Gretchen Wagoner: Mating Hera Buckmoths

Released Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mating Hera Buckmoths, by Gretchen Wagoner.
15% of the gross sale of this print goes to the Jane Goodall Institute.

Gretchen Wagoner is an artist living and working in Long Island City, NY. Originally from the midwest, she obtained her BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. While there, she did a study program that brought her to New York for the first time. Gretchen fell in love with New York and decided to move to the city as soon as she could after graduation - she has now been here for twelve years. Currently, Gretchen works primarily on paper - using collage, watercolor, gouache, graphite and also the Gocco printing method.

Making the print.

About the print:
The print "Mating Hera Buckmoths" is the continuation of a theme I have been exploring within my work for the last year or so. I am fascinated with butterflies and knots. My interest lies in the delicate yet resilient characteristics of a butterfly as opposed to the robust and stabilizing mechanisms of a knot. Natural examples of conformity and deviation - both are symbolically used to describe physical characteristics brought on by strong emotional reactions. Having butterflies or knots in your stomach may physically feel similar but evoke completely different emotional connotations.

This is a two-color Gocco print on Arches Rives BFK 100% cotton rag paper, with a neutral pH.


What has inspired you recently?
Luckily for me, my father is a butterfly and moth enthusiast who also happens to take great nature photographs, which supply me with much inspiration. I also love viewing art that is executed in completely different mediums than mine but that I seem to have an instant connection with. Roxy Paine's Maelstrom on the roof of the Met comes to mind. As does Tara Donovan's installations made with recycled materials.

Why did you choose to pair the Jane Goodall Institute with your print?
I choose the Jane Goodall Institute since nature and animals have always played an important part in my work. I've also had much admiration for Jane Goodall ever since I saw a documentary on her when I was a teenager. One thing in particular that stood out to me in the Jane Goodall Institute mission statement is that they "strive to respect, nourish and protect all living things; people, animals and the environment are all interconnected".

How have you seen art transform the world around you?
Effective art makes one stop and look at things in a different way, to think about something differently. It raises questions. I think one of the beautiful things about art is that it invites discussion that may lead to much more - including action and change.

If you could pick one artist to mentor you, who would it be?
I’ve always admired Dorothea Tanning's work. She has had such a prolific career and fascinating life. Her work has spanned decades and she has worked within a myriad of mediums. I think her experience and stories would be a great inspiration to any artist.

Who are some artists that other people should know about?
There are so many, but a few that come to mind: Noriko Ambe, Rebecca Bird, Jacob Magraw-Mickelson, and Ricky Allman.

Heather Smith Jones: A New Rescue

Released Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A New Rescue, by Heather Smith Jones

Heather Smith Jones is a studio artist and arts-based preschool instructor who received her MFA from The University of Kansas in 2001 and her BFA from East Carolina University in 1996. Smith Jones' is represented by a number of galleries nationwide and also maintains her own Internet marketing. Her work is in the public collections of the Sprint Corporation and Emprise Financial Corporation and many private collections. She has completed residencies at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Hall Farm Center for Arts and Education. In addition to her own studio work, Smith Jones collaborates with other artists in photography and art projects of multi-disciplines. She resides in Lawrence, Kansas with her husband and their three cats and enjoys quiet days in her sunlit studio drawing, painting and printing.

About the print:
"A new rescue" is a five-color letterpress print incorporating antique type with new metal blocks made from my drawings. I like to layer representational imagery with pattern and arrange the parts in an abstract or narrative way. In this print I have included imagery of a butterfly, seashell, rose of sharon blossom and a wooden boat, each growing from a vine that originates from a tree stump. The boat to me symbolizes the idea of a rescue and the stump or tree represents a source of life.

The original drawing, in process.

I used a vintage letterpress block I have in combination with three separate blocks I had made from my original drawings. I passed this print through my 1930’s era, non-electric Vandercook proof press five times, inked and cranked all by hand.

This is a five-color letterpress print on Rives Heavyweight 175gsm paper.


The printing process.

Three letterpress layers.

What has inspired you recently?
I am inspired by the changes I find in nature and my friends provide a constant stream of inspiration and support.

Why did you choose to pair Smile Train with your print?
Looking through the list of charities was amazing. Smile Train stood out to me and while I was familiar with them, I appreciated learning more. They offer free cleft and palate surgery to children in developing countries giving them and their families new hope. Before the life changing surgery, many are unable to eat properly or communicate and are cast out by their communities. Seeing the smiling faces of children that Smile Train has helped is uplifting and brings me to tears.

Details of the print.

How have you seen art transform the world around you?
I teach at an arts-based preschool and I see on a daily basis how art gives children a voice. I see how the process of making transforms them, how they grow and communicate their stories through what they paint, draw, print and build. Sometimes what they have to say astounds me and art gives them a platform for being heard.

If you could pick one artist to mentor you (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
I would like to catch a glimpse of how Julie Green works, get inside her thought process and visit in her studio. I know I would learn so much conceptually and technically.

Who are some artists you think that other people should know about?
I think we should get to know the artists around us, the ones in our own communities and see what they are doing. I offer that thought to myself as much as anyone. I could certainly benefit from "stepping out" a bit.

Samantha Hahn: Burden

Released Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Burden, by Samantha Hahn.
15% of the gross sale of this print goes to the Kids in Need Foundation.

Samantha Hahn is an illustrator, surface pattern designer, crafter, blogger, and art teacher. Her studio is in Brooklyn where she lives with her husband and dog. She and her husband, Dave, are expecting their first child, Henry, any day now. Samantha earned her BFA in Illustration from Syracuse University and an MA in Art Education from Columbia University.

Select clients include: Glamour Magazine, Craft Magazine, Faesthetic Magazine, Mankind Magazine, Blanket Magazine, Barnes & Noble, Hallmark, American Greetings, Fashion 156, Shirt.Woot, 2k by Gingham, Chikara, ipop, Vaute Couture, Saatchi & Saatchi, Victoria’s Secret, St. Martin’s Press, and Freddy & Ma.

About the print:
This piece is called Burden. It was originally drawn in concentrated inks on thin, colored watercolor paper. Burden features a woman bearing a heavy load, represented by chairs chained to her back. Chairs are really meant for resting in, yet she carries them - indicating a juxtaposition of roles. Sometimes it seems that we create our own burdens in life.

This is a matte giclee print on heavy weight photo paper.


What has inspired you recently?
Lately I've been inspired by my neighborhood and the people in it.

Why did you choose to pair the Kids in Need Foundation with your print?
I'm so happy to contribute to Kids in Need Foundation. Their mission is to ensure that every child is prepared to learn and succeed by providing free school supplies nationally to students most in need. I feel a special propensity for children. I teach art at a lovely independent school with lots of supplies and a great arts programs. It saddens me tremendously that all children don't have equal educational opportunities with great school facilities, wonderful/caring teachers and the supplies needed to aid their learning and enhance their lives.

I'm thrilled that with every one of my prints sold through Working Proof, a donation will be made to an organization working hard to ensure that every child has what they need in the classroom to learn and flourish.

How have you seen art transform the world around you?
I see it forming communities online and in my real environment, connecting people who feel passionately about making things or supporting those who do.

If you could pick one artist to mentor you, who would it be?
That's so tough. I would have to say that I'd like a young Andy Warhol to mentor me - when he was an illustrator trucking his book around from art director to art director. I'd love to hear his advice for me now about how to truck my work around in the virtual art world.

Who are some artists that other people should know about?
I love Lisa Yuskavage. Her paintings blow me away, the colors, the themes, she's just incredible. I also really admire Christopher David Ryan. His work is a mix between graphic design and illustration as well as old fashioned and modern techniques. He's really playful and economic with his lines at the same time.