A Printer’s Diary #4 – Current Senior Printers

For this installment, I invited the two senior printers this year, Maria Erikson and Justin Andrews, to write about their second year experience here at Tamarind. Upon the successful fulfillment of second year requirements, including completing original research, printers are certified as Tamarind Master Printers. Maria and Justin have just two more months in the program.

Justin Andrews writes:

I am originally from Sacramento, California. I received my BA in art and psychology from UC Santa Cruz in 2011 where I was first introduced to lithography by Paul Rangel, who taught drawing and printmaking. Paul introduced me to The Tamarind Institute, as he attended the program in the early 80s. After leaving Santa Cruz I moved around, working a wide range of jobs veering from a maintenance man to a cross country ski instructor to working in the meat department at Whole Foods. I finally decided I wanted to get back into art– not as an artist but as a collaborative printer. I applied and was accepted into the Professional Printer Training Program at Tamarind. After the first year of technical training under the guidance of Rodney Hamon, myself and one other student were selected to stay a second year as senior printers, working with Master Printer Bill Lagattuta.

Reflecting upon my experience working as a collaborative printer over of the past ten months, it has been one of the most interesting, fun and stressful jobs I’ve had. Like every job there were terrible days, but it has mostly been filled with incredible experiences. I think the most valuable thing this program has to offer is the chance to peek into the world of fine art printmaking. Before this program, I dreamed of opening a print shop but had no idea how to actually start such an endeavor. This opportunity has allowed me to be a part of a professional studio and see the qualities I both like and dislike, and it will continue to influence my decision-making in the future. Over the past year working at Tamarind, I have befriended artists from all over the country and the world. The artists and other printers made this a truly joyful experience. Working as a senior printer has been the most valuable education I have ever received.

After this year of working as a collaborative senior printer concludes in May, I hope to continue working as a collaborative printer in another publishing house like Tamarind or in a personal studio. I am not sure what my future holds yet, but I am excited by the experiences I have already had and I am ready for whatever comes next.

Maria Erikson writes:

Originally from Estonia, I moved to Sweden after high school where I received my fundamental fine arts education at the College of Printmaking in Stockholm (Grafikskolan). Even though I enjoy experimenting with different print techniques, lithography has become my main medium; its versatility of drawing materials allows a wide range of aesthetic possibilities.

In Sweden, after coming across a previous Tamarind student’s blog discussing their experiences in the Printer Training Program, I discussed the possibility of becoming a collaborative printer with my teacher. He encouraged me to apply. After being accepted, I began the Tamarind Printer Training Program in the fall of 2013. After the first year, where I received intense technical training in lithography and refined my collaborative printing skills under the direction of Rodney Hamon, I was one of two students chosen to stay for an additional year as a senior printer. For the past ten months I have collaborated with artists, printing editions professionally under the supervision of Bill Lagattuta. My favorite part of the job is collaborating with artists; getting to know different artists, participating in and contributing to their artistic process is incredibly interesting. I enjoy having artists in the studio and the energy their presence creates in the shop. Working with local artists has been a great way to learn about the local art community as well. A challenging aspect of the job is all the cleaning that color trial proofing involves. However, this trouble is certainly worth the effort once printer and artist have found the right solution, resulting in a beautiful print. Another important and challenging aspect is editioning; I know not to rush through printing as I carefully judge the ink film of each print. My experience at Tamarind has given me a better understanding of technical workings of printing, as well as appreciation of the professional artistic process.

I now wish to continue working as a collaborative printer, taking with me all the wise words shared by Rodney and Bill, such as “a clean press is a happy press and a happy press makes a happy printer” and “if you wanna print well, better use Setswell.” In the future, I hope to open my own print studio in Estonia.

Maria and Justin working on a collaborative print made by a local artist.

Maria pulling a print for the camera.

Justin enjoys whistling while he works.

Justin, Bill and Maria. Bill is retiring this summer.

A popular past time at Tamarind, ping pong is played almost every day during breaks.

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