Corrections or additions?
This article by Pat Summers was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on
June 30, 1999.
Art, Steamrollered with Care
How better to celebrate a 25th printmaking anniversary
than to make a print? But not just any old print. This celebratory
print should be the biggest as well as the best — grand in every
way. And since it celebrates an organization that serves artists from
around the state, and one whose "Roving Press" travels the
length and breadth of the state, it should also celebrate New Jersey.
So let’s call it "Journey Through New Jersey."
So it will be a gigantic, though a very limited-edition, print —
a monotype, in fact. To make an intaglio print, involving cutting
into wood or other surfaces, would not be a good idea, given the
Even so, some sections will be collographs, and others will be
prints, both with relief surfaces or embossed effects. And the media?
Just some blacktop, lots of ink, home construction material, plastic,
carpet. And — oh, yes — a steamroller. (Don’t try this at
With a nod to its production process, we might call the big print
a "flatotype." Or a "rollergraph." No matter what
it’s called, this print will make a big impression.
The Printmaking Council of New Jersey, based in North Branch, near
Somerville, has scheduled an array of enticing silver anniversary
events during the month of July, both inside and outside the Newark
Museum. First comes "The Big Print." On Saturday, July 3,
kicking off a fittingly festive holiday weekend, at least 25 artists
will produce a 100-foot long and 10-foot wide print in the museum
parking lot. The council hopes to convince the Guinness folks that
it is the world’s largest.
Like the Turnpike or the Garden State Parkway, "Journey Through
New Jersey" will be long and skinny. Unlikely ever to be repeated
at the Printmaking Council itself, the process for "the big
will literally start at ground level, as artists sketch their designs
on the pavement or slip prepared sketches between it and the layer
of clear plastic placed on top of it. Next comes the non-toxic,
pigment needed for the artists’ designs, all related to the "New
Jersey journey" theme. With the ink applied, the third layer is
"Tyvek," a Dupont material used in home construction,
and mailing envelopes, that the overall design will be printed on.
Then, for a lithography press effect writ very large, the
is covered with carpet pieces, so a steamroller can transfer the ink
to the material.
And there you have "Journey Through New Jersey."
The overall design only begins as an aerial view of New Jersey. In
and around the state’s outline, 12 or more "postcard" insets
will show key features, from the Jersey shore to High Point; from
the Statue of Liberty to Newark and Hoboken. The state tree, bird,
and flower will be worked in, as will horses, cows, and, unavoidably,
All this will happen between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. And,
says Stephen Fox, artist, member of the Printmaking Council’s board,
and impresario of "The Big Print," those interested are
to come and watch. His planning for the event included finding
artists ("When they heard what we wanted to do, they came out
of the woodwork"), coming up with a theme and a tentative design,
and lining up the materials. The ink had to be custom made, and when
synthetic papers all proved too small for the job, he located a roll
of Tyvek without pre-printing and large enough for both trial runs
and the finished product.
After the fact, once "the Big Print" lives, there’s a little
logistical problem: If a 500-pound gorilla can sit anywhere it wants,
where does a 100-foot long print hang? Anywhere it can? (And at press
time, that remained to be seen, or found.)
"The Big Print" is the brainchild of Stephen McKenzie,
Council advisory board member, and proud owner of his own steamroller.
Also an artist, he says he was always interested in "doing large
works outside the studio." Aware of the effective job that
do on asphalt, he talked to a contractor and before long, owned his
own, with a three-foot wide roller. (Nowadays, they’re all
by the way.) Around Labor Day each year, he hauls it out of the barn
where it’s berthed, and, joined by friends, does a large work outside
the studio. Stamile Trucking and Excavating, in South Bound Brook,
is both the source of McKenzie’s roller and the donor of one from
its fleet for the Newark printmaking event.
Also marking its 25-year milestone in "educating children and
adults in book arts, papermaking, photography and printmaking,"
the Printmaking Council will sponsor a symposium on printmaking’s
present and future: "Printmaking, Printmaking, Wherefore Art
at the Newark Museum Sunday, July 18. Miriam Beerman will moderate
a panel of five print exponents, with a reception following. Between
July 14 and September 26, an exhibition of "Silver Anniversary
Selections" from the Printmaking Council will be on view at the
But, unless it rains that day, postponing festivities for two weeks,
"The Big Print" comes before the sit-down or walk-around more
serious stuff, and it’s sure to be a `reeeely big shoe.’
— Pat Summers
973-596-6550. In the parking lot; raindate is July 17. Free.
July 3, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Newark Museum, 40 Washington Street, Newark, 973-596-6550. With Judith
Brodsky, Ellen Handy, David Kiehl, Maurice Sanchez, and Merle
Moderator is Miriam Beerman. Sunday, July 18, 1 p.m.
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