Current Printmaking chair Nance O’Banion first started teaching in the Textiles Program (printed and constructed) in l974 when the college was California College of Arts and Crafts, joined the Printmaking Program in l987, and has been chair since 2001.
Former Printmaking chairs have included such luminaries as printmaker/painter Charles Gill (1960s–1998) and writer / book artist Betsy Davids (1998–2001). Other notable faculty members who have shared this responsibility include Jack Ford, Ken Rignall, and Thomas Wojak.
The Printmaking Program offers a wonderfully rich vitality due to the passionate energy of the students and faculty, and Nance is honored to be a part of all of its magic.
There’s nothing like the magic of lifting the blanket and peeling back the paper off a plate to reveal a freshly printed image, or raising a newly formed sheet of handmade paper out of a vat, or hearing a squeegee full of color zip across a screen, or watching someone read a book you’ve just made.
The magic lies in the transformation of your idea into a tangible work of art that makes the idea visible and accessible to others. There’s also incredible magic in sharing these experiences and ideas with your students.
History & Tradition
Printmaking is an ancient art that spans a wide range of world cultures -- from the Sumerians (circa 4000 BCE), the Olmecs of Mexico (circa 1000 BCE), and the Chinese (circa 175 AD) through Gutenberg (circa 1440) and the Japanese with ukiyo-e (circa 1600).
Rembrandt, Goya, William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement, Kandinsky, Picasso, Warhol, the Pop movement, Jasper Johns, Rauschenberg, Kentridge, Kiki Smith, and many others have all created significant works in print. CCA’s Printmaking Program includes such notable alumni as Robert Bechtle, Nathan Oliveira, and Johanna Drucker. For students and faculty alike, being a part of this long tradition is a source of pride and relevance.
The Essence of Print
Craft is at the heart of print, yet craft is not just about technique and technology; it is not only a way of thinking and experiencing the world, which is personal, physical, often social and political, but also always focused on creating meaning with the hand.
Craft is about the interaction of the maker, materials, process, and equipment. Metal, wood, stone, and paper all contribute to the unique character and content of each print or book. A student of mine likes to say we work in “cahoots” with the materials. Each material and method provides its own vocabulary, from which the artist selects to create a visual story.
Also intrinsic to print is the multiple. Print is often called a “democratic medium” because it can be accessible to a large audience through the multiple production of economical art, like the poster. Gutenberg’s Bible and Goya’s etchings are examples of print works that had transformative effects on society.
Yet the concept of the multiple also creates unique artistic possibilities; one image can be manipulated and altered in sequence. Print allows us to explore the full range of interpretation of an image, and more fully and deeply experience its meaning and impact.
Printmaking at CCA is a lot about community, formed by collaboration, exchange, and camaraderie. Regular exhibitions, competitions, potlucks, and our relationship with a sister institution, Osaka University of Art in Japan, are a few ways we strengthen who we are.
Our Bay Area location also makes possible relationships with institutions like Crown Point Press, Paulsen Press, Electric Works, Magnolia Editions, KALA, San Francisco Center for the Book, and the Achenbach Foundation at the Legion of Honor Museum, to name just a few.
Printmaking and book-arts classes are open to all program majors, which inspires collaboration with other fields of study and expands the interdisciplinarity of the print community. Students from all of the college’s disciplines bring special skills and perspectives to the studio to learn, share, and explore their individual directions and creative paths.
The Printmaking faculty is composed of makers. Each instructor of a studio course is a practicing artist who often creates prints or books alongside the students, making the classroom even more alive and challenging. Editions, portfolios, and trades at the end of the semester, including the instructor’s work, are typical for many studio courses.
Osaka & CCA
Watch video: Osaka University of Arts students meet with Printmaking and Graphic Design at CCA.