By Justin Japitana and Roberto Olmedo

The first sale is always the most memorable for a printmaking artist. That first sale engraves itself on the artist as the stepping stone to a hopeful and promising future in the art world.

“The thing I really like the most is when the students are at the checkout table and a customer goes through the line with a print that one of them made and they get super excited,” said stage manager and sale coordinator Bridget Henry. “It’s like the first time in their life someone else — someone they don’t know who’s not their mom or dad or their friend or cousin — is buying their work and it’s a real neat connection like, ‘I made something somebody else wants in their life.’”

At the Elena Baskin Visual Arts Center this weekend, the much anticipated annual Printmaking Sale will occur in its 40th iteration. Artists from the UCSC printmaking program will sell their handmade artwork and tour the unique studios where it’s all made.

“Some students are graduating this year,” Henry said. “They’re going through their work from the past four years and it’s really cool to see their whole body of work. You never get to see stuff like that until the Print Sale. We put it all together and it’s just a really neat moment to see how much they’ve accomplished in that time period.”

Printmaking involves creating a mold onto which ink can be applied. The ink is then transferred from the mold onto paper, cloth or other materials. Through the process of printmaking, the production of multiple copies is possible. Because prints can be made in multiples, an artist can charge less for each print than for an original, one-of-a-kind artwork or piece.

Printmaking is used to craft products like etchings, which are pulled from copper plates that have been engraved, with acid or marked with sharp tools. Another product such as relief prints are made from carved wood locks, usually thin plywood, or linoleum. Ink is applied with a roller or brush to the surface that remains after carving, and then paper is laid and pressed onto the inked surface to make the relief print.

“A retired printmaking instructor, Paul Rangell, taught that printmaking is the most democratic of art forms,” said studio manager and sale coordinator Moon Rinaldo. “It is more possible for people in the middle and working classes to buy it — it has been vital in the spreading of knowledge to the masses.”

Macias said students keep 80 percent of the sales and the other 20 percent goes directly back to the print studio in the form of new equipment such as a new lithography press and a new stereo system for late night printing sessions.

“Seeing those animated faces and the community gather in support of the sale is worth all of the work and sacrifice because that’s the moment when you realize you are a part of something great,” Macias said.

The Print Sale also helps art students ready themselves for the art world. For many students, this sale will be the first time their artwork will be for sale.

“Us UCSC printmakers spend many long days and sleepless nights dancing, laughing, crying and printing in the printmaking studio,” said fourth-year student artist Jennifer Macias. “We are ambitious, passionate and stubborn. We take this art medium rather seriously and you can see these qualities reflected in every single print found at the sale.”

The UCSC Print Sale will be held in the Elena Baskin Visual Arts Center located south of the Media Theater on June 6 and 7, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.