Printmaking in Matera

I have always been interested in printmaking.  My introduction occurred while studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the early 90s.  The process of etching is fascinating and so many great artists of the past practiced this medium.  There is something about the expressive quality of the etched line that has always attracted me.

Over the years I have continued to dabble with printmaking whenever I had access to a press.  So it certainly was a happy surprise to find a printmaking collaborative in Matera, Italy when I arrived several years ago.  The ‘Via Sette Dolori Grafica’ is a wonderful resource.  The printmakers Angelo Rizzeli and Vittorio Manno founded the studio in the Sassi(or historic center) area of Matera.   Apart from being masters of their craft, they are extremely generous teachers and artists.  Their speciality is Mezzotint, a non acid technique widely used in the 18th century.

Check out their blog here.  Warning: the majority of it is in Italian.

I have stuck to the more familiar techniques of copperplate etching, drypoint, and aquatint.  Here are a couple of examples:

After Self portrait of Velazquez

This a plate that i drew directly from the Velazquez self portrait in Valencia.  That is why his face is turned around.  The toned background is achieved with a different colored ink rolled onto the plate.


Profile of a Girl

Ad Maiora

This is a double plate print.  The internal plate was etched normally and charged with ink.  It is framed with another plate that I deeply etched to get the embossed effect.  Ad Maiora in Latin for ‘Best Wishes.’  The ancient greek word ‘Karis’ (pretty much the same meaning) is in the frame.  Currently, this print is in a show in Mestre that will eventually travel to Perugia.

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