The devil is in the details.

January 18, 2016 Intaglio, Printmaking

Intaglio. Pronounced in-tall-eo. Rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

This type of printmaking has been around for centuries with the earliest known examples coming from the late 1430’s in the form of playing cards. Artists such as Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) and Rembrandt (1606-1669) loved the method’s flexibility in the creation of form, shadow and tone and were attracted to a new cost-effective method of producing multiple works for quick sale.

Although the process of creating prints by carving images into metal can be anything but quick depending upon the complexity of the drawing and the time spent in the minds-eye imagining what the end result will be, intaglio as an art form has stood the test of time.

The intaglio printmaking techniques work by incising into the surface of a plate (steel, copper etc.) with tools or with acid. Afterwards the plate is coated with ink. The surface is wiped clean so that the ink remains only in the incised areas. Finally a dampened paper is pressed against the plate. — Artelino

Although I practice different artistic techniques, there is something that always brings me back to intaglio. Maybe it is the precision required in the incision process and the feeling of putting metal-to-metal. Maybe it is the intellectual analysis and thinking in reverse about the desired end-result; the strokes, the lines, the ink, the negative space needed to get there.

Maybe it is being part of something bigger than myself; one in a long-line of printmakers whose techniques were passed down for generations and whose methods have not changed for the centuries.

Or maybe it is as simple as that I could not see creating an image any other way and achieve the spiritual-emotional connection with the viewer that is so vital in my work.

The Devil (pictured above) is an intaglio work from a series inspired by the Tarot. The image represents metaphoric internal bondage on the cusp of transformative recreation. This two-plate etching is intended to evoke a bright, liberating energy as the figure morphs itself into something yet unknown. The Devil recently won the Sue Cannon prize for excellence in printmaking at the recent 528.0 Juried Printmaking Exhibition produced by the Invisible Museum and held at the Redline Art Center September 2015.