Students reap the benefits of annual printmaking conference
by Dennis Peterson. Printmaking Faculty/Printmaking Studio Manager
Coming off the heels of last year’s Southern Graphics Conference International hosted by the Academy of Art University, printmaking and graphic design students ventured to Knoxville, Tennessee, the sight of this year’s annual event.
“SGCI was a really great opportunity to meet other printmakers, see what's being produced in the community, and learn new techniques,” states Jen Wright, undergraduate Printmaking Major in the Fine Art Department.
“Between demos, lectures, and gallery shows there's so much happening that it can be overwhelming, but in the best way because it's something I love. In essence, SGCI is like ComiCon for printmakers,” says Wright.
Several printmaking students were able to attend this year’s conference thanks in part to their hard work at last years S.F. event. A letterpress and bookmaking project at last year’s event, entitled SPAN, was the brainchild of printmaking and book arts
faculty Carrie Ann Plank and Macy Chadwick. Students and instructors volunteered their time to print, die cut, bind and sell an edition of artist books all in one day during the conference. The proceeds from the sale of the edition helped to fund several students, alumni and faculty going to Knoxville this time around.
“I wanted to attend (this year) because being immersed in the exchange of the arts is a valuable opportunity for myself as a growing designer and printmaker,” says Tyler Balogh an undergrad Graphic Design Major who has studied extensively in the Printmaking Department.
“As a graphic designer, I have to say I feel embraced in a community of fine artists that are relevant to my artistic background. Although I may not be an illustrator or painter, printmaking had allowed me to branch out from digital media and explore traditional and valuable experiences with amazing people,” says Balogh.
Jen Wright adds that, “I also enjoyed meeting so many printmakers and connecting with them over a common passion, swapping studio stories and picking each other's brains over various techniques. While the Internet is great for sharing what we work on, it can't replace the joy of talking to a stranger and realizing they speak the same printmaking language as you do.”
Many are waiting and already preparing for next March when the Southern Graphics Conference will land again for 2016. This time the host city will be Portland, Oregon. See you there!