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Studio Program Director Believes in the Magic of Printmaking

Studio Program Director Believes in the Magic of Printmaking

Studio Program Director Believes in the Magic of Printmaking

If you were to ask Art Center Studio Program Director Fanny Retsek whether she believes in magic, she says “yes”—she believes in the magic of printmaking.

“When I was in college, I took a class in printmaking by chance, and loved everything about it,” says Fanny, who has been overseeing the continual growth and success of the adult studios for the past three years. “I loved the chemistry involved, the process, and the technique—the magic and alchemy of it all.”

Printer’s ink may be in Fanny’s blood—her mother was a potter and artist, and her father was an art director and painter. She said she grew up taking a host of art classes, and initially was most interested in drawing.

“But printmaking seemed like a natural fit for my abilities and inclinations,” says Fanny, whose favorite techniques include etching, screen printing and monotype. “I like the materials that are used for printmaking and the aesthetic of the end result.”

Fanny uses the multiple of print to create large-scale installations, her most recent project being a 10x10-foot installation of 99 prints that was recently exhibited in Australia.

She is now extremely enthusiastic about the new Paula Kirkeby Press Print Studio at the Cubberley Community Center.  “I’m excited about the new etching press at Cubberley because printmaking requires certain tools and specialized equipment,” she says. “Having this large-scale press given to the community creates a unique opportunity for any Bay Area artist to create large-scale prints.”

The new etching press weighs over one ton and was originally assembled for longtime Palo Alto consultant and art dealer Paula Kirkeby by an Oakland shipbuilder. Paula passed away in 2016, but her estate donated the printing press to the City of Palo Alto with the intention of establishing a printmaking studio.

Unlike the mediums of printing and drawing, where the image is on top of the paper, the printed image is absorbed into the paper and it creates a certain type of luminosity, says Fanny.

“With the printing process, you also have the opportunity to use repetition and create multiple images,” she says. “There’s also this great contrast between the white of the paper and color of the ink. You can experiment and take chances.”

But Fanny also says she appreciates the historical context of printmaking. She says that printmaking was developed as the “art for everyman,” and has a history of protest and activism. One of her early influences was Albrecht Dürer, a painter, printmaker, and theorist of the Northern Renaissance, who first popularized wood engraving techniques and early printmaking.
Fanny encourages anyone who is interested in creating imagery, drawing or engraving to check out the magic of our new printmaking studio.

“I still think that the process is magical—that you can create an image on a plate and transfer it onto paper,” she says. “When it comes off the press, there’s always this element of surprise, and that can be addictive.”
This fall, the Adult Studios is offering classes and workshops in Expressive Drypoint and Monoprint, Monotype Portraits, Monoprint on Mat Board Plates, Monotype, and Collagraph with Found Materials. Click on any of the aforementioned programs for more information and registration.

Last Updated: September 5, 2017