I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and earned a BFA in Drawing and Print Making from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. I crossed the Mississippi in the late 1980's, and hooked up with Open Press in Denver for print , and gradually added charcoal drawing and painting, with exhibits in Denver, Colorado Springs, Santa Fe, and as far away as Bulgaria.
I switch between print making and painting. The two inform each other. I usually concentrate on one or the other at any given time, however, as I have to change my mind-set accordingly.
With print making, I have to think in reverse; in terms of a linear drawing, black-and-white. With painting, I think in terms of color.
Since anything that is created using an ink press can be considered print making, there are several approaches to using it as an art form, and I combine several of them in my work. With etching I mark lines onto a metal plate covered in wax, and then submerge it into an acid bath, which etches away at the metal exposed by my marks. With several iterations of marking and bathing, a reverse-image emerges, which eventually is applied to paper though an ink press.
Dry point - where I carve directly into the metal plate instead of using an acid bath - is used to create prints. Dry point provides a richer, almost three-dimensional effect, creating a darker image that can serve as the focal point to the print. I enjoy the physicality of this technique, the gouging of an image out of metal.
Aquatint can also be part of the process. Think of this technique as 'reverse airbrush' where an oil-based paint is sprayed onto the metal, which acts as the resist to the acid etching. The lighter the resist is applied, the heavier the etched image will emerge from that area. Aquatint provides a ethereal, shadowy effect to images.
I often add a fourth technique of co'le to my prints. After the metal plate is etched and inked for printing, pieces of thin rice paper - color, hand-painted or tinted - are placed on it. The print paper is then laid on the plate, which is then run through the press to create the final print.
Even though I follow a regimented process, I try to keep some spontaneity in my prints. I approach a piece with a general idea, but allow it to emerge along with the reverse-image on the metal plate. Each iteration of drawing and etching can slightly alter the final image.
Sometimes my original idea is more formal than others, but no matter how far I range from it, the final product has my autograph - my personal vision is always present in the finished image.
I use techniques from oil painting in the printing process, adding splashes of color to the pulled print. I enjoy the mystery of the etching process. In painting, I see the image as it's being created, but in etching, the press makes the final image, and I don't get to see it until it's finished. It's exciting to wonder how close my estimates of the image will be to the print.