Last summer, I took my first screen printing class at Drexel University, and it was such a unique experience! Printmaking is a complex effort that combines mixing paints and other fine art techniques with labor that tests your entire body. I remember so many nights I would stay late in the Print Studio, and then go home to feel it in my muscles. I eventually fell in love with the textures and novelty of the prints.
They’d look like they had a vintage effect and each one was so personal because they were individually unique. During the term, I created a three-piece portfolio – each piece having a separate theme, but other aspects that pull the portfolio together as a whole.
My main inspiration for my class came from my Ladies of Letterpress book. After reading it during my Spring term, I remember feeling so inspired. I read about women all over the country talking about their different aesthetics and what they love most about the labor intensive process that is print. I learned a lot about the importance of keeping to a minimal color pallet and the impact your paper can make on your overall design. Keeping this in mind, definitely helped guide me through my Summer term.
To keep my portfolio consistent I tried to use a similar color pallet across the term. My first work was meant to be a self-portrait that doesn’t literally show my likeness. I chose to print my cat, Wiggles, sneezing straight in my face. I realize it’s odd, but she’s taught me compassion and what it means to care for another living thing. I love her – even when she’s gross. My second piece was meant to depict a fear I have. I’m terrified of the ocean – not the part we splash about in, but the part that we know nothing about. We’ve only explored 15% of our oceans and so many scary things live in it. I printed a goblin shark trapped in a bottle to represent the fact that fear traps us in a container. We see everyone else happy, and it makes us feel strange for being scared. I felt like it’d be a good representation. My final piece represents a dream. It was a girl on a pier because I was born in Long Beach, California, and I’ve always wanted to go back. I wanted this piece to show technique more than anything.
By the end of the term, I was exhausted, but proud. I was proud that I could print well after only ten weeks of training, and I was proud of my classmates and all of the work they produced. One of the niftiest parts of this class was that we could all share our prints. I not only have a portfolio of my own work but a class portfolio as well.