you face?

Being a mother of two, balancing work and personal life.

Do you work on other media?

I enjoy doing water colours.

Why printmaking?

The abundant scope for technical possibilities.

How did you get into art?

Just by chance. After class 10, a random suggestion by my mum’s close friend led me

discover art.

What's unique about your current printmaking process?

I'm now working on woodcut prints. What’s unique about it is, it's boldness.


Sometimes, failing can be exciting: Walter D’Souza

Being a printmaker Walter has always enjoyed the process of experimenting with the matrix surface, be it scratching the wood block or etching lines on a zinc plate. He even defies the conventional practice of making editions of prints. He often works directly on the plywood or wooden planks and juxtaposes them to create a sculptural object. After completing MFA in Printmaking, he joined Kanoria Centre for Arts in 1984 and soon established a printmaking studio there which later thrived as an important space of cultural and intellectual sharing.

What’s your technique of work?

I sketch a lot and explore the subject. I look at the subject in another medium, understand the scale and then take it from there.

What are the challenges you face?

Staying focused on my work.

Do you work on other media?

Yes, as the work demands. Steel, wood, stainless steel, concrete, copper, scrap plywood...

How did you get into art? Why printmaking?

I was exposed to it in school when I was in class five (in the illustrations in the Cathacism class) and was interested in the same since then. But I did realise it only in art school when I was studying Durer type of drawing. (Albrecht Dürer was a painter, printmaker, and theorist of the German Renaissance). I was born and brought up in South Mumbai and hung out in that neighbourhood (which was of course devoid of hoardings). The graphic character of buildings grabbed my attention.

Of all the pieces of art you have done, which one is your favourite?

I enjoy what I do and have fun realising that what's in front of me. Bringing it all together, sometimes failing to do so is exciting too.


Pulling out a print each time gives gives me a high: Kavita Nayar

Veteran artist Kavita Nayar expresses herself in different mediums--from painting in oil, acrylic and watercolour, to different printmaking techniques such as lithography, etching and serigraphy. She received the highly acclaimed French Government Scholarship to practise printmaking at Cite International Des Arts and Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1985.

Tell us about your work?

I realise over the years, I have always worked on a particular series or theme for a couple of years at a stretch. This theme may start with paintings on canvases, collages, drawings, oil pastels, mixed media and end up in any medium of print such as lithograph, silk screen, etchings or the other way round, starting with print medium and ending up in acrylics on canvases, mixed media or oil pastels on paper. I am at ease with all the mediums. I have worked on themes such as Spell of Struggle, Manuscript series, Fury and Pathos, Sublime, Aquatic

Energy and the Calm Within, Woven Dreams and Seeds.

Why printmaking?

I did my Bachelor of Fine arts from Shantiniketan, specialising in printmaking because I felt under the guidance of my mentors, I could develop my creative instincts. Pulling out a print each time gives gives me a high. After a gap of eight years, I did my masters in painting from College Of Art in Delhi. I felt the need to paint directly with colours and brushes and that’s how I developed the colours in my print medium. This is the reason I opted to do my masters in painting.

Whats unique about your current printmaking process?

I think that’s for the viewer or the connoisseur to decide. My only uniqueness is that I don’t like to repeat myself in each print, until and unless I have to make an edition for a portfolio for a gallery. Since I do the printing process myself, I keep making variations.

How did you get into art?

I grew up in Kolkata near Dance and Music School and Academy of Fine Arts. I started learning dance at the age of four and enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts for painting classes at the age of nine. When I was in 8th standard, Neil Armstrong had landed on the moon and two paintings on space from our school were sent for the Nehru Award. The painting of the another girl was selected for the award and she got a trip to Moscow for 14 days. This was the turning point in my life. Instead of feeling dejected, I decided to take up fine arts for my higher secondary specialisation against the will of my parents, school principal and teachers. That's the best thing that has happened.


I am focussing on history now: Kavita Shah

Artist Kavita Shah plays a multiple roles of a painter, printmaker, curator and educationist. She is also the arts manager and a founder member of Chhaap Foundation for Printmaking Trust. She has been part of several significant group shows such as the National exhibitions, XI- Triennial-India and Bharat Bhavan Print biennial. As a curator, she has compiled several major international print portfolios: Footprints on women printmakers, Ganjifa on the deck of cards, Snakes and Ladders and the recent one on the game of chess in a book format.

Could you tell me about your work?

I am working on the cyanotype technique. My last series was based on the game of chess and was called “The King and I”. I did almost 60 prints in that series. Now, I am focusing on history and monuments. I am composing images with various photographs and drawings I have.

What are the challenges you face?

Getting right exposure, tones and colour is challenge in this technique. Monochromatic character of this technique does not bother me much as I can use other techniques such as linocut and monotype to add colours and texture in my compositions.

Do you work on other mediums as well?

Yes, I like etching, linocut, mono print and my favourite is Lithography.

Why printmaking?

In printmaking, images evolve during the process of plate making, which I like about this process. There are many back and forth processes done before one arrives at final proof.


Every woman is also a creator: Sonal Varshneya

An Indian printmaker born Agra, the city of Taj Mahal, famous for its architectural beauty, Sonal Varshneya completed her basic education and Majors in Visual Arts from Agra. After her Post Graduation in Visual Arts (Printmaking), she shifted to Lucknow for better exposure and advanced work in printmaking. She worked on Ambubachi - the symbol of the power of creativity for the exhibit museum of Goa in 2016. The theme is feminism.

Tell us about your work…

The themes for my works are mainly derived from Hindu traditions and religious beliefs. My images are iconographical representing images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. I believes that every woman has this inner power; every woman is also a creator.

What's your technique of work?

I am working etching (intaglio process) print making.

What are the challenges you face?

When I take the final print, sometimes my texture do not come out as expected in the print. On the other hand, etching is a reverse process and I have done all the works on plate. Hence, when I take the proof print, it is only then I realise what to do. But again, sometimes the same process is done on plate three to four times making it difficult.

What's unique about your current printmaking process?

I started working with etching and aquatint on metal plates, and later I combined it with multiple applications. My fascination for etching is basically because of the strong lines and vivid textures which primarily forms the base of my works. I start with opaque colours on my plate with rollers and I use local intaglio with so many colours.

Of all the pieces of art you have done, which is your favourite?

I have done so many art pieces but my favourite series is “ambubachi” because its contains a message to all women. I believe every woman has this inner power; every woman is also a creator. She finds the menstrual cycle a significant part of a woman's life. In June every year, the Ambubachi fair takes place at the Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati. It is widely believed that Goddess Kamakhya goes through her yearly menstrual cycle during the Ambubachi days. The temple remains closed for three days – the menstruation period. People in large numbers wait outside the temple on the fourth day, when the temple is opened. Devotees receive the unique ‘prasad’ – small bits of red cloth, which are believed to be moist with the menstrual fluid of Goddess Kamakhya. It is considered highly auspicious and powerful.


Digital printmaking a better medium for my ideas: Baiju Parthan

Baiju Parthan has been one of the pioneers of experimental and inter-media art in India. His works have been curated by several noted curators in group and solo shows in USA, UK, Japan, Hong Kong and China. An avid reader and researcher Baiju Parthan’s early education in botany, comparative mythology and philosophy, and later engineering have perhaps encouraged his exploration of relatively new mediums.

What's your technique of work?

I work in new-media and I use 3D graphic software and photography to produce my work. My main output is 3D lenticular prints which are stereoscopic interactive prints. In this workshop, I will be doing prints using regular digital printing process.

What are the challenges you face?

It’s to address concepts that are existential and abstract and communicate these to the viewer through recognisable motifs and engaging compositions.

Do you work on other mediums as well?

Yes, I paint. I produce paintings beside my digital work. Majority of my paintings are done in acrylic on canvas, and occasionally I produce acrylic and ink or mixed media paintings on paper.

Why printmaking?

Though I had received training in print making during my art education, I didn’t feel the need to pursue it as my main outlet as I was more than happy with the scope provided by paintings. Only when I started addressing contemporary themes, such as the impact of digital and information technology on our lives, painting as a medium of expression seemed out of step. As my work moved onto new-media which incorporates digital technology, I found digital print making, especially Lenticular prints a better and suitable medium for presenting my ideas.


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