Dispatches from The Central Valley

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On a recent trip to Fresno, I was lucky enough to spend time a two hard-working print programs. The first of these was the print studio at Cal State Fresno. Fresno has a sturdy and well-loved print shop, situated in an out building set in a larger Art and Design Department whose sand courtyards and open cement architecture was reminiscent of a Tatooine trade port town. The Print studio itself is a model of efficient use of space, operating under the careful management of, my host for this trip, Matt Hopson-Walker, a talented print artist, and long time supporter of this blog.

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Like many state programs these days the Cal State Fresno print studio had been making more with less for quite a while. There was evidence everywhere of sweat equity of both faculty and students to make the their shop great. And you could tell everyone involved took a great deal of pride in their creative workspace.

Please enjoy this photo essay of my tour of the print studios at Cal State Fresno and the College of the Sequoias.

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The shop was organized into a traditional ‘zone defense’, with areas dedicated to each primary media, with a good deal of overlap space for students to work.

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The shop was full of funny/weird signage, and trophies of past events.

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’nuff said.

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It was reported that Marquitos Tacos, a local establishment, had been an in-kind sponsor of the semi-annual multi-school Printocalypse event.

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Mug rack.

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Printmaking Panda representin’.

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Things neatly organized.

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I haven’t seen so many Griffin presses in my life. Not so many have migrated to the East Coast, but they seemed to abound out here.

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Litho area.

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Strange golden walrus and golden brayer trophies.

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Some kind of print masks.

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They have the distinction of having the largest collection of Starbucks print shop aprons I’ve ever seen.

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Etching area.

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Emergency wash station, and  a detail below.

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Dual deck hi fi.

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And one the more remarkable things about this shop, is that the students design and produce a limited edition print for every visiting artist and major event.

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Each poster is made incorporating the work or style of the visitor.

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Can you find the ping pong paddles hidden this picture? (above)

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Paper soaking.

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Clean table.

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Stickers everywhere!

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The screen printing set-up was entirely DIY build in house, and then spray painted silver (because in the future everything will be silver).

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Off or Hot. Useful signage.

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Winner of most tattoo-inspired acid room sign.

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tattooine.

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Moving onto the College of the Sequoias, I found another hard-working printshop.

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In this case a range of faculty teach printmaking here, but the shop is organized under the supervision of the much loved, Prof. Richard Peterson, and his shop has no shortage of utility or character.

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This shop makes very efficient use of a small space and many areas did double duty for multiple print processes, and not surprisingly this did not seem to effect the quality of the work or the enthusiasm of the students.

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This shop has a thriving litho program.

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True enough.

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I wouldn’t have chosen the serif font, but it’s good advice.

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El Producto.

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I’ve heard of naming rollers, and presses, and litho stones, but never have I seen tympans so immortalized.

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I loved this bilingual art terms list.

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Like, Cal State Fresno, this print shop ran on the equity of it’s faculty and students, in both cases, the students had organized into clubs to raise money projects, visitings artists, supplies, and trips.

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A hilarious list of banned cliche subject matter.
I’ve seen similar at other schools (and keep my own ‘penalty box’), what is interesting is how much you can learn about a place by the cliches the students traffic in.

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The weirdest baby weight lifting poster ever.

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And more stickers!

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Thank you to the faculty and students who made my visit to see printmaking in the Central Valley so much fun!

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Categories: Printshop Tour


2 Responses to “Dispatches from The Central Valley”

  1. justin says:

    the whole place is like a m h-w piece. love it!

  2. Justin Stevens says:

    I’ve only been gone a year but i miss these schools and teachers so much, the midwest is too far from home!