BIG INK Large-Scale Woodblock Printing at Pyramid Atlantic, Hyattsville, MD
Deadline to submit a proposal: Midnight, Sept 9, 2019
Event Location: 4318 Gallatin St, Hyattsville, MD 20781
Event Date(s): Nov 16 & 17, 2019
Event Time: 10 am - 5 pm
Public Time: 11 am - 4 pm
Link to Submit: https://www.bigink.org/apply/#application
BIG INK, a nationally recognized print arts organization, is traveling to Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in 2019. Pyramid has invited BIG INK to host a two-day event where prints will be pulled from large-scale woodblock plates. We are seeking image proposals from emerging, mid-career, and established visual artists who would like to carve a woodblock, at least 24" x 36" inches in dimension, to print at the event. No prior printmaking experience is required. Any artist that has an interest in print media and wants to achieve a deeper understanding of woodblock carving is welcome to apply.
Upon completing the application and being accepted, artists will have two months prior to the event to carve their design. BIG INK has created how-to videos that guide participants through the carving process. The series draws from invaluable technical observations made by BIG INK's directors and past participating artists. The artists' sole responsibility is to bring a fully carved and ready to print woodblock on their assigned printing day. All consumable materials including paper, ink, cleaning supplies and equipment are included with participation.
The event itself is an excellent way to network with other participants, plug into a growing creative community, and produce high-quality work that can later be used for sale and exhibition.
About BIG INK:
BIG INK's mission is to inspire a greater public appreciation for large-scale woodblock printmaking and extend its practice. Founded in 2012, BIG INK was originally the brainchild of Lyell Castonguay and Carand Burnet. Castonguay, whose personal woodblock work is often monumental in scale, wanted to organize a community of large-scale woodblock artists. Castonguay and Burnet began to host informal gatherings at print studios around their local area. These happenings evolved into the collaborative working model BIG INK utilizes today. BIG INK establishes a temporary print shop on site at affiliate organizations, most often at museums, universities, art centers, studios, and galleries. Artists are selected through a call-for-entry process to attend these events and print original woodblocks at least 24” x 36” in dimension. Since the program’s inception, hundreds of artists have participated in BIG INK events across the country.
About Pyramid Atlantic Center:
Pyramid Atlantic Art Center was founded in 1981 by noted artist and teacher Helen C. Frederick to provide a setting for artistic collaboration and dialogue. A 501(c)(3) non-profit contemporary arts center, Pyramid Atlantic receives federal and state funds as well as generous support from private foundations, corporations, and local businesses. In addition, we count individual donors and our members among our most valued supporters. We are located in the historic Arcade building in the Hyattsville Gateway Arts District. The facility features a papermaking studio, print shop, letterpress studio, bindery, and a darkroom. We also have private studios for artists to rent and a gallery for exhibitions.
BIG INK events are a constructive way to collaborate in a creatively inspiring space while gaining an in-depth knowledge of how to create a large-scale woodblock print. The program is designed for printmakers who understand basic woodblock principles but want to expand their expertise and working scale. The program is also designed for those not yet trained in woodblock but whose visual aesthetic would lend itself to the medium. This includes illustrators, sculptors, designers, and painters who use bold contrast, strong outlines, and patterning. Participating in an event often inspires artists to incorporate more print work in their studio practice.
BIG INK's role is to make the production of a large-scale woodblock accessible and easy to understand. We make the experience rewarding and informative by imparting our knowledge of preferred materials and techniques. We do so through a tutorial series comprised of over 20 videos. Step-by-step instructions guide BIG INK participants with preferred materials and methods including plywood types, image transferring, carving, creating textures, fixing mistakes, tool maintenance, incorporating power tools, and more. BIG INK remains in contact providing guidance and technical support when needed. At the conclusion of the event, BIG INK photographs each participant's finished print. We add this image to the bigink.org online archive. These images are used to help curate BIG INK themed exhibits at national and international art venues.
How Many Prints Are Produced?
BIG INK assists in the creation of three impressions from each participant's woodblock. We pride ourselves on producing high-quality impressions despite that events typically happen in a community setting. Work is printed using oil-based inks on archival paper and the quality is comparable to what you would receive working at a private studio.
What happens to the prints produced at the event?
We request ownership of one print for our archive in order to photograph your work and use it for curatorial projects. At some point, we hope to donate these prints to a museum. The archive consists of over 300 prints and growing. The other two prints remain in the artists' possession.
What do I submit with my image proposal?
We ask for basic contact info, a short artist statement/bio, anticipated dimensions of your woodblock and most importantly a JPG that represents what you intend to carve. You are welcome to submit an image from your portfolio or a new design. Upload your image in black & white via the application on our apply page. Please note your proposal image doesn't have to be completed on a large scale and can be drafted in your preferred medium. Black sharpie, pen & ink, and dark pencil gives us the clearest impression of your concept. Avoid the use of gray tones when possible. Refer to this album of past proposals for inspiration and reference. Images must be solely created by the applicant.
What material should I use to carve my woodblock?
Artists are responsible for purchasing 1/2" cherry ply, 1/2" MDF or 3/8" Shina. Purchase links to materials will be provided to accepted participants.
How big can I work?
Images must be at least 24” x 36” in dimension but no larger than 40” x 96” in dimension.
It is free to submit a proposal; accepted artists pay $300 dollars to participate. This covers all consumable materials for the event including printing ink, paper, cleaning supplies, equipment and photography. The artist is only required to bring a fully carved block.
We are unable to offer scholarships at this time. Past participants have been able to cover funding through local and state grants, The Awesome Foundation or crowd funding platforms like Kickstarter.
Other Commonly Asked Questions:
Q: Can two artists collaborate on a proposal? A: Yes, list both names on the application.
Q: Can I submit an existing image with my proposal? A: Yes
Q: If accepted can I change my proposal image after the fact? A: Yes, as long as it falls within the same aesthetic.
Q: Does my proposal image have to be a certain size? A: Your proposal image can be small. It doesn't have to be the same size as your woodblock.
Q: Am I expected to attend both printing days? A: No, but you’re welcome to.
Q: How many prints does each artist produce? A: Three, one of which is archived in the BIG INK portfolio.
Q: Can I bring my own paper and print more? A: Because we work with many artists at one time we standardize for time's sake. There isn't enough time to print more than three impressions of your woodblock at the event.
Q: What type of paper do we use? A: Masa
Q: What type of ink do we use? A: Oil-based relief ink, bring an apron and wear work clothes.
Q: Do I have to bring any other materials besides my carved block? A: No
Q: Can we print in color? A: Because we work with many artists at one time we standardize for time's sake. There isn't enough time and space for color printing.
Q: How do we transport the finished prints? A: BIG INK provides newsprint to wrap the work.
Q: Do you have recommendations on where to stay? A: We use Airbnb and quality hotels are usually located a short drive away or within walking distance.
Q: What is the best way to transport the finished block if I'm flying? A: You may be able to ship your block directly to the venue. Contact us directly to confirm. When shipping your block please include a return label in the package. This makes shipping your block back home simple.
Q: Can I create an edition of prints after the event? A: Yes
Q: Can BIG INK create an edition of prints for me? A: Yes, for a fee.
Q: Can I cut the block in half to facilitate transport to and from the venue? A: We recommend it for images over 6 feet long. We will abut the pieces together on the press before printing.
"Being a professional sculptor, carving a woodcut was something that appealed to my sensibilities but was something I'd never done. BIG INK's step by step videos was helpful in guiding me through the process. BIG INK answered my technical questions quickly and gave me feedback on my image when I emailed photos. I'm now taking what I learned as a BIG INK participant and integrating it back into my 3-D work." Kerry O. Furlani
"BIG INK encouraged all the participants to work together to execute their prints. The event inspired me to continue exploring scale and surface in my practice and opened up a new channel of communication with a great group of artists." Enrique Figueredo