Archives for category: Faculty
'Taking the Plunge' graphic designed by Prof. Karen Kresge

‘Taking the Plunge’ graphic designed by Prof. Karen Kresge

“Taking the Plunge” is an annual event at Kutztown U’s Communication Design Dept. where (very) recent grads share with current students their experiences after graduation. Prof. Karen Kresge runs the show. Someday, KUCD is supposed have its own social media campaign, meanwhile Prof. Kresge’s personal Facebook page serves as the resource for recent grads to find and share job news.

One Trick Pony's mascot  © 2013 One Trick Pony

One Trick Pony’s mascot © 2014 One Trick Pony

Speaking of social media campaigns, Danielle McShea worked on a wild one at One Trick Pony, a creative agency in N.J.  She handled social media postings for Virgin Mobile’s FreeFest 2013. Virgin may not be the biggest phone company, but thanks to Danielle, they have a lot more Facebook friends – like hundreds of thousands of friends! Danielle shared advice from her first meeting with Bill Starkey of One Trick Pony at a portfolio review. Starkey asked to see only the one worst piece in her portfolio, saying,  “You are only as good as the worst piece in your book.” By the way, according to their website they are hiring ‘client whisperers.’

Image from the Phillyosophy campaign from visitphilly.com

Image from the Phillyosophy campaign from visitphilly.com

New York, New York, or NOT!

Kelsey Kolvacik got a job for a big NYC agency, McGarryBowen, working on American Airlines social media. One day in NYC she saw a Visit Philly ad that she recognized as the work of the cutting-edge Philadelphia agency, Red Tettemer O’Connell. She had interned there and realized that it was her dream job. Kelsey got in touch with her old supervisor. At the exact moment she clicked the email from Philly offering her the job, You Make my Dreams Come True by Hall and Oates came on the radio.

From Possibilities, the Nike ad that changed Jessyca Pacheco's attitude.

From Possibilities, the Nike ad that changed Jessyca Pacheco’s attitude.

Living Here in Allentown

On the other hand, Jessyca Pacheco, had her sights firmly set on NYC. She went so far as moving in with an aunt and uncle who live in New Jersey. She managed to do bit of freelancing, but needed to waitress to pay her bills. Then a job opened up at the Media Arts Group, the in-house design studio at Allentown’s Morning Call. She got it, but admits that at first she felt she had failed by returning to Pennsylvania. Then a one-minute Nike commercial called “Possibilities” turned her attitude around. She sent me the link. Just click it. Taking the message of Possibilities to heart, Jessyca says she is thrilled by the challenge of projects like this “Red Hot Chili Pipers” cover for Go Street.

This week's Go Street, cover design by Jessyca Pacheco

This week’s Go Street, cover design by Jessyca Pacheco

Kelly Arsi talked enthusiastically about her work at Allebach Communications in Souderton, PA. As a transfer student to KU she had to stay a fifth year, but felt the extra workshops paid off as she designs everything from packaging to annual reports. Jessica Savard is doing a wide range of graphics at MCS Industries. Matt Stachewicz got hired by recently at MAG/Morning Call, joining Jessyca there. Court Woytko, who is a sports and entertainment fan seems to have landed her ideal job at the Sands Event Center in Bethlehem. She met Iron Mike Tyson this week. Raychale Fulginiti and Kelsea Ashworth couldn’t be in Kutztown, but phoned in video greetings from Disneyworld (Rachel) and Boston (Kelsea) where they are happily employed.

Self-portrait illustration by Mellen from www.mellenmade.com

Self-portrait illustration by Mellen from http://www.mellenmade.com

This blog is called Illustration Concentration, which admittedly is the smallest subset of the larger Communication Design major at Kutztown. Typically, only a handful of students complete the illustration concentration. One who did so is a wonderful illustrator who goes by “Mellen,” Melissa Rae Rheinbold. She graduated in December and just began her job yesterday at Crayola. Mellen said Prof. Kresge suggested she send a copy of her illustrated book to Crayola, and the job offer came quickly. We will give her a few days to settle in, but hope to have a future post devoted to Mellen and her illustration work.

KUTZTOWN as GALLERY

artistharvest2013banner

Here is your invitation to walk into Lucky 13 Tattoo & Piercing Parlor and The K’town Pub and Basin Street Tavern. If you don’t want another tattoo, go to Lucky 13 before you hit the bars! Meet Kutztown area artists at a variety of local businesses. Each venue will feature works from one or more artists, and many of the artists will be available to talk to about their work on Friday evening.

Linear Composition, painting by Jan Crooker.

Linear Composition, painting © by Jan Crooker on view at Lucky 13.

What I really like about this event is this: it’s not a fundraiser!  It is meant to build an audience for Kutztown artists and give you a reason to enter a new business. It is free to see. The artists don’t have to pay to play; perhaps someone might buy their work. The Kutztown Community Partnership is the sponsor. Thanks to Kutztown booster Jim Springer of Dunkelberger’s Jewelers for coordinating this unique event.

Navajo Madonna and Child by Maureen Yoder. Kutztown

See Navajo Madonna and Child © by Maureen Yoder at Vynecrest Wine Shop

Artists will also be at Global Libations, Uptown Espresso, Jackie & Daughter, Monaghan Realtors, Wholesome Foods, Adam N’ Eve, Firefly Books, J.A. Meyer, CC’s Wooden Grill, Pop’s Malt Shoppe, Main Street Inn, and Spuds. Start anywhere and grab a list!

Portrait of Azuka ©Leah King at KTL Cigars.

Portrait of Azuka ©Leah King at KTL Cigars.

Leah King was my illustration student at Kutztown. She’s had success lately doing art for children’s books like Bathtime for Brandon by Angela Hunt. Leah will be showing her mixed media artwork at KTL Cigars, 100 Constitution Blvd. Two of my former KU design colleagues are Artist Harvest participants, Dianne V Dockery and John K Landis.

Clay monoprint © by Dianne Vottero Dockery at Dunkelbergers.

Clay monoprint © by Dianne Vottero Dockery at Dunkelbergers.

John Landis is sharing his hand-made miniature buildings. His work will be on view at Colasanti Printworks. He sent me some photos of his tiny buildings based on real places he recalls from his childhood, like the one below. What is happening on the second floor?

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Dress Store and Doctor’s Office © John K Landis at Colasanti Printworks

All the artists and venues will be happy to see new faces. Most are located along Main St. At the edge of town Nectar’s Cafe will be open for dinner Friday Oct. 4 from 5-8pm in celebration of the Artist Harvest. My friend Camille Eaton Romig will be showing quilts there and Nectar’s will be rolling out a new orange cognac coffee just for the event.

Graphic © by Matt Williams of Firefly Books, Kutztown

Graphic © by Matt Williams of Firefly Books, Kutztown

Depending on the venue, the art work may be on view Saturday and Sunday Oct. 5 and 6, as well. However, if you want to meet and great the artists, get to Kutztown Oct. 4. It’s like New York, but smaller.

 

Kutztown,PA: Sometimes on our beautiful Berks county campus we forget 16 miles away our county seat, Reading, is the poorest city in the entire U.S.A. Thanks to KU Prof. Ann Lemon for providing this story.

 Mural Volunteer, photos © Ann Lemon

Mural Volunteer, photos © Ann Lemon

Reading,PA: The mural at Family Promise of Berks County in downtown Reading was a collaborative effort between the Outreach Team of Immanuel UCC Church of Shillington and KU’s Designathon.

Designathon is an annual KU Communication Design event where students work for free for 24 hours to design projects for worthy nonprofit groups. The Designathon team consisted of Prof. Denise Bosler and designers/illustrators Mellen (Melissa Reinbold), Isaiah Arpino, Michelle Foster, Dana Harrison, and Brian Martin. Amos Lemon Burkhart, junior designer, was the link between the designers and the painting team from Immanuel. This mural’s “Wild Things” theme was suggested by Family Promise Director Gwen Didden.

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Family Promise is an interfaith program providing homeless families a place to stay together ­through local churches.  This program is unique in that it keeps family units together. In a typical week, it serves three families, providing 168 meals plus shelter. Families are housed at local churches on a rotating basis. Although families sleep at host churches, they use the day center for services, like laundry and job training.

summer_mural3

The Immanuel Outreach team transformed a vacant, gnarly yard at the Family Promise office into a playground for the homeless kids. The team pulled weeds, laid down mulch, and provided outdoor toys. The cinder block wall was an eyesore. Reverend Megan Huesgen and Sue McCoy of the Outreach Committee thought UCC parish teenagers might contribute a mural. KU faculty member Ann Lemon was drafted to design it. She turned to Designathon.

The Designathon process was remarkably smooth. Mellen took charge and the group collectively decided to assign characters, animals, and background elements to the various artists. Everyone sketched ideas, met to pick the favorite parts, then scanned and vectorized the final art into a unified scene. A simple palette of eight solid colors was chosen to make the painting process easier.

summer_mural6

The paint was donated by Sherwin Williams. The design was traced on the wall using both a grid technique and projector. There was some excitement the first morning of painting when a car slipped out of gear, smashing through the back fence of Family Promise. No one was hurt. The hole in the fence made it easier for 30 plus volunteers to find the site. We had painters as young as 3 years old. A full crew of painters from Immanuel showed up, as well as KU Prof. Kate Clair and her daughter Sasha, and friends. Fleetwood High students helped, too.summer_mural_pics7

The painting took two and a half days, during beautiful cool, sunny weather. The exterior latex gloss paint went on beautifully. At one point the guys who hang all day at the neighborhood garage approached the volunteers and asked, “So, what is this mural FOR?” We explained it was to brighten the play yard for the homeless kids. Prof. Lemon added,”So I guess the purpose is to make people smile. Do you think it will work?” One guy took a long hard look. He smiled and said, “Yes.”

Ann Lemon and her son Amos Lemon

Ann Lemon and her son, Amos Lemon Burkhart

Art by Nathan Fox © 2011 detail from GQ  essay on the hunt for Bin Laden

Art by Nathan Fox © 2011 detail from GQ essay on the hunt for Bin Laden.

Nathan Fox will direct the new Visual Narrative MFA program at NY’s School of Visual Arts. Nathan is a comic book artist and illustrator. Like me, he is a grad of SVA’s MFA Illustration as Visual Essay program.

Nathan Fox's covers for Pigeons From Hell, Dark Horse Comics.

Nathan Fox’s covers for Pigeons From Hell, Dark Horse Comics.

Nathan is juiced about what he calls “the future of storytelling.” I asked him how this new MFA is different. For one thing, it is low-residency with an emphasis on the concept of “Artist as Author.” In fact, writing will account for a full 50% of the program. Every student must create a digital version of their narrative. A narrative created for this MFA program might be a graphic novel, but it might also be an interactive game, an animation, or a mix of time-based and traditional media.

SVAdiagram

Visiting lecturers naturally include stellar comics artists and graphic novelists. Animators J.J. Sedelmaier and John Canemaker are on board. The program promises some unusual perspectives from game developers, typographers, copyright lawyers, and a neurologist.

Students will work in the studio in Manhattan for three intensive eight-week summer residencies. Nathan tells me the Chelsea area studios will have magnetic walls for slapping up storyboards of work in progress. There will be smart classrooms and pop-up studios and where each artist gets an individual workspace.

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Between summer sessions students go home, but continue their projects online. Nathan envisions eight to ten hours work days, six days a week during the summer sessions.

How Much? If my math is right, the tuition will be near $70,000 for the three summers and two “winters.” I asked my junior level illustration class what they thought of this tuition. Several gasped, our instate undergrad tuition is about $8,500 a year. Hannah Stephey was the exception, she said, “Hey, it is a very specialized and really cool degree! It’s like -You want to be an astronaut?  -You have to go to astronaut school! It’s very specialized; and that’s going to be expensive!”

Tit for Tat © Jennifer Daniel

Tit for Tat © Jennifer Daniel (detail) from Latina Magazine

Jennifer Daniel, known for her witty iconic illustrations and infographics will be on the faculty. “Tit for Tat” piece above is a part of a page of slang terms for women’s breasts appeared that in Latina Magazine. Ross McDonald, whose humorous illustration appears below, is also a faculty member.

Art by Ross McDonald, Faculty member.

Art by Ross McDonald, SVA MFA Visual Narrative Faculty member.

Stellar faculty. Presuming he gets similarly stellar students, Nathan Fox may well be onto something as he races towards the future of storytelling with the MFA Visual Narrative. Apply here if you want in.

For God and Country (detail) drawn by Nathan Fox, ©2010

For God and Country (detail) drawn by Nathan Fox ©2011

By the way, the full visual narrative “For God and Country” on the death of Osama Bin Laden (detail above) can be found at GQ.com. Give it a minute to load. The writing is by Matt Fraction, ably illustrated by Nathan Fox, and superbly colored by Jeromy Fox.

Happy New Year. The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for the illustration concentration blog.


We had 39,000 views in 2012. The post that got the most views was a 2010 story about KU grad illustrator Amanda Geisinger working with Spongebob Squarepants. Next is a story about the folk art tradition of Kolam. That story gets a lot of traffic from India, presumably from artists who know more about it than I do. The post features Prof. Josh Miller before he came to Kutztown University.

Next is popularity is Denise Bosler’s guest post, Making it as an Illustrator. Then stories on artists Jerry Pinkney and Grant Snider.

Pigeon Sketch, watercolor © 2010 K. McCloskey

The surprise search term that bring folks to this blog is “pigeon sketch.” I wrote about my project drawing pigeons at Vinnie Torre’s loft in Hoboken. Vinnie helped me refine the sketch above; he thought it looked too much like a street bird. Every day a couple of people arrive at the blog by googling “pigeon sketch.” I guess art teachers are asking students to sketch pigeons, but instead of going out to the park, these students are copying mine. I can upload more pigeon sketches, but kids, pigeons are not that rare a bird.

The detailed 2012 stat report for the blog can be found here.

april

April Vollmer demonstrates how to carve registration notches on woodblock.

April Vollmer recently taught a two-day Moku Hanga workshop at the Printmaking Center of New Jersey.  KU Prof Elaine Cunfer and I took the class along with five other students. I know a bit about Japanese prints, but had never tried my hand at the traditional Moku Hanga woodblock printing technique. April, a great teacher and printmaker, has travelled to Japan to perfect her skills. She has an extensive gallery of her prints online at aprilvollmer.com.

Moku Hanga print "Migration" ©2008 April Vollmer, from www.aprilvollmer.com

“Migration”  Moku Hanga print © 2008 April Vollmer

Moku Hanga is nothing like my prior printmaking experience. I am used to the down and dirty printing of Oaxaca or Tom Huck’s Evil Prints. Moku Hanga is far more refined. I came to class dressed in my ink-stained black shirt and raggedy painting jeans. I learned there is no need to dress like a hobo to print Moku Hanga.  The pigments are water-based and do not stain clothes like oil-based relief printing inks.

2 horizontal pattern prints © 2011 April Vollmer

2 horizontal pattern prints based on nature © 2011 April Vollmer

April suggests beginners might start printing with tube watercolors, but a more economical color can be had by mixing pigments. She uses the pigments from Art Guerra. For wood and carving tools she recommends McClain’s Printmaking Supplies. The wood we used was shina plywood, imported from Japan. The shina and carving tools are rather expensive. A small, 8 by 10 inch, piece of shina ply costs $6.35. April says the expense is due to the currency imbalance between the Japanese yen and the U.S. dollar. If you have never used real shina ply, it is a joy to carve. McClain’s will send you a free sample; find details here.

Ukiyo-e print by Utamaro, circa 1800, printed with mica  background. (Wikipedia)

Ukiyo-e print by Utamaro, circa 1800, printed with mica background. (Wikipedia)

April showed us master Ukiyo-e prints by the likes of Morunobu and Utamaro before demonstrating her technique. One of the secrets of the art is cutting a precise registration corner and landing pad for the printing paper. The best paper, naturally, comes from Japan.

Blue Vortex, woodblock, (detail) © 2005 April Vollmer

Blue Vortex, woodblock, (detail) © 2005 April Vollmer

More of April’s tips: Your work table should be about navel level. Printing is not done with a press, but by rubbing the baren, a light weight disk, on the back of the paper. Printing starts from a balanced standing position with a quick burst of energy using upper body strength. April says she can print faster with a baren than printmakers who use a press. She claims she can print an edition of 25 in one morning and I believe her.

McCloskey making prints of St. Francis. photo: E. Cunfer

K. McCloskey making prints of St. Francis. photo: Elaine Cunfer

She also demonstrated the proper way to hold the paper, set up one’s workspace, and sharpen cutting tools. There was one student who had no prior printmaking experience; even he came away with successful prints. We managed to do an edition of two-color prints with a single block of shina by carving the second color on the reverse side. If you have the opportunity to study with April Vollmer, you can learn a great deal in a brief amount of time.

April Vollmer pleased with her student's prints at Printmaking Center of NJ

April Vollmer seems pleased with her students’ prints at Printmaking Center of NJ

For more insights into the history and current state of Moku Hanga (also spelled mokuhanga) check out April Vollmer’s comprehensive essay in Art in Print. There is also a brief (4-minute) documentary video filmed by Dempsey Rice of April Vollmer at work, here.

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UPDATE: Dec.12, 2012: April Vollmer sent a note about the post above:  “I hardly recognize myself your review is so flattering, but it is great to have someone describe the class. I always have fun, and people learn a lot. I always talk about the history, and how the technique fits into Japanese culture. I do hesitate about the refinements, it can be overwhelming. But my printmaking career (if one can call it that!) has been about making mokuhanga accessible, less precious, but without throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Good tools and good paper are such a pleasure, and actually much more affordable than, say, coated digital paper, computer software, etc. I paid $120 for my large soainomi (fan-beveled chisel), but I have had it for 20 years already!

Printmaking in NY is very different from Mexico, and that is completely different from Japan…The shina (basswood) plywood from Japan is good not only because of its even grain, but because the glue between plys is very thin and waterproof. Printing wet makes more demands on the wood than oil base does. Shina is also very lightweight which I appreciate, having to carry it around all the time!”

She also noted that she has met the legendary Tom Huck and went bowling with him when they both taught at Frogman’s Print Workshop in South Dakota.

Rostislav “Russ” Spitkovsky by Kevin McCloskey 2012

Russ Spitkovsky makes things happen. He came to Kutztown as one of the 9 artists in the 2012 Print Invitational at the Miller Gallery.  The founder of the cutting edge art magazine Carrier Pigeon hung artwork from the latest issue at the Eckhaus Gallery on Main St. He circled back this week as a visiting artist to spend time with students.

oil monotype illustration by Russ Spitkovsky for “Hall of Mirrors”

Carrier Pigeon is an artist-driven publication. Russ and friends began it after grad school at SVA’s Illustration as Visual Essay MFA Program. Each issue has works by six fine artists, plus six writers, and six illustrators.

Carrier Pigeon cover by Cannonball Press, Martin Mazorra & Mike Houston

The magazine has included original etchings and woodcuts by Russ and guest artists including Marshall Arisman, Bruce Waldman and Frances Jetter. KU Prof. Evan Summer has contributed to several issues.

Russ speaking to overflow crowd in KU Print studio. Photo by Evan Summer

Russ shared some mind-boggling stories. Like the one about a meth addict who tells his wife he’s spending their life savings importing alpacas, but the alpacas are being held up in customs. There are no alpacas; he’s building a giant meth factory. The factory bursts into flames and meth maker gets encased in glass and, well, I don’t want to ruin the ending. The full story by Ryan Scamehorn called “Hall of Mirrors” can be found in Carrier Pigeon #3. It is fiction; I hope.

Illustration by Marshall Arisman for “Good Dog” by Erin Browne, Carrier Pigeon #7

Digression: Many years ago I sent a book idea to Lawrence Ferlenghetti’s City Lights Press. A few weeks later I got the best rejection letter ever. It said, ‘Your project is so interesting, you should publish it yourself. We are swamped publishing our own friends. Start your own press. Here are some resources…‘  Russ Spitkovsky never got that memo from City Lights, but certainly he embodies the D.I.Y. publishing spirit.

Kevin McCloskey, Moe Tierney, Russ Spitkovsky. Photo by Evan Summer

Russ was born in the Ukraine. Why do so many amazing printmakers come from Eastern Europe?  KU’s Print Invitational includes Michael Goro from Russia, Ivanco Talevski from Macedonia, Endi Poskovic from Sarajevo, and Russ. It occurred to me perhaps these artists find core concepts difficult to express in English and are therefore driven to excel at graphic communication. Russ provided a better insight into why so many extraordinary artists come from places once under the Soviet sphere of influence. Growing up in the Ukraine he showed a precocious talent for art. He was plucked from preschool and put in an art academy. He was drawing the human figure from plaster casts at the age of four.

Illustration by Russ Spitkovsky from Central Booking, his self-published visual essay.

On the night of January 3, 2009, Russ was walking down a Brooklyn street. The police stopped and searched him and found he was carrying a knife. It was an ordinary knife purchased at Home Depot. The NYPD decided it was a lethal weapon, “a gravity knife,” and threw him in jail. He spent the next 32 hours in an overcrowded holding cell at Brooklyn’s Central Booking. Charges were dropped, but Russ made art from the experience. Upon his release, drawing from memory, he transformed that grotesque night into a visual essay in book form. He published “Central Booking” via the print-on-demand publisher Blurb. The book was not a financial success, but led him to explore other self-publishing options.

Russ loves working with the likes of Martin Mazorra and Mike Houston of Brooklyn’s Cannonball Press. Russ calls Cannonball Press the pioneers of the indy press and affordable art movements. Russ advises art and illustration students not to hole up in their studios after graduation. “Find a co-op print shop; work among other artists.” He said the community of Robert Blackburn’s  NYC printmaking studio saved his sanity. He was able to get instant feedback on his art and stay in a creative loop.

Today, Russ works not only with graphic artists, but an ever-expanding community of playwrights, jugglers, Coney Island sideshow performers and puppeteers. Strange doors keep opening for Russ. Recently someone gifted Carrier Pigeon with a building in Gutenberg, NJ. To keep up with Carrier Pigeon news and events visit their Facebook page.

Justin Sanz, Eckhaus workers Nicole and Megan, Russ. Photo from http://www.eckhausgallery.org/

If you are fortunate enough to be in Kutztown, PA, get to Eckhaus to see the original art from Carrier Pigeon. There are copies of the latest issues for sale. Each issue costs $25. Twenty-five bucks is a lot of money for a magazine, but not a lot for a work of art.

Prof. Josh Miller asked his students to create faces from type. Some of the results were quite fine. He’s hung a selection up outside the CD print lab. I asked him if I could share a few of the best here.


Steve Jobs by Caleb Oshefsky

The class is called Intro to Digital Design II. The exercise is meant to familiarize students with type-handling in Adobe Illustrator.

George Washington (detail) by Caleb Oshefsky

Here is the assignment brief: Create 3 portraits using the Illustrator’s type tools. The first portrait will emulate line. The line can be expressive, descriptive, implied, or directional. You can use contour or gesture. The second portrait represents Shape and Form. Try using negative and positive space in this portrait. The last portrait is Value. Use pattern, emphasis, and space to help create the tones.

Elizabeth Cane’s Portrait

These were the additional ground rules:
Students could the change text to outlines and manipulate the letterform, but it still had to resemble the original letter.  They could rotate, change the leading, kerning, tracking, or change the direction of the text.

Heather Johnson

Screamer by Nick Stover

Interestingly, this week Printeresting.org had a link in their notebook section to the work of Italian artist Frederico Pietella. He does something similar with rubber stamps, but he takes it to a level approaching obsession. See Pietella’s work at This is Colossal.

Patrick McCloskey was born in Killycolman, County Donegal, Ireland. He was my grandfather. He immigrated to the US around 1915. His family in Ireland called him “Paddy the Yank.” He celebrated his birthday on St. Patrick’s Day. My middle name is Patrick, after him. There are many Pat McCloskeys. I’ve got a wife named Patt, an Uncle Pat, and cousins Pat.

St Patrick Driving the Elephants from Ireland ©2010 Kevin McCloskey

My parents were born in the USA, but St. Patrick’s Day was a big deal growing up in our Irish-American household in Elizabeth, NJ. Each spring, the family would fast for the 40 days of Lent. We didn’t stop eating, but we ate less. One pious year, maybe 1961, I went to Lenten mass every morning, meaning nothing but water for breakfast. We’d have a very small lunch. I remember my Dad eating dry saltines. At dinner there was no meat, not even hot dogs, as the days stretched toward Easter. There was no dessert, either.

The Miracle of St. Patrick’s Socks. linoleum print ©2011 KMc

March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, generally falls in the middle of Lent. In early March the parish priests at St. Gen’s would announce that Archbishop Boland was prepared to bless us with a dispensation from Lenten observances for St. Patrick’s Day. There was a catch. First, there would be an extra collection for a very worthy project, and if the collection was robust we got a one-day free pass. We always won the St. Patrick’s Day pass!

After three weeks of fasting, we had a smashing big dinner of beef brisket and boiled potatoes with baby pearl onions in the peas. There was butter on everything. We had Irish soda bread made from cousin Kitty Gallagher’s recipe. Dessert was Mom’s Dundee pound cake filled with walnuts and cherries. Dad would have a Scotch, Mom sipped a Rye and Ginger. The four kids got a dash of ginger ale to toast the glory of St. Patrick.

The Last Platypus in Ireland © Kevin McCloskey 2012

Years later, a priest told me my memory of this dispensation proclamation was “absolute rubbish.” Archbishop Boland wouldn’t do such a thing. Next, some theologians decreed that St. Patrick never existed, or, at best, he’s an amalgam of Gaelic-speaking missionaries. The heck with them. In my mind, St. Patrick will always be a beloved symbol of my heritage. I see him as a canny and powerful man who out-wizarded the druids at their own game.

My St. Patrick print series started in 2010 in St. Louis, Mo. I went to study woodblock printing with the great artist Tom Huck at Evil Prints. Huck has a diabolical persona. His printing press is named for the British Satanist Aleister Crowley. My fellow students were carving Huckish prints of devils and demons, fiends and phalluses. Being a contrarian by nature, I decided to make my print about my favorite saint, blessed St. Patrick.

“Sit, Stay!” © 2012 Kevin McCloskey

Now I have these six St. Patrick prints done. I’ve got ideas for many more. Folks seems to like them. These will be on exhibit at Firefly Books, 230 W. Main St, Kutztown, PA. Show runs Sept. 6 to Sept.30. The prices range from $50 to $150. I hope to make enough to cover my frames and paper. My definition of an artist is simple. An artist is anyone who can increase the value of art supplies. After the Firefly exhibition I will print proper editions of 30 or 40. I will put them up for sale on my Moonpenny Press website when they are ready.

St. Patrick Skipping Rope © Kevin McCloskey 2012

“4 a.m” linocut print © 2008 Frances Jetter

Illustrators rejoice over the resurgence of interest in prints. Some illustrators are also fine printmakers. Some printmakers are illustrators. Above is a print by an artist who manages to live in both worlds, Frances Jetter. We will see her artwork in Kutztown soon.

Portrait, etching ©2009, Ivanco Talevski

Kutztown University’s Invitational Print Exhibition opens Thurs., Sept. 6. Professor Evan Summer is curator. He told me he had space for eight to ten exceptional contemporary printmakers and so made a list of 30 great artists to invite.

Woodblock print © 2012 Endi Poskovic

Nearly everyone said yes, so he didn’t even get halfway through his list. He’s hoping to do it again. Exhibiting artists: Michael Goro, Richard Hricko, Frances Jetter, Endi Poskovic, Rosalyn Richards, Rostislav Spitkovsky, Ivanco Talevski, Rochelle Toner, and Bruce Waldman.

A Fish Rots from the Head Down, etching © Michael Goro

ARTWALK,  Sept 6, Kutztown, PA

In conjunction with the Print Invitational at KU’s Miller Gallery there will be a printmaking themed Art Walk on campus and along Main Street in Kutztown. On campus there will be artwork by KU alums in the SUB. There will be a display of new prints from Oaxaca, Mexico on the 2nd floor of Rohrbach Library.

Silkscreen by ASARO, Rohrbach Library

Main Street venues include: Uptown Expresso, The Independent Space, New Arts Program, Firefly Books, Kutztown’s Main St. Bed & Breakfast, Dunkleberger’s Jewelers, Paisley & Co, Global Libations and more.

Art by Russ Spitkovsky for Carrier Pigeon Magazine

Carrier Pigeon Magazine Volume 7 will have its launch party and contributor’s exhibition at Eckhaus. I’ve only managed to peek through the windows so far, but it looks brilliant.

An Art Walk map with times and addresses can be downloaded here.  Maps will be available at the Miller Gallery’s opening reception, 4pm, 9/6/12. With apologies to the map designer, Wyatt Glennon, I have truncated his lovely map to make the version below:

As a pedestrian and a printmaker, I am really looking forward to this. It is wonderful that the town of Kutztown and campus can partner on such a fantastic project. Miller Gallery Director Karen Stanford should be applauded for this town-gown interaction. The opening begins at 4 pm 8/6/12 in the Miller Gallery in Sharadin Art Building. Most of the Art Walk spaces are open 5-9pm.

I am showing prints from my new series, The Lesser-Known Miracles of St. Patrick, at Firefly Books, conveniently located at 230 W. Main St.

Woodcuts by Kevin McCloskey. Sept 6-30, Firelfly Books, Kutztown

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