Until last week, it had been more than ten years since I had attended a Southern Graphics Council conference. I just hadn't invested the time in keeping up with the field of official printmaking. This year, with the conference being hosted by Columbia College, the decision to attend was easy. David Jones, Andrew Whatley, and the whole organizing crew did a super job. Special props go to Jennifer Yorke for coordinating the many associated exhibitions. I was happy to help in the small ways I could, and get reacquainted with SGC from the perspective of a minor player in the host institution. That all said, the single panel I managed to attend, Printmaking as a Medium for International Collaboration: Vietnam and China, was on the basic side. It was useful for artists beginning to wonder how international contact and exchange happens, but not terribly useful for those of us who are already engaged in projects at an international level, and are looking to discuss with others the challenges, contradictions, deeper issues that follow. The demos that I peeked in were over full, pretty much as I recall my past SGC experience. Seems like there should either be more demos scheduled or have some cc tv for the overflow crowd. Or, maybe that's just the reality, the way it's gotta be, given the physical limits of bodies around a work table or press, and the marginal benefit of craned necks. I had only about 35 minutes to make the rounds of the vendor fair. The wares on offer were impressive, both gear and finished prints. I was happy to see Tom Huck there flacking his kick-butt woodcut prints. I managed to spend a buck on some amazing washi made by a single-man operation in a small town north of Tokyo, at $15/sheet. Pics of the vendor fair were posted to Printereseting.
There were lots of openings on Friday. I made remarks at the student show, Global Print, and then trekked over to the reception for the sprawling, combined installation of the miniture books show, the Aussie prints show curated by Fred Hagstrom, the International Print Center NY show, and the skateboard graphics show. From there, it was over to the Green Lantern in Wicker Park, from which I didn't leave until late. One of the reasons I stayed for a while was the people and me feeling social.
Roman, Bryce, and Abby from InCUBATE helped with the happy mood. I had fun quizzing Roman and Abby about their masters theses. Anne Elizabeth Moore had Chicago and Providence supporters and collaborators in the room.
Here's a pic showing what Learning Tree became, indoors.
And after it all, you get hungry. Only one place to go.