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Final Draft

Final Draft

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Published by Ian Koll

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Published by: Ian Koll on Jul 30, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/13/2014

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Ian KollFinal Draft Printmaking Paper12/7/11The average everyday American has very little appreciation for the printed page. In asociety in which the spread of information is predominately dictated by telecommunication,the printed page is quickly becoming an endangered commodity. EBook readers are quicklyreplacing books and newspapers are losing business to devices with 6-inch screens. It seems as though a society that has been so strictly defined by the media would have ahigher regard for printed information- a system that has worked wonders for thousands of years. My experiences with print media have been touch and go for the past several years,and I have only recently learned to appreciate the depth of the medium. From my earliest memories, paper was always an exciting tool- I learned to write on it, learned to draw on it,and learned a large portion of my education on it. I kept a journal when I was a young boy-while I valued the contents of my journal, I did not value the medium that I was using tokeep the journal. These days, in the world of blogging and online-journaling, a paperboundjournal is almost unheard of. But paper and the printed page have something on technologywhich is nearly impossible to replicate- immortality. A properly preserved piece of papercan, under the correct conditions, last forever. Technology, on the other hand, comes andgoes-
with a myriad of different formats, it’s difficult to tell just how the digital media
industry will develop further in the coming years.I was first introduced to the concept of printmaking as an art form in middle school.I attended a Montessori School in Atlanta, which had a very large emphasis on the arts andart education. My art teacher, who was an avid printmaker, showed us various samples,and we were taught about the various processes of printmaking (unfortunately our school
 
lacked professional equipment, so our prints were limited to linoleum blocks and otherassorted methods.) It was at this age that I began to understand the artistic merits of printing, and differentiated between simply printed material and printed artwork. Printedmaterial still had very little value to me- as a young student, I had very little interest inprinted pages, as they were most frequently coupled with tedious assignments. But thebrief introduction to printmaking I had in middle school opened my eyes to a form of art Ihad never considered before, and I enjoyed the experience immensely.It would not be until my freshman year of high school that I would ever actuallyattempt printmaking myself. I took an introductory art course as part of my compulsory
educational “package,” and was amazed to find printmaking offered as a medium for study.
I was, upon first starting to make prints (we were using linoleum blocks,) immediatelydisillusioned due to printma
king’s extremely steep learning curve. I
was terribly sloppyand could barely hold the carving tool, let alone carve into a mirrored image. I quicklybecame discouraged, and eventually gave up; and yet seeing the art of the older, moreadvanced students always gave me a sense of longing to be able to produce art as skillfullyas they did.That was the only art class I ever took during my high school years, and,unfortunately, my only experience with printmaking. I would continue to be exposed todifferent forms of printed art, through the older art students, but I never attempted tocreate prints again. At the end of my 11
th
grade year, however, I first got introduced tostreet art. I had just started to experiment with urban exploring (which, in my case, meant Iwould enter and explore abandoned buildings whilst taking pictures of my findings.) Here,I found many different pieces of graffiti- some of which were terrible, but some that were
 
extremely detailed and precise. After returning home and reviewing my pictures, I noticeda great many pieces that looked too precise to have been done by a free hand artist. I wouldlater learn that those particular pieces were created with stencils. Having never thought about the artistic merits of stencils (I had, since a very early age, associated stencils withmerely sheets of plastic with letters cut out,) I began to research different street artists whoutilized the stenciling technique, and absorbed every piece of graffiti culture I could get myhands on. I learned how to make stencils through some tutorials I found posted online, andattempted to do so-
creating stencils both for friends and myself. I have never “tagged”
anything that did not belong to me, which may seem counter-intuitive to the graffiti culture,but I have, since that first experience with urban exploring, had an unwavering fascinationwith graffiti and, by extension, the artistic medium of printmaking with stencils.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to realize just how much of an impression
printmaking has had on the world. Before taking this class, I had never considered howsignificant printmaking was to the world of advertising. Furthermore, in the current statethe world is in (with new forms of technological advertising emerging every day,) it seemsas though printmaking really is becoming a dying art form. But I believe, especially withthis generation, that printmaking (in at least one of its forms) will be kept alive, if for noother reason than to preserve an important piece of artistic history. Many forms of art eventually become obsolete- and yet, because of the skill it takes to create them, and thebeauty of the finished product, they are still performed today (for example, hand-boundbooks.) Printmaking is one of those methods (both artistic and not) that will continue tohave a use for many, many years to come- and I hope that those who may take the concept of printmaking for granted swiftly realize how important it is, and how significant of an

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