Fine Art Printmaking: Why We Think Printmaking is Far from Dying

by . April 28th, 2012

When we had an interview with JP Cuison he shared how he does his prints through screen printing and painting. We got so hooked up to printmaking that we decided to do another interview with a group of print makers from the Philippines. If you’re into printmaking, make sure to check out that interesting post. Since we’re featuring a group of printmakers soon, we’d like to let the internet know that printmaking is not yet dead, well not in the near future.

We’d like to point out that printmaking and printing are two different things. Printmaking involves the creation of artwork by printing it on paper or canvas which produces a different “Impression” in each piece. This makes each art piece produced through printmaking a unique piece of art, normally differentiated through a series of numbers. On the other hand, printing in general is the reproduction of text or image for varying purposes. These can be for posterity, academic, or commercial purposes.


The Beauty of Printmaking

Printmaking has been around as early as the 4th century AD, it’s been used to reproduce religious manuscripts and artworks for distribution. Of course, as time went by, the use of printmaking has evolved from its documentary and preservation purposes to creating works of art, and may have influenced the development of other printing processes.

Aside from documentation and posterity, the real value of printmaking today is its vintage appeal and the activity involved in the process of creating prints. Also, it’s obvious that we humans are experiential and perceptive creatures, who value experience and the feel of the world. An example can be seen through the hobbies that we form – collecting vintage items, appreciating art, eating food, etc. What makes printmaking beautiful is, more than the art and prints, the experience and the engagement of the artist’s senses to his work.


Since we’re up to the challenge of letting the internet know that printmaking is here to stay, we came up with a short list of why we think it’s going to be kept alive, here they are:


A Form of Non-Conformity

Artists today explore different mediums of art – painting, typography, graphic design, etc. – and printmaking is among them. Because of the different processes in creating a print through printmaking, it’s possible for any aspiring artist to find his niche in it. It’s also worthy to note that graffiti and street artists use stencil in most of their work. This makes printmaking a primary tool for rebellious and non-conformist artists that wish to express themselves differently.



An Alternative Medium
Printmaking has a wide array of techniques that can be used by an artist – from woodcuts, etching, stencils, and screenprinting. Since the way art is produced has been streamlined and accessible to the public, much of the artists out there seek alternative mediums for their work. It can provide a fresh take on the digital art you’re working, if you’ve got the patience and will to experiment with it. Printmaking is an appealing medium for artists who are looking for inspiration in other forms of art.



A Collaborative Endeavor
Printmaking has survived throughout history because of its collaborative nature. This collaborative nature stems from the printmaker’s effort to disseminate his work or the information that he has to a larger audience. This then attracts who are interested in either the work or information that he has and becomes a patron. From this relationship, further techniques and improvements are developed, and through this partnership printmaking has survived today.



In Keeping the Tradition
Keeping printmaking as a tradition has already begun. Art students today are being taught of the different techniques involved in printmaking and there most art galleries accept exhibits that feature artists who use printmaking. There are groups and educational institutions that preserve print artworks.


We may not notice it today, but printmaking has changed and improved the way we live today. In contemporary times we are still practicing the same ideology that’s in printmaking. A great example is through the computer that we are using today – they are an impression of a previous medium, the typewriter, which was also taken from a previous medium. These media have been influenced by the printmaking ideology of creating an impression from one surface to another. You can watch Phil Sanders’ Ten Minute Talk about printmaking in MoMA, where he talks about the beginning of printmaking in New York, to how it will stay after a hundred years from now.

If you found an inspiring printmaker or printmaking works that you’d want to get featured, just let us know and hit us up via Facebook or Twitter.

Make sure to subscribe to our RSS feed for design news, inspiration, or freebies.


YouTheDesigner is a graphic design blog under the UCreative Network. We do features; give away brushes, icons, wallpapers, and other freebies; and bring you the latest news in the world of graphic design.