2.4.2010 "Paper Politics" Readings

29 Comments

I guess this article somewhat confuses me. Is a piece of art (assuming it is referring to a painting or carving, etc.) different than a print because it is harder to be reproduced? Is it harder to be reproduced? Maybe. I wouldn't know. I like how the article refers to printmaking as the "few" in how it involves small networks of individuals and artists. From what I've seen so far (including our trip to Apparatus), printmaking does have this sort of small community type of feel. The owner at Aesthetic Apparatus spoke about this when we visited, talking about how they started in a basement and then staring doing small work in the community and they still are really only in the community (of Minneapolis). Perhaps printmaking is produced at the "human scale" because, as the owner of Aesthetic said, the printmaking business isn't very standardized as far as making money is concerned. Maybe if that evolves to a more standard and structured model, that will change to something more of a commodity.

In response to your questions I would have to say that printmaking is an art, just at a larger scale. I believe that while reproducible, prints hold an artist quality in design and also in the hand craft of its larger scale production. I think the article fails to touch on this subject, rather putting printmaking right in the middle of art and large scale production. I also really enjoyed your dissection of how the market plays into the production of silk screen prints, or the lack there of. I believe that because it is such an open market, there are no rules and I would have to guess that this is how print makers want it to be, and how it will stay.

I guess this article somewhat confuses me. Is a piece of art (assuming it is referring to a painting or carving, etc.) different than a print because it is harder to be reproduced? Is it harder to be reproduced? Maybe. I wouldn't know. I like how the article refers to printmaking as the "few" in how it involves small networks of individuals and artists. From what I've seen so far (including our trip to Apparatus), printmaking does have this sort of small community type of feel. The owner at Aesthetic Apparatus spoke about this when we visited, talking about how they started in a basement and then staring doing small work in the community and they still are really only in the community (of Minneapolis). Perhaps printmaking is produced at the "human scale" because, as the owner of Aesthetic said, the printmaking business isn't very standardized as far as making money is concerned. Maybe if that evolves to a more standard and structured model, that will change to something more of a commodity.

I definitely agree with you when you say that printmaking has a small community type of feel. Dan Ibarra definitely gave off that impression when he was talking about the gig posters site and how it has an almost cult following among printmakers. Also, I do not mean to overgeneralize but it seems as if many printmakers have rejected the idea of the maximum exposure, maximum output of these big advertising companies. Dan Ibarra is an example but I don't think he is the only who is rebelling against the masses in a true DIY spirit.

In the article when they mention that everything needs to be maximized such as maximum production, maximum exposure. However, sometimes maximum isn't the best. From what I've learned in taking marketing classes, maximum is at times the worst thing you can do for a product, such as a piece of art. It's like a diamond, they are rare but if everyone had them, they would lose their fizzle and not be so desired. It changes how people look at the product. It's interesting to hear about people who make art for a living but don't really worry about the money, that's just what they love to do. They do it to help other people and put their messages out in the public.

You bring up a very interesting point. I think that people become so obsessed with mass producing, that they forget mass production takes away much of the symbolic importance of their piece. Like you said no one wants a diamond (or a piece of artwork) that everyone else has, it becomes boring and generic to the consumer. Nowadays people seek for innovative art, that sets them apart from the rest of the population. Especially in this economy, I also think that many artists become infatuated in distributing their art merely for money and forget the reason behind their creation.

“Something happens when art is mass produced, when it enters the cultural realm of the many. It changes, not because it all of a sudden looks different in an objective sense, but because people look at it differently.” This comment, made by Jesse Goldstein, struck me as true when associated with the DIY community. I feel that one of the main reasons that DIY exists is because some people became so money hungry that the emotion and passion behind art was lost. When a piece is mass produced it becomes less special and meaningful to the consumer and to the artist. If this passion dwindles away others can sense this because the pieces themselves lose a necessary quality, importance. When we visited Aesthetic Apparatus, Dan Ibarra commented on why he and Michael choose to leave Planet Propaganda. He said that the art he was producing had lost its appeal, mainly because he wasn’t able to create his own pieces. All of the art he made was mass produced so this probably played a huge role in why it wasn’t as special to him. Many of the posters they make now are in smaller editions which allow the pieces to be important and valued. The DIY community has this same idea as well. With smaller editions this creates a sense of community in belonging to a smaller group when compared to others. The knowledge of possessing an original of a small edition produces a feeling of pride in the art piece which is lost in mass produced works.

I agree that the money issue can make people forget why they love what they're doing and just make them only want money. I feel like the money issue separates the artist from their actual interest in art. I definitely agree about if a piece is mass produced then it loses some of that special quality-that it could've been one of a kind piece. I can why see why they left. Artist want to feel like they can create works of art, inspire people, and share it with everyone. Well if they're just mass producing something then there is nothing special/unique about it. Lastly, I really liked your statement about how with the smaller editions it creates a sense of community. That's so true because I feel like that can bring the artist and consumer closer together and create that sense of community.

Before I read this article I already had the idea that printmaking (such as silk screening) was very much connected with the Do-It-Yourself culture. I have talked to various people about printmaking and all of them said that printmaking was very easy to do and you could set it up easily by yourself and you don’t even have to be a formally trained artist to do it. So this article just basically confirmed my beliefs. I also found it interesting when Jesse Goldstein was talking about “if only we could make art for and with each other and not for and with money…” This also goes along with the idea of DIY and making art with and for each other is a really noble concept in my eyes. Also, this quote reminded me of the prints that Jenny was showing us and how each artist shared their prints with another artist and how essentially they were making art for each other which I thought was really cool.

You are very lucky to have some experience with print making! Talking to those who have done print making, to me, seems to be a very rare thing these days, especially with the Do-It-Yourself culture. I also liked the quote that you pointed out that was said by Jesse Goldstein. It really points out the feel and atmosphere of community and unity said in one sentence. The experience of seeing other screen printed works that Jenny showed us was a real treasured moment!

Both of these articles really pushed the idea that silk screening is a cheap and accessible way to make an impact, a change. I found it interesting, in the first article, that Goldstein thought of his production as in between an artist, who creates a single un-replicable piece, and the "the many" or the maximum production. I had always thought of printmaking as a hand form of large production, but the way in which he words his statement between the "the one and the many" is an interesting way of putting it. The sense of community in both of these articles is an idea that I believe all of the articles we have read so far have touched on. I appreciate the small scale community which these prints are made for and produced by. Goldstein also brought up an issue which I am very passionate about. His quote, "If only we could make art for and with each other and not for and with the money" sums up this idea. Why must everything in our society be done out of monetary incentive? I believe the more genuine sense of creation is something that is rare in our culture today and should be greatly appreciated by all.

I agree! Art (or anything, really) should be done because you want to do it, not because you get paid to do it. Money shouldn't inspire anything...that's how really awful movies and music are made. I can't remember if it was in class or at the Apparatus that I heard this- but someone definitely said something about it kind of being a steal to get paid as an artist, because you would be doing it regardless. I think that mindset is okay, just as long as you aren't doing it because of the money.

I agree with both of you. I would agree in that printmaking is on the side of the many versus one. Sure, it may be a few sometimes, but where is the cutoff for what makes a few? I think it goes without saying that the best "stuff" is made by people who love what they are doing, regardless of occupation. Although, I don't think that doing something, at least partially for the money is wrong. In our world we need to make money in order to survive and if you can do it by being an artist, then great. I would have to think some artists have started out in one field and then moved into other fields because the money is greater. The ultimate job is one you love and one you get paid a lot for.

What I liked about this reading was what Jesse Goldstein said about making art at a human scale. Goldstein, a printmaker, said "It's the art form best suited to the few. This is the level of community- the network of people who you know and who know you[...], people you share some parts of your real life with. Not an abstract whole, but a more modest some. [...] This is production at a human scale." I have always been drawn to this kind of idea. I think Dan Ibarra touched on it when we were at Aesthetic Apparatus- art that someone has actually made themselves, that they have touched, is very meaningful. Not to mention a whole lot more interesting than something a machine spat out a million copies of. I've taken a bit of photography, and though I have succumbed to the digital camera and think it's great, the end product isn't as special. Having something that you yourself tweaked and developed and is very hard to replicate is way cooler than printing it off the computer. Much more frustrating at times, but much more gratifying in the end.

you're analogy with regards to photography was absolutely spot on in view of the authors' opinions regarding printing by hand versus mass printing. I too have worked with photography and I absolutely loved working in the Darkroom despite its time-consuming processes. I believe creating a zine yourself, and/or screenprinting, holds a fascination and draw for many people for the same reasons I was drawn to darkroom photography. Really MAKING the art is the most appealing part, feeling the textures, seeing your art appear before your eyes and by your hands, these are feelings that cannot be reproduced in mass production.

I thought both these articles were very informative. Something that stood out to me was the quote about how "this level of community- the network... share some parts of your real life with." I'm not sure this really has anything to do with it but it made me think about a book club. You'd have a few in the group but they'd all be interested in the same thing which is reading books and discussing it afterwards. I just thought it was almost like the few that they talked about in the article. Well either way, I think it's a great way to meet new people, to have something in common, and to have art conversations with. I also really liked how printmaking brought people together. It seemed like people truly appreciated them because in the article it said, "[...] making prints was not separate from the community that the prints were being made for." When the article talked about making art for each other and not for and with money, I thought about the DIY culture. People can just be creative and express themselves from that. The article by Moller was very informative. It gave great examples of how people use silkscreen prints- for media props, posters, and picket signs, etc. Lastly, I liked how it talked about its uses and how it can change things for the better. I think it's great that they're expressing themselves and getting the word out there from their artwork.

Jesse Goldstein and Claude Moller both discuss important concepts about the creation and distribution of print made art. One significant concept that they reflect on is the community connection they seek to render. Claude Moller says the printmaking "carves out a voice for myself and my community." Both artists attempt to reach an audience that understands their messages. Jesse Goldstein talks about the line between one and many. Many print makers including the Aesthetic Apparatus owners are not interested in mass producing their work for the benefit of an income. They want a smaller audience that cherish and enjoy their work. The audience's enjoyment is what artists seek for. Claude Moller's article talks more about having a say in the community and being able to "but forth our own vision for the city's development." It is important as a community to be able to express our views and ideas about the improvements we want to see.

During our visit to Aesthetic Apparatus last week, Dan Ibarra spoke on the subject of A.A.'s beginnings. He told us about how he had seen his former workplace, Planet Propaganda, forced to grow larger in order to support the work it was getting. Dan seemed very adamant when he spoke of not wanting to grow too large or hire too many people and after reading this week's articles I can see that he did not want to become part of the "mass produced art" that Jesse Goldstein speaks about with such foreboding. Producing art for "The few" is indeed the happy medium of the art world in my opinion. With only one piece of art sometimes not enough people who wish to see it are able to appreciate it, and even though mass production of art can work, (as with the Pop Art of Andy Warhol and others) it is usually too fake and uninteresting to spark emotion in its viewers.

I thought the same thing when I was reading this article. Before I visited Aesthetic Appartus, I thought most of the graphic designers and artists would like to be in a big workplace, simply because I thought they would get paid more. However Dan Ibarra mentioned how frustrated he was at his former workplace because there were so many obligations and he was not able to make the art work he truly wanted to make. I also noticed that there weren't too many, but not too few of the same artwork at Aesthetic Appartus, which makes the pieces perfect to be in a shared space.

It's really interesting how you brought up our visit to Aesthetic Apparatus because it was very noticable at their studio that they don't mass produce their art. They obviously understand the meaning of it and that somethings that are mass produced lose their rarity and what people think of it. With just their one screenprinting machine, it's obvious they focus on each piece one at a time.I think it's neat that Aesthetic Apparatus focuses on making few of each piece of art and putting time and effort into each one.

I somewhat disagree with the statement on page one that, “It changes [once mass produced], not because it all of a sudden looks different in an objective sense, but because people look at it differently.” I really like Starry Night by Van Gogh. I have never seen the actual, original painting, but each time I look at a print or copy of it, I still get that feeling of awe and wonder. I don’t need to see the actual painting to get the shock/intensity factor. Also, even production in the “few” can create a separation. If I walked into a print shop, picked up a print I liked, bought it and left, I wouldn’t really know the artist, what their inspiration was, why they put in a certain detail, etc. I think you need to make the effort to connect with the community by other means than just how many pieces you produce. Yes, having a smaller set of prints allows you to monitor those sales and thus engage with the customer, but there is still the disconnection of a unique piece explained to or revealed by the artist. Screen prints do allow a larger audience of artists, from the semi-creative college study creating an event to the well known band advertising print shop, and a way to make sure you build a community with consumers, but it still can have a large separation depending on how the operation works.

I thought that this article was pretty interesting. They both discussed how printmaking is an effective way to create, strengthen, and speak to a community. I liked how Moller talked about how he uses printmaking to empower lower class citizens in a place that is cominated by corporations and the upper class. We've already read and discussed a little bit about how cost-effective and timely the process of DIY printing can be, and tying that into the inclusion of communities was an interesting connection. Overall, the article was really short for what we've read in the past but was fun to read.

I like your point about using art as a way to "empower lower class citizens." Art for the few in this sense is truly used to empower not only lower class citizens, but also individuals that have difficulty expressing themselves. The idea of empowering people has been a common theme throughout this class, specifically through DIY community and art. When people who would be left by the way-side are included in a group or community, it allows them to contribute constructively rather than wallow in self-pity. Everyone needs encouragement and DIY art/community will be there to lift people up.

“The best part about printmaking is the making, the crafting of things at a human scale.” I love the perspective that printmaking is not only made from one individual but many individuals. There is a strange sense of community and unity in the art/print making community; I get a sense of that no matter what another person is doing, all artists speak the same language. There is no right or wrong, nor is there good and bad; it is a way to speak to/with the community. The main point of having (hand) screen printing that is cheap and easy to do explain and tells us that anybody and everybody can do it too.

After my first read through the article, I was left with a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth from the second half. Claude Muller comes across to me with a some what in you face attitude. At first he comes across in a kind of elitist fashion when talking about the neighborhood he lives in and how mass advertisements dictate our culture. Even though I was put off by his attitude, I did think it was quite cool that he makes prints for social change. It wasn't until the thinking back to what Muller stated in the article that he really embodies the punk attitude that the craft of printmaking grew from. He definitely represents the do-it-yourself culture we speak of in class all the time also.

The tone of the beginning of the second article was the same for me. I felt like he was a bit arogant and self-complimenting, and putting himself up higher because he was a part of this unique, small society of artists. I do love that he does alot of his prints for causes he believes in or supports. I think it's a great way to get your work out there, while clearly stating and supporting a cause that means something to you. I wish more artists did this, because they have such an influence over their audience, a little charity plug now and then could go a long way.

The first thing that caught my eyes when I opened this article was the poster by Jesse Goldstein on the first page. The image is somewhat disturbing, the color is very strong, and the slogan is "STOP the budget cuts" which grabs peoples' attention. Then I read i the article that printmaking is one of the most effective way to speak to the community, which made so much sense to me. I also found it interesting how Jesse Goldstein described the "one" art as the "unique individual". Many people always want to have a special piece rather than something that many others have. For instance, many manufacturers make their products as "limited editions" because they know that the customers would be willing to purchase it, despite the higher cost.

My eye was instantly drawn to all of the images immediately upon looking at this zine. All of them were very powerful and stood out. They were all clearly seeking a way to speak a large society and pass along their ideas. And then as you read it you find out how they print zines in retaliation of the government and fighting propaganda. He explains how he wants back a society of small business rather than what he calls "Goliaths" most likely referring to big business. I really respect the fact that he has an opinion and he eagerly wants to express it and he chose to filter his thoughts to his screen-printing. This is his way of solving what he sees as a problem and getting information our to society. I appreciate the fact that he takes charge with his ideas and really puts forward his idea of what he believes should be done and changed.

With this reading, the zines were the main thing that caught my attention too. With their bright colors, and sharp use of intellect and whit, you can tell these zines were not made by pushovers. The one thing I noticed, especially about the red and white zine in the left corner on the second page, is that these zines had a more finished look to them. It was especially noticeable since most of the zines we’ve seen so far have a more rough and unfinished look to them.

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