Illustration by Rachel Edelstein.
Illustration by Rachel Edelstein.

As the year comes to a close, the UC Santa Cruz arts department opens its studios with artists displaying their final projects. After working endless hours in their shops, students will be able to share their creations with other Slugs.

While all participating artists will only present their work on Friday, June 5, the open studio event will run in conjunction with the print shop’s 35th annual print sale. Artists will exhibit their work at the Baskin Visual Arts Center from noon until 4 p.m. in the Printmaking Studio. The print sale will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both Friday and Saturday.

The artwork is not limited to a particular theme, but the artists have expressed themselves through various techniques including sculpture, print and digital media. The print sale will feature original pieces by artists using lithography, etching, woodcuts and even handmade books.

This will be the sixth open studio event and second printmaking sale in which Sarah Diaz-Bastin, an arts department assistant, has been involved. Diaz-Bastin said that the spring open studio is the biggest studio event of the year, outdoing fall and winter open studios because it features a culmination of all the artists’ work as well as the print sale.

“What brings the most people up here is the print sale. A lot of people like to bring home a little piece of art with them,” Diaz-Bastin said. “As far as UCSC is concerned, a lot of students come to see the pieces that require interaction and the installation outside.It’s a fun place to just kind of hang out for an afternoon.”

Along with the printmaking studio’s display, paintings and drawings will be in the painting studios and drawing studios respectively. Sculptures will be displayed in the sculpture studios, metal shop, and outside in the courtyard area.

“Some of the sculptures don’t necessarily fit inside and people will be able to see them,” Diaz-Bastin said. “A lot of people used recyclable materials, but there will be a lot of welded sculptures, bronze casting for bronze sculptures, and wood and fiber pieces.”

The annual print sale gained popularity as an event where student artists sell their prints to the UCSC public for low prices. 

“The print sale is a place where students can buy real artwork,” said Moon Rinaldo, co-manager of the print studio. “It takes a great deal of time to produce these prints, and you can tell that the artists have worked very hard.”

In the print studio, located on-campus at Baskin Visual Arts, students work for hours on end to produce their art pieces. Artists can often be found in the studio from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. most days. 

But the work of the artist is not over when the studio lights turn off. 

“I’ve spent probably 20 hours on this print already, just to get it to the stage where it can be printed,” said Kate Hopkins, a third-year Cowell student. “I’m selling what I’m working on right now, as well as two or three more editions [sets of prints].” 

The print sale is unique in that it allows students to buy authentic, handcrafted artwork at incredibly low prices. Students who make art marketed toward other students realize that low prices are necessary to fit their patrons’ meager budgets. 

The prints usually sell from $5 to $20 apiece. Of the profits, typically 80 percent goes to the artist, and the remaining 20 percent to the print studio to provide more supplies and resources for the artists in the future. 

“The art is handmade, and that makes it intrinsically valuable,” Hopkins said. “The time and effort that went into making these prints far exceeds the price. But we realize that students typically don’t have the money to buy art, and we as student artists will gladly take whatever we can get for our work.”

Many of the students are using the skills and techniques that they have acquired in their various art classes to complete their prints for the sale, layering different paints and patterns to create complex visuals. 

Bridget Henry, studio manager and technician, said that the entire printmaking studio will be covered in students’ prints, some scaling up to 3.5 by 5.5 feet.

“All prints are on individual sheets and the stuff is all hand-printed,” Henry said. “It’s not something you can pick up at Kinko’s.”

“I’m selling a few of my prints in the show,” said Sanna Kahan, a third-year Porter student. “I have taken Introduction to Printmaking and Lithography 1 and 2, so I have a lot of work accumulated from those to sell. This print right here is an homage to my hands.”

For student art aficionados, or even those just wishing for something with which to adorn their walls besides the typical beat-up posters, the print sale is a rare chance to obtain artwork at affordable prices, while the open studio offers a tantalizing glimpse into the world of art at UCSC. 

“Students need to come experience what the print studio and the art department supports,” Hopkins said. “We’re about fostering community, working with our hands, and creating art for everyone to enjoy.”