The SGC International conference was last week in Knoxville, TN and it was a good time as always. Plenty of things to do that were printmaking related, but so little time for the few days that it is all jam packed into. A brief synopsis of the weekend goes like this: Great keynote speakers, lots of panels, but too little time from board obligations, a wonderful ASU reunion commemorating John Risseeuw’s time there, some very cool work seen in the open portfolio periods, and a 9 hour drive home.
Okay, so there were some great keynote speakers; Hideki Kimura spoke about Contemporary Japanese printmaking, Sarah Suzuki spoke about contemporary printmaker in the use, and Ruth Weisburg and Walter Jule gave inspirational talks about print and teaching.
There were panels about collaboration all over the schedule, but specific the first one, The Collaborative Sphere, had Douglas Bosley speaking about his prints through his time collaborating with scientists at UW-Madison. I had to miss the teaching panel and some others for helping during the Mentor Sessions but I was still able to take in quite a bit.
So, for those of you who have not heard my praise of John Risseeuw, he is an amazing printmaker, book artist and professor. John was the chair of my thesis committee during my time at Arizona State University. He is a powerhouse in letterpress, papermaking and book arts. I have seen multiple printmakers drop their jaws at the mention that I learned from him, so he is an impressive man. This year it was announced that John was retiring from teaching at ASU for 35 years.
On Saturday, there was some amazing work being shown during the open portfolio sessions. Talking with a few friends, we all commented on how we were having a hard time telling who was an undergraduate, a graduate, and a professional. There was also a wonderful balancing of the processes throughout the sessions. What I mean by this, is that in the past few conferences the portfolios have leaned heavily towards screenprint and woodcut, sometimes specifically dirty, sloppy work. But this year there was a good deal of intaglio and lithography on display as well and a lot of the work being shown was much cleaner and more professional even if the imagery itself was punk/anti-mainstream in its style.
All this being said, it was a great conference for its content, but also for the number of people I talked to about the portfolio and the interest that is being stirred up. I put out and handed out around 200 of the postcards that I had printed for the conference. Many were simply picked up from the information table, but I and previous participants handed out quite a few to specific artists that we thought might be good for the exchange. Now I am not going to drop any names yet, but I can say I thoroughly hope they each apply and that I am forced to make some very hard decisions about the final 9 participants.
The only update that I will give is that I have received a few applications already and they are looking good so far. For now, I will post two images from the conference as motivators to those on the fence about whether to apply. As I wrote before, Melanie Yazzie and Tom Christison have already been accepted to the portfolio for participation. Both Melanie and Tom participated in portfolio exchanges for this conference and I took pictures of each ones work to try and motive people.
Hope this motivates a few more of you to consider applying. There is a little more than a month left for application. So email your reason for participation and images soon.