Thursday, December 22, 2011

Taller Experimental de la Grafica, Havana, Cuba.

I had heard that this studio was a hidden gem near the catedral in Habana Vieja...and it's so true.

On my trip to Cuba in December 2011, I made my way to explore Taller Experimental de la Grafica, a print studio and gallery in the old part of Havana. It's quite impressive! In all, there are over 50 artist who work here, many of which were busy making prints on the thursday morning that I visited. There is also an art gallery on the second floor featuring the prints from the artists who create their work at the studio.

I was really impressed with the quality of work produced, and managed to select a few monotype prints from Guillermo Vantour Garcia. I found it hard to decide which ones to choose, they are all so beautiful... so I made my way back home with four of them.

If you are in Cuba, and love printmaking... definitely stop in for a visit.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Artist in Residence in Lecce, Italy

In October, 2011, I traveled to Italy to print a book for the National Gallery of Canada. I decided to research if perhaps there were some printmaking workshops in Italy around the same time, and turns out, there was one in Lecce the week after I was due to complete the press approvals. Perfect. I had never really heard of Lecce until I read about this artist in residence program with Primopiano LivinGallery Arte Contemporanea - a studio/gallery space in the south of Italy.

I decided to take a week of vacation and participate in Multi-plate Wood block print making workshop. The thought of collaborating with other artists, making art, visiting somewhere new, and coming back with some of my own prints sounded too good to be true.

And in a way... it was. I was hoping to meet other artists, and have the chance to socialize and explore Lecce with others in the evening... only to find out I was the only one who had signed up for the workshop. "Oh, Anne...not what you expected was it?" After traveling "sola" on many trips, I guess I was looking forward to meeting other artists. The hours for the workshop were also not what I was used to. Working 10-1 p.m., having a lunch break from 1-5 p.m., and then working again from 5-8 p.m. was not ideal for me considering I am the most productive early in the morning. And... did I mention the workshop was all in Italian???

In a way, I was disappointed to have been the only one in the course, but as Dores (the teacher) reminded me... that many artist dream to have an entire studio to themselves. I did learn lots of new tips from Dores, and managed to completely take over the studio space and press, and created whatever I wanted. I also reworked my hours by mid-week to something that worked best for me. The benefits of being the only one in the program!

Although I found carving wood to be quite difficult at first, the results on press are beautiful. During the week, I made several prints, including some patterns, my little espresso cups, the luce di lecce, and some multi-coloured plates.

Next trip... I might make sure there are other artists participating though.