A Class Reunion (of Sorts)

A Class Reunion (of Sorts): Tony Stoeveken’s Printmaking Legacy is a guestpost by Paula Schulze

“I find your willingness to explore the lithographic process and to push it as far as you can most positive!”Tony Stoeveken

tony-1960sTony Stoeveken at Tamarind Lithography Workshop, late 1960s (image courtesy of Jennifer Trail and Christine Style)

When Milwaukee hosted the 2013 Southern Graphics International conference in March, a group of former students and colleagues of Anthony (Tony) Stoeveken (1938-2011) gathered at Milwaukee’s Jazz Gallery for a tribute portfolio exchange and exhibition. Christine Style, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, organized the portfolio, bringing together prints from artists who worked with Tony during his twenty-eight year teaching career at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM).

StyleWithPortfolios“What I remember most was Tony’s smile of encouragement always with a hint of “okay let’s see what you can really do.”  It was this quiet push that I respected and grew from.” Christine Style, portfolio and exhibition organizer

IMG_8445The Jazz Gallery’s Mark Lawson lights the exhibition, which includes work by Tony in addition to the portfolio prints

“In conversations with him at UWM, it didn’t matter if you were a student, a part time instructor, or a fellow professor, he talked and listened as if you were the most important person he knew.” –Lee Ann Garrison

I studied with Tony in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Creating a print for this portfolio was an invitation to reflect on how he influenced me as an artist and educator. Tony taught lithography with a great deal of technical detail (I am particularly fond of a class session devoted to handling and tearing paper!), but he also encouraged and welcomed my efforts to push the technical limits of whatever medium I tackled. I work with mezzotints now, not lithography, but those technical struggles really haven’t changed.

“This lithograph is the first stone that I have drawn upon since I left graduate school in 1979. . . . I think he would be pleased to know that he is the reason I have reunited with lithography.” –Lisa Englander

Tony received his undergraduate degree at UWM in 1960. After serving in the Marines, he returned to UWM for his master’s degree. In 1966 he moved to Los Angeles to study at what was then the Tamarind Lithography Workshop, becoming one of the first generation of Tamarind master printers. Tony was at Tamarind from 1966 until 1968, and then spent two years at Graphicstudio at the University of South Florida.  He returned to Milwaukee in 1970 and taught UWM until his retirement in 1999.

Tony’s is an important story of the career and influence of that first generation of master printers. The renaissance in American lithography (and printmaking in general) that Tamarind inspired is evident in the private and university fine art presses in existence today. This influence also exists in the work of master printers turned educators—artists/printers like Tony, who spread knowledge and respect for technique to their students at the college level. Many of those students (and their students) are now educators and artists today.

IMG_8403Volunteer Matt Plain installs exhibition labels

Tony did not cast the shadow of his own work over his students. The variety of work in this tribute portfolio demonstrates that his influence was not about style or even a specific medium. In the statements submitted by other participating artists, I read much that echoes my experience with Tony: his interest in work at all levels, from undergraduate to graduate; his sense of professionalism as an educator; his mastery of lithography; his thoroughness; and his approachability.

On the list of portfolio participants, I recognize names of artists I knew from my time at UWM. There are also artists who I didn’t realize shared a connection with Tony. And there are others who are new to me altogether. In contributing to this portfolio we are sharing in something like a class reunion, and we can recognize in new and familiar names a sense of kinship in creating a tribute to Tony.

clapper“His lessons were always thorough, with no shortage of technical information, and yet, it felt as if he were inviting me to learn, experiment, and make mistakes, as opposed to delivering a lecture.” –Kate Clapper [www.kateclapper.com], Small Repairs, collagraph with handwork

larson

“He shared the importance of believing in the process and techniques that allowed each artist to freely share their individual mode of making within the rhythms of the printshop.” –Dara Larson, Printshop, serigraph and watercolor

niver

“During this time he seemed to rely on his sense of professionalism for strength; the strength to remain calm during the tempest and not to let it enter the classroom or the graduate studios. I’ve always admired this about Tony Stoeveken.” –Chris Niver [www.huggettandniver.com], The Calm During the Storm, linocut

ariens

“The animal image in my print was drawn directly from a print Tony gave me when my daughter was born.” –Melanie Ariens, Leonids Over the Lakes, monoprint (relief with screen print)

lutsky

“Tony had a great respect for his students, all of them, all of the time, as well as a lot of patience and a good sense of humor.  His critique regimen, appreciation first, followed by questions and comment was demanding, yet at the same time, encouraging.” –Berel Lutsky, Untitled (Landscape with Floating Bhudda), stone lithography with added digital element

wilson

“Our discussions rarely focused on the technical aspects of lithography, but rather on the aesthetic and ethical aspects of making art. . . . I try to keep him in mind as an example both as an educator and as a person.” –Mark A. Wilson, Gift, lithograph

Anthony Stoeveken Tribute Exchange Portfolio
Participants: Christine Style, Melanie Ariens, April J. Atkinson, CathyJean Clark, Kate Clapper, Stephanie Copoulos-Selle, Lisa Englander, Lee Ann Garrison, Dara Larson, Berel Lutsky, Chris Niver, Cheryl Olson-Sklar, Jessica Poor, Paula Schulze, Leslie Vansen, and Mark Wilson.

Biographical information courtesy of Jennifer Trail and Christine Style

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