Axelle Editions Studio Visit

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Axelle Editions is the printing wing of Bertrand Delacroix’s Axelle Fine Arts, which has galleries in New York, Boston and San Francisco. Delacroix, a French expatriate, is a larger than life personality, whose high speed hobbies conjure images from a James Bond movie. Among the list of his vices is a soft spot for fine art editioning. In 1999 he invited Luther Davis to set up and run Axelle Editions out of the the Axelle Fine Arts building the Beorum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. Over the course of several months, Luther and his team built out the print studio from the upper floor of an empty former National Cash Registers Co building. Three semis loaded in the presses and equipment to this quiet stretch of Atlantic Avenue.

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For a more detailed origin story visit Squeegeeville which has archived a great interview with Luther about Axelle Editions. Luther and his team produce prints for many of the Axelle Fine Arts stable of artists as well a good deal of contract printing for artists not affiliated with the gallery. With an attitude that no job is too big, small, or strange Axelle Editions has printed for many art world notables. In addition to being the master printer and director of Axelle Editions, Luther is also half of the team that produces prints under the moniker of Forth Estate.

For my part I’ve organized this post primarily as a photo-essay reveling in serigraphic goodness. More photos and information after the jump.

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Luther Davis is no stranger on this blog, a regular commenter and frequent tipster (and in full disclosure Forth Estate was an early supporter through advertising). Beyond his mad skills with a squeegee, Luther is a kind of model citizen of the virtual print community, beyond his regular comments and tips on this site, he can be found offering good advice and regular doses of humor over at Gigposters.com.

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For those of us still dragging squeegees by hand take a look at Axelle’s fearsome printing presses. Yes, once again we are looking at futuristic printing robots.

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For those of you think this print studio looks strangely familiar, maybe because it was used as the set in the never aired ‘printmaking episode’ of Joss Whedon’s short lived space western, Fire Fly

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At Axelle they use blotters to proof screens before committing to editioning; at this point these blotters are better than most art I’ve seen this year.
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About the Sias PSMatic printer, Luther said, “She may not look like much but she’s got it where it counts, kid. I made a lot of special modifications myself”.
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Waste not ink.
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We were introduced to Luther’s work back in 2008, when the Forth Estate first caught our notice and took our ‘Best of Show’ award at the AE/B print fair.

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Clearly they have no shortage of drying racks.

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You have to have pretty big scoop coater to run with these folks. I particularly like the double-fan-wheeled-vehicle-mod.

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The Uvex UV light curing unit, available in Dannish military green, the ink spatters are custom.
And below is Axelle’s nod to steam punk, the Seybold paper cutter.

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Axelle’s impressive archive of prints.

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Thanks for the great tour.

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Categories: Studio Visit


14 Responses to “Axelle Editions Studio Visit”

  1. Lou says:

    nice! thanks for the photos.

  2. Salama says:

    GOODNESS!!! wow I love it! Great photos and print shop indeed. Great work to the team and wish you all the best. Armm…can I work there by any chance..? 🙂

    Thanks.

  3. Luther says:

    OMG, You never realize how messy our shop looks. Especially after seeing Flavor Paper. Got to get cleaning.

  4. Jason Urban says:

    Amze, We should start a project on kickstarter so we can fund you to around the country documenting print shops and making obscure science fiction jokes. Nerd.

  5. Luther says:

    I Defense of what looks like chaos (Even to me). We were finishing up a 105 color screen print edition of 300. And we proofed out a 120 color print at the same time.

  6. Luther says:

    Oh, I didn’t even catch that reference. The shame. I was thinking, “I might have said that… where’s my wookie.. darn interns.”

  7. andymac says:

    Your shop wears its ink with pride. Kind of like a defenceman who just took a puck to the face, and went back out after getting stitched up.

    And 105 colors? I think 7 or 8 is over the top. Don’t they have machines to do that kind of work?

  8. Dan says:

    120 colors? That is so cool. Working out that many separations makes my brain hurt. With that much overprinting (assuming you are doing lots of overprinting)…the prints must have a really heavy, topographic thing going on. Bet it looks super!

  9. Luther says:

    There is lots and lots of overprinting but really there isn’t that much build up. Unless it is called for.

  10. Bill Hood says:

    Nice shop, Luther. You have great equipment to turn out great art!

  11. Luther says:

    Thanks Bill, I keep telling you to come for a visit.

  12. nice shop…i’d love to see an exhibit of work printed at the studio…

  13. Luther says:

    We are planning a 10th anniversary show for early 2011 in NYC.