Kensington: Local Printmakers Prepare for Upcoming Shows

Smith, cut paper to prepare for work.

Smith, cut paper to prepare for work.

After a long day working at an environmental center, Ted Mosher ventures to Sharktown on Cecil B. Moore Ave., a haven for creative minds with various artistic backgrounds from all over Philadelphia. Mosher’s artistic trade of choice is printmaking.

Upon arrival, Mosher is greeted by Shawn Smith (above), a fellow printmaker and friend. After pleasantries are expressed, it’s right to work for the two men and other members of BYO Print, a printmaking collective.

Members of BYO Print, such as Mosher and Smith, pay dues and share studio space at Sharktown, which they have called home for eight months. Most members of the group have full-time jobs and go to the studio at night to work on their art. It’s a craft that can at times be very tedious but that is part of why Smith likes printmaking.

“I like it because it’s like blue collar labor,” said Smith. “Almost like a blacksmith. It is a trade you learn and become skilled at.”

Shawn Smith, sprayed images with water to flatten papers.
Shawn Smith sprayed images with water to flatten papers.

Smith referred to the process that must be completed in order to actually make print artwork.

To make good quality print artwork, a design is scratched onto a copper plate with a needle. The plate is then drenched with acid and put under a press to transfer the design onto paper.

“Many people do not understand or appreciate the process,” Mosher said, “but once you do, you learn to love it.”

The end result of the meticulous process can be extremely rewarding.

Last weekend, BYO Print members exhibited their work at Nice Things Handmade, a boutique and arts gallery in South Philadelphia.

Eager art lovers can check out the artwork of BYO Print members at Paradigm Gallery in Queen Village. Their exhibition begins October 19th and runs through November 23rd.

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