IMPACT Magazine

Behind the Scenes

By Beth Giudicessi

ASU’s printmaking annex contains the largest movable-type collection of its kind—and boundless creativity to go with it.

Some 1,600 cases of type (enough to fill two semitrucks) and printing presses, including an ornate 1834 Columbian Press, make up the pristine Adam Repan Petko Type Collection, which was donated to ASU’s School of Art in early 2016. The collection, named for its donor’s father, makes ASU’s type collection the largest at any institution of higher education in North America.

Graduate student Sofia Paz won “best in show” at the 2015 Southern Graphics Council International conference but feared she wouldn’t have funds to attend the 2016 show—until she was conferred a Graduate and Professional Student Association travel grant. At the event, Paz was awarded second place in the Speedball New Impressions printmaking competition. She applied her prize money to purchase ink application rollers for her intaglio (a type of print made by engraving metal plates) class.

With donations from art suppliers across the country, support from ASU arts organizations, and a recent National Endowment for the Arts Art Works Grant, the biennial Map(ping) Project—led by Associate Professor Mary Hood—invites Native American and indigenous artists with limited printmaking experience to collaborate with graduate student printmakers on limitededition artwork that reflects the personal and cultural histories of those involved.

A-Buncha-Book-Artists (ABBA), ASU’s student-run organization for contemporary artist book enthusiasts, plays host to events and instructional sessions throughout the year. In the spring of 2016, Kate Horvat, Sean Gallagher, and other members of the group welcomed visiting artist Jessica Spring, who ran printmaking workshops that were free, open to the public, and supported by donations from community members.

A stop on the City of Phoenix’s regular public art tour is Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, home to two award-winning projects: Variable Order, a letterpress printing-inspired terrazzo floor made of more than 1,000 embedded metal letters, and Trace Elements, two connector bridge glass murals featuring scaled-up nature prints. The works, commissioned by the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture Public Art Program with funds from the Aviation Department’s Percent for the Art Program, were created by Daniel Mayer, director of Pyracantha Press, ASU’s production and research imprint.

The ASU printmaking program’s recent ranking as fifth in the country by U.S. News & World Report helps attract talented artists like Emily Ritter. She helps fund her graduate education through the Richard L. and Mary A. Shindell Rock, Scissors, Paper Printmaking Scholarship and two other privately supported awards.

ASU’s Pyracantha Press prints fine books and print publications for private individuals and special collections, including the Getty Center, Yale University, Klingspor Museum in Germany, the Library of Congress, the Bodleian Library, and others. The press is self-supporting and receives sustaining gifts from the Hatchfund and the Philip C. Curtis Charitable Trust.

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