Show Me Your Print Shop: Ryan O’Malley at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi

Photo credit: Ryan O'Malley

Located on the third coast of the United States, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) is home to a print shop run by Assistant Professor, Ryan O’Malley. He joined the TAMUCC faculty in the Fall of 2009 and has developed multiple ways to maximize the square footage in the shop while materializing a creative space that is organized, yet playful and inviting.  I had the opportunity to visit him at TAMUCC, meet some of his students and see some of the upgrades he’s completed since I last saw the shop.

After entering the print shop’s double doors, you’re immediately struck with an overwhelming amount of prints crawling over the walls. Display cases filled with some of the most prolific and prominent printmakers are regularly curated by O’Malley, they serve a great deal of inspiration for his students. One can compare this entrance to a carnival ride, where expectations are set from the get-go, YOU MUST BE THIS TALL TO RIDE.

 

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The entryway to Tamucc’s print shop.

Over the past couple of months, O’Malley has posted a number of inspiring photos to SHOW ME YOUR PRINT SHOP, showing his ability to repurpose items (which we are eager to discard) and create better organization. By gathering studs and aluminum brackets, he created a spacious shelving system for aluminum screens. For safety, sharp edges are covered in black duct tape and labeled with it’s corresponding screen. After coming across some discarded wire dividers, he repurposed them as dividers on another rack used for storing wooden screens. In the photos below, notice that each screen has been named after hip-hop and rap artists, demanding a high level of “street cred” before usage. I love the idea of personifying a printmaking tool, especially one which is so delicate and costly to replace.

O’Malley’s integration of music doesn’t stop there, he’s also taken the time to create a music station where students are able to pick from a variety of tunes from the past and present and blast them throughout the shop’s speakers. I think these are incredible ways to integrate music and printmaking. In the same space, Ryan has installed his custom vacuum table used for screen printing. With the flip of a switch, you’re able to control the suction which flows from small holes punctured through a plexi-glass top. This contraption allows for more precise screen-printing registration.

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Shelving for aluminum screens.

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Detail of aluminum brackets with duct taped edges.

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Found wire dividers are used for wooden screen organization.

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Print shop DJ station.

 

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Printmaker, Ana Cortes demonstrates the vacuum table.

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Vacuum table (detail).

One of my favorite areas of the TAMUCC print shop is a dark room door adorned with prints by artist, Dennis McNett. After entering this darkroom dungeon, you’ll find a clever drying rack built by O’Malley. Four box fans and white pegboard shelves create an incredibly ventilated area utilized for screens which have been coated with photo-emulsion, taking only minutes to dry.

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Darkroom dungeon door covered in Mcnett prints.

 

 

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Super-ventilated shelf in darkroom.

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Super-ventilated shelf in darkroom (detail).

This creative space generates fantastic artistic energy. The evolving wallpaper alone (screenprinted & wheat-pasted images of various artist’s works) serves a great deal of inspiration for students who work within these walls, as well as the number of artists who visit each year.  You can’t help but assume that after a long day of printing, students walk through an incredible hallway of prints with fire in their bellies, eager to return the next day.

Many thanks to Ryan for letting me tour the shop at Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi.

If you’re interested in improving your printmaking spaces or planning to build a print shop, feel free to join the SHOW ME YOUR PRINT SHOP Facebook group. We’d love to see any unique contraptions you’ve developed, ways to recycle materials and anything that makes your print studio more efficient. We are interested in seeing signage, storage, organization and anything downright SMART!

Facebook members can join here: Show Me Your Print Shop. If you’re not on Facebook, check back on Printeresting for more printmaking spotlights.

 

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Categories: Printshop Tour


2 Responses to “Show Me Your Print Shop: Ryan O’Malley at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi”

  1. kat schmidt says:

    Out of curiosity, was there a specific artist for the top picture and the last picture? Or was it a collaboration of epic proportions?

  2. Lisette Chavez says:

    Students and visiting artists collage over the walls in the print shop. What you see in those photos has accumulated after the past five years at TAMUCC. @kat schmidt