Art students, faculty and alums recently put the pedal to the metal for Massasoit Community College’s annual steamroller printmaking event.
Every year printmaking professor Linda Dunn and her “Ink Monkeys” create ten images centered around a theme. This year it was the Year of The Dragon. Each artist is assigned a portion of real estate, so to speak, in what becomes a large, multi-panneled image made from linoleum squares skillfully carved with intricate drawings and fit together with precision. The operation moves outdoors where ink is quickly and thickly applied to the linoleum blocks before the big squeeze.
Faculty member Bob Priest gleefully mounts a (rented) steam roller in what has to be the ultimate example of the love men have for power tools in every conceivable situation (or, as my Aunt Aurelia always says, “there’s a truck in every man”).
While this is not exactly a NASCAR type of event, it does take the studio art experience to a different place. With some careful maneuvering, Bob rolls the beast back and forth over the inked plates which are sandwiched between two pieces of plywood and a very large sheet of paper to receive the ink.
Voila! The centuries old art of printmaking holds up to this mechanized and super sized approach in ways the Gutenberg folks could not have imagined. The resulting artwork is dazzling — managing to be both muscular and delicate. Click on the link below (twice) to see a slideshow of the artists taking it outside.
For those in the area, Ink Monkeys will steam roll their way into Hullabaloo Newport — Rhode Island’s pop-up party on the waterfront on June 27 .
And for a future post, perhaps I could explain how to make the very cool square origami hats sported by the artists!