By Lani Conway
As spring quarter nears its end, the UC Santa Cruz print studio is filled with bustling activity. Printmakers carve and chip away designs on woodblocks. Copper plates are etched and engraved, while lithographs are repeatedly run under high-pressure presses.
The 34th annual Student Print Sale is approaching.
The art department opens its doors at the Baskin Visual Arts Center this June 6 and 7 for an open art studio and print sale. The event brings together enthused art lovers, students and artists under one roof to catch a glimpse of the original etchings, woodcuts, lithographs, digital prints and handmade books that have been created throughout the school year. Black-and-white photos by photography students will also be on display and for sale.
“It will be amazing to have a lot of people show up,” said Thea Bosselmann, a graduating art major who will sell her work for the first time. “The print sale is also a great opportunity to see all the work that everybody has done throughout the year.”
Moon Rinaldo, print studio technician and print sale co-organizer, appreciates the value of displaying student art as well as the ability of printmaking to make art more accessible to the public.
“Printmaking is a democratic art,” Rinaldo said. “It is a medium designed to disseminate art to a great range of people and to make it affordable to everybody. What is wonderful about the sale is that it allows students who are on a limited budget the chance to see art and have the opportunity to buy and take home a piece of artwork.”
Themes and subject matter range from the comic and charming, to the political, serious and abstract. Growling tigers, maps of California, parachuting toy soldiers and recreations of old family photographs are just a few of the images on display during the print sale.
“One thing that is so wonderful about the sale is that there is an image for everyone,” Rinaldo said. “There is [a print] that will speak to every kind of person: full color, black-and-white, nice and pretty, or dark and challenging.”
Originating from the need to reproduce artwork and to make it available to a broader public, the print sale follows in the footsteps of the printmaking tradition by creating works that are easily reproducible and that retain a unique quality not found in generic mass-produced college dorm room posters. Special papers and other techniques lend a distinctive depth and texture that further personalizes each print.
The print sale will also provide more than just extra pocket money for printmakers such as alumna and print studio monitor Bethany Miller, who works closely with woodblock printing.
“It’s really great to see all the work being sold because the print sale only takes place spring quarter,” Miller said. “But what is really exciting is when people go to the print sale and actually want to buy your work, ultimately giving you more confidence as an artist.”
For printmakers such as Bosselmann, the growing popularity of the print sale signifies more than just an increase in the number of cash exchanges.
“It’s not all about just selling art and prints,” she said, “but also about producing and showing work which ultimately gives something back to the community.”
The efforts of this bustling printmaking community are sure to satiate the art lover in all of us.
_The 34th annual Print Sale takes place on June 6 and 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Baskin Visual Arts Center. Open Studio will take place only June 6. For more information, visit arts.ucsc.edu/printsale._