Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Fall 2014 Keyholder Resident Artist at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center is Christine Adams, an Arizona State University graduate,  with a BFA in printmaking. Adams is currently working on a series of lithographs dealing with different kinds of pain, which she describes as a human emotion that is not often talked about, but one that everybody feels at some point. It is through this often secretive emotion that Adams attempts to connect with the viewer through her work. Adams says that this is not a new theme for her work, describing human emotion as a potentially endless source of inspiration that she can draw on for a long time, and that even though pain is a negative emotion, the act of making art about it can be positive.
Adams also describes how the aesthetics of lithography are very different from screenprinting and etching, and says she enjoys how the ink soaks into the paper instead of laying on top of it. The image she is currently working on involves a self-portrait, but Adams describes it as merely a place to start, as she intends to focus more on the written word. Adams described hand written lettering as being more individual and personal, which is more appropriate for the subject matter she is leaning towards, rather than something like letterpress.
When asked why she came to Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, Adams says she heard about it from friends, who knew about it and came here themselves, and decided to visit it herself. Finding it to be a great space to work in, Adams applied to be an artist in residence and was accepted. She says that even though she was ready to focus primarily on lithography, the workspace has so many possibilities with its printshop, letterpress studio, and bookbindery, that there are many directions that an artist could go at Pyramid Atlantic.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Fall Studio Interns have landed!

The new fall interns just arrived, and are already down to business. They took time out of their busy schedule, however, to interview each other.

                     Left to Right:  Brad Luke, Kristina King, and Dave Miller

Kristina King
Interviewed by Brad Luke

BL: Where are you from?
KK: I am from Tarrytown, NY

BL: And where did you go to school?
KK: I went to Denison University in Ohio where I got a BFA in studio art:

BL: Ok, and how did you get into art?
KK: It has always been a part of my life. I started drawing when I was a kid and I got really serious about it in high school and I was looking at liberal art schools that had art programs, so that’s how I ended up going to Denison.

BL: What do you like to do when you aren’t drawing or making art?
KK: I like things like knitting, yoga, visiting family and friends, but art is pretty much a full time job for me.

BL: What do you like to draw?
KK: I’m more of a realist in my drawings, so a lot of portraits and landscapes. Those sorts of things.

BL: What made you decide to come to Pyramid Atlantic?
KK: I had just finished a summer internship at  Dieu DonnĂ© which is a papermill and I was researching other papermaking opportunities and Pyramid Atlantic really stood out to me because I had family nearby and  they have so many different  opportunities and classes to take and so it looked really great.

BL: What drew you to papermaking?
KK: I really enjoy the process of making paper. There are so many different applications for handmade paper. I can make three dimensional sculptures and involve my own drawings on my paper creations. The medium has a lot to offer.

BL: What do think of Pyramid Atlantic so far?
KK: I really love it. It’s so open and everyone is really friendly. They’re very helpful. I can’t wait to just be here for the next few months.

BL: So, what are you most excited about learning at Pyramid Atlantic?
KK: Definitely, anything about bookmaking or letterpress. I just want to experience as much as I can and learn new techniques. I am really excited about that.

BL: You plan on being all over the place?
KK: Exactly. I came here to do papermaking but I want to learn new skills. Taking printmaking classes and especially the printstallation class.

BL: Do have any plans for after Pyramid Atlantic?
KK: I guess it’s up in the air. Maybe I’ll move back east. I guess I don’t know.

Brad Luke
Interviewed by David Miller

DM: Brad, where are you from?
BL: I’m from Mississippi. I went to Mississippi State University for a BFA in drawing and I went to the University of Mississippi for an MFA in studio art with a concentration in printmaking.

DM: Ok. And you were born and raised in Mississippi, is that correct?
BL: Yes.

DM: How did you hear about Pyramid Atlantic?
BL: I heard about Pyramid Atlantic  from a friend at Ole’ Miss. and she showed my a brochure and some literature about Pyramid and she said I should try it out and I tried out for a few other things at the same time and I got the internship and here I am. But I heard about it from a friend.

DM: What would you say your main printmaking technique is?
BL: I really like all of them but I like intaglio. I like etching on copper. Copper flashing. I do some zinc plates but I mostly like etching on copper.

DM: What would you say first got you into art?
BL: Well, when I was a kid, I drew all the time and I think growing up and playing video games and watching a lot of cartoons. I was always more interested in things that come up in my head and I really liked to draw them. I just love to draw. I’ve always been in to it naturally I think.

DM: What would you say you do when you’re not making art? What do you like to do?
BL: Hmm.. Like I said I’m really into playing video games and watching cartoons. I don’t do as much as I used to. I really like to read. I really like to watch movies.

DM: What are some of your favorite movies?
BL: That’s really tough. I like The Wizard of Oz. When I was a kid they would show it on TV every year and I would always watch it. It really brings home a lot of things for me. As far as movies I’ve seen over and over again, I’ve seen Terminator I and II like a dozen times. I also really like anime.

DM: What about music? Do you have a favorite band?
BL: Right now I’m listening to a lot of Muse and Metric and The Sounds. I really like nineties music, like grunge. The Smashing Pumpkins.

DM: What do you look forward to experiencing the most at Pyramid Atlantic?
BL: I’m not sure yet. I guess I want to learn more about how a place like Pyramid Atlantic works. What goes into running a non profit center and even all the new techniques they have to offer.

DM: Is there anything else we should know about you?
BL: I really put a lot of myself into my work.

DM: So it’s kind of autobiographical?
BL: Oh, yeah. You can tell what kind of day I’m having just by what I’ve been drawing. That’s a big part of my art.

David Miller
Interviewed by Kristina King

KK: So tell me about yourself? What’s your hometown?
DM: My hometown is Glendale, Arizona. I was born and raised there and I went to Arizona State University and I’ve lived there ever since until now.  

KK: When you’re not making art, what do you like to do?
DM: I actually like to ride my bike. Recently, I’ve tried to become more physically fit. I want to learn to cook. I have a lot of friends who are cooks and chefs and I’ve noticed there is a few similarities to cooking and art making so I like to think about that.

KK: What do you like to cook?
DM: I don’t know. I can hardly boil an egg but  I guess I would really like to make my own lasagna someday. I love it.

KK: So how does it feel to have so many Arizona people around at Pyramid?
DM: It’s a little tricky. I don’t want the Arizona people to be a clique so I think it’s really important to share the workload and get to know other people. Everyone from Arizona is my friend but I think it’s more important that I meet new people.

KK: What are you most excited about in doing this internship at Pyramid Atlantic?
DM: I’m most excited about meeting other artists, especially professional artists. Getting to know how they approach their work and hearing how they’ve grown over the years. From being a recent grad to someone who makes a good living creating art in printmaking.

KK: Are there studios or classes that you’re excited about taking?
DM: I’m very excited about learning how to make paper. ASU does have an excellent paper making studio however I chose not to learn it there. I just didn’t end up taking any classes so I feel like that’s something I fell behind on and I want to catch up.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


And this is the face they make when someone leaves ink on their squeegee.

But hey, don't let their sassy expressions intimidate you. These three would be happy to introduce themselves!

Name: Brittani Locke

Education: Senior at University of Maryland Baltimore County, majoring in Print Media

Favorite mediums: marbling paper, sculpting paper, fabric, and wire, screenprinting, intaglio

Favorite artists: Aubrey Beardsley, Gustav Kimt, Alphonse Mucha

Best thing about printmaking is: the variety of techniques, the openness of experimentation

What I drew as a kid: A rainbow sunset with a palm tree silhouette!

What makes Pyramid Atlantic a great place to intern?

Well, they are well-known and respected in the community. I like that there is a diverse range of artists who are involved with Pyramid, and seeing their various talents. The studio also has a lot to offer in terms of equipment and instructors. Not to mention, the location is pretty happenin'! There are also a lot of interesting people and restaurants around Georgia Avenue. 

What are you the most stoked about with your summer internship?

I'm really excited about the Japanese-style Woodblock Printing workshop that I signed up for. I've always been fascinated by the prints made in this technique and I'm looking forward to trying it myself!

What has surprised you about Pyramid Atlantic?

The generosity of the artistic community here. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming, and really good about making you feel at home! The first week we already had a pizza party AND an ice cream party - it's just easy to socialize and network here. 


Name: Ashley Fisher

Education: Senior at the University of Northern Iowa, Studio Art degree with a printmaking emphasis, minors in Gender Studies and Art History

Favorite mediums: printmaking (especially relief and intaglio), photography, graphic design

Favorite artists: Christian Boltanski, Nancy Spero, Francesca Woodman, Kathe Kollwitz

Best thing about printmaking is: the dependency on a community. Not just because we have to share equipment and can enjoy socializing, but the printmaking community is small enough that you could have connections all over the world!

What I drew as a kid: foxes! And fox-people hybrids.

What would you tell a person who is considering an internship at Pyramid Atlantic?

I would say that enthusiasm and drive are key. There are a ton of opportunities to learn new things here. You should be open to them and dedicated to working with your hands and to the graphic arts. Just be confident and put yourself out there!

What was your first impression of Pyramid Atlantic?

I was even happier than I imagined I would be! I was excited to hear that we will be visiting museums in DC, having critiques with resident artists, and getting training in all the studios here. Not to mention getting to participate in a free workshop! It's crazy awesome how well they treat their interns and they care about you growing as an artist, it's their top priority. 

What do you hope to achieve at Pyramid Atlantic?

I want to learn as many new techniques as possible. I also want to network, make new friendships and to grow as an artist in order to prepare for my BFA show. 

Name: Devin Goebel

Education: Senior at Indiana Wesleyan University, majoring in Printmaking

Favorite mediums: woodcut, letterpress (my new found love), sculpture, and knitting (cat sweaters)

Favorite artists: Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, and too many printmakers to mention.

Best thing about printmaking is: the lines you can make in carving, the smell of oil-based ink, and working with good paper. What really draws me to printmaking though is that it makes art accessible to the masses, not just the upper class.

What I drew as a kid: people with macaroni arms and no hands!

What do you hope to take away from your summer internship?

All of the papermaking knowledge! Not to mention, the experience of working in a community print workshop, meeting awesome people, and making some gnarly prints. I hope that I walk away with inspiration and direction as I begin on my senior show next semester.

What brought you to Pyramid Atlantic? How did you become interested?

It all started with a Google search for printmaking internships. I talked to a professor of mine about it and he strongly encouraged it. So I applied and the rest is history. 

If you were to replace your hand with a printmaking tool, what would you choose?

Hands down (no pun intended), a carving tool. It's one of a few that can serve multiple purposes. You can't do much else with a squeegee or a quoin key.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hailing from Mexico City, we have...

Introducing...., Ivan Mendez Vela!

For a few weeks, Ivan will be filling the book bindery with paper, book boards, ink bottles, and brushes...all shaping into beautiful, three dimensional books.

Ivan graduated from Escuela National de Artes Plasticas, one of the few national schools for visual arts in Mexico City. After a week, and already noticing a large 3D book model covered with intricate ink drawings sitting in the bindery, we decided to pick his brain as he worked. Ideas about culture, the beauty as well as heaviness in Mexico City, favorite English words, and comparisons of Mexico City and Silver Spring quickly started buzzing around the studio. 

He spoke about a sadness that seems to exist in the area where he is from. It can be seen through the actions of the people day to day; littering is common place, as well as the lack of motivation. As Ivan puts it, "I call it the I don't life style...I don't want to do anything". Even though this seemed like a depressing conversation at first, Ivan started relating it back to his work, and things gained a depth that was refreshing.

Ivan's work integrates wonderful, inky markings that create a warm and intriguing, yet a little creepy, atmosphere. The markings aren't perfect, but it seems like each has it's perfect place. "I became impressed by the atmospheres that Victor Hugo captured in this book I found. You know, they look maybe creepy, maybe like bad memory, maybe intriguing in a good way." And he goes on about how he wants to take that atmosphere, the idea of an unconscious sadness existing in his city, and create understanding through the eyes.

Onward to happier questions, when asked about his favorite word, Ivan's face lit up. "YES! Witchcraft!" We both laugh. I didn't expect that word... but then again, what words do you expect with that question? "Anything with the sound craft. Woodcraft, aircraft, anything..but witchcraft is the best."

When asked about the biggest cultural difference he's experienced so far, his face lit up again. "Washington D.C. is like a model! Everything so beautiful, so clean. Each house with a garden, and beautiful trees. I thought Oh my god, I'm not in my land anymore!"

...And the conversation went on, with Spanish and English words mixed. In half an hour, I'll cheese-ly admit that my heart was refreshed by talking to an artist whose work connects so much to their land.

Come check out Ivan next week when he gives an artist talk at Pyramid Atlantic!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring Has Sprung! Maybe?

Well, the season is here but Mother Nature seems to be nostalgic for the wintery storms. Consequently, she continues to sprinkle her cold, snowy goodness on us as we near the end of March.

Never the less, even though the remains of frosty grass and snow covered branches were not an uncommon sight last week, that doesn't prevent all of us here at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center from springing into gear! If you come by the studio you'll see that the presses are pressing, the beater beating, wood-type is falling into place, and we have welcomed in two new interns!

Please say hello to Hope Sorensen and Lee Nowell-Wilson, hailing from Fredrick and Baltimore, MD.

Hope graduated from the Corcoran College of Art + Design, and grew up with her twin sister. She adds the disclaimer that her twin's name is not Despair but rather is Tegan! Joining them is a cat named cuddles...very old, very lazy, but very good at cuddling. When asked where Hope got her name from, she tells of the days that her mother worked in a cancer center and said "all you need in this lifetime is a little more Hope." And the rest is history, folks! Kind-hearted Hope became the hope, cuddles with Cuddles, and eats vegetarian!

Lee graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2011 and since then has been living it up. She spent a couple months in Honduras teaching 1st graders, and then came back to meet her husband while rock climbing. During all this she started a mural painting company and you might see some of the murals around the Baltimore + DC area. The first time we went out for coffee she got the largest hot chocolate at Zed's, with just as much whipped cream on top as liquid in the mug!

What's Happening in Our Studios: Clare Winslow and Gretchen Schermerhorn in Print Shop


 Gretchen Schermerhorn tutors Clare Winslow

 inks and roller

 Clare prepares the plate (1)

 Clare prepares the plate (2)

 the print is pulled!


On March 26, our Denbo Resident Clare Winslow was taking advantage of one of her perks. The residency comes with an offer for technical assistance, which can be taken advantage of various ways. For instance, for an artist doing large-sized work it may mean having someone available to help maneuver the materials. Clare's choice was to receive a tutorial today from Gretchen Schermerhorn on creating multi-pass montoypes in print shop.
Gretchen explained that multi-pass monotypes involve positive and negative shapes and masking. Layers may be added for running prints several times through the press. Prints may include several colors as in a painting, solid colors, or color layers that create the illusion of several different colors.
Ink goes on the plate, with objects on top of the inked plate, then paper. Objects such as the leafy plants used today block the ink for a printmaking-negative effect, but since they receive ink on one side they may then be used face down on another print for a positive-ink rendering. After the press is run, the print is placed on a rack to dry.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

What's Happening in Our Studios: Combat Paper NJ in Papermaking

On Friday, November 14, Eli Wright of Combat Paper New Jersey was packing up from a week of papermaking with his group. Music from The Decemberists' album "The King is Dead" played in the background as many of the completed pieces lay on a low table. Wright (pictured left) held up a larger piece, where the pulp was splattered around to create the effect.

Combat Paper Project is a veteran-run national organization with affiliate-run mills whose New Jersey affiliate is supported by a printmaking center in Branchburg, New Jersey. The group had seven participants this week, all active duty service members, all patients at Walter Reed, and some from Fort Belvoir, said Wright. Combat Paper Program has been in existence since 2007, the New Jersey section started at the end of 2011. David Keefe and Eli Wright co-founded the New Jersey section. To learn more about Combat Paper Project, visit