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Master Printmaker Kathryn Kain Praises the Power of Printmaking

Master Printmaker Kathryn Kain Praises the Power of Printmaking

As a professional artist, printmaker and art instructor, Kathryn Kain sees herself on a mission to shine a light on the discipline of printmaking.

“Printmaking is a lesser understood art form than drawing, painting and sculpture,” says Kathryn, who self-publishes her prints. “Print is rarely taught in high schools, so people may not get exposed to it until later in their artistic careers. I’m always working to raise the profile of printmaking.”  

Kathryn completed a BFA with an emphasis on printmaking at San Jose State University. After further study with Kenjilo Nanao and Misch Kohn at CSU Hayward, she earned her MFA in printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Kathryn was the master printer at Smith Andersen Editions over the course of 25 years and she teaches printmaking at Santa Clara University and Stanford University. Additionally, she has taught as visiting faculty at San Jose State University, San Francisco Art Institute, UC Davis and Dominican University.

Nature, nurture, and the deep connection between humans and plants inspire her art. Her work features beautifully rendered fruits, flowers and branches including paper ephemera and found images that offer hints of narrative. Recently she is using actual plants as temporal matrices to create her monotypes.

“It’s a challenge making your own prints because you must also promote your work,” says Kathryn, who self publishes her work and also collaborates with artists at her press, Atelier Blu Rose located in San Francisco at Hunter’s Point Shipyard, one of the the largest artist communities in the United States.

Kathryn shows her work at her studio and in various local and national venues. Recently, she showed collaborative work at Hudson gallery in Sylvania, Ohio. Her work is also included in the Stanford Medical Center’s collections. Other major exhibits include Harvesting Myths at the Fresno Art Museum and La ironia inocente de la rosa, Ex Convento del Carmen, Guadalajara, Mexico.

Kathryn firmly believes in the importance of printmaking as a discipline that historically unites fine art, technology and commerce. Despite the difficulties, self- publishing studios are proliferating all over the world.

“Printmaking crosses many disciplines,” she says. “It occupies a huge place in human civilization connecting contemporary art with the earliest dissemination of pictures and words.

Kathryn says that printmaking is accessible and cost-effective both to make and store artworks and it’s an economical medium for collectors to purchase fine art.

Printmaking mediums are accessible to anyone, and the cost of paper ink and materials is reasonable, she says. As an instructor, an important part of Kathryn’s teaching is encouraging her students to see prints in museums so they can appreciate the time and effort the masters invested in creating prints.

“People often feel that they have to know how to draw something in order to create a print, but that’s not necessarily true,” says Kathryn, who is currently making monotypes at North Street Collective, an artist residency program in Willits, Calif. “It’s a matter of wanting to do some work and engage in the process.”

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Last Updated: July 24, 2019