“The World’s Most Adorable Art Critic” Daniel Rolnik curates THE PRINT POP COLLECTION the first pop-up in the 34-year history of the Venice Art Walk. Visitors pay an admission fee for a wristband and a map that allows them to explore artists’ studios, take architectural tours and attend a silent auction. On Sunday, May 19, Daniel Rolnik and Ryan McIntosh of Intellectual Property Prints will have their own tent featuring limited edition, hand-pulled screen prints designed as a collaborative project with seven carefully chosen artists who work across a diverse array of genre and medium. Proceeds from each sale will benefit the Venice Family Clinic.
Artists Jason Shawn Alexander, Bob Dob, Daniel Edwards, Gregory Siff, Eric Joyner, Ryan McIntosh, Michael Sieben, and Christine Wu discuss their collaboration.
Installation Magazine: How did you first become involved in collaborating with Daniel Rolnik on this series of original screen prints?
Bob Dob: Daniel was blogging and photographing my progress from my Mouseketeer Army show at La Luz De Jesus last November and we’ve been in touch ever since. He told me about the project and I wanted to work with the medium.
Jason Shawn Alexander: Daniel interviewed me for my 2012 exhibition for 101 Exhibit in Los Angeles. We got on really well. Later, I was approached to do a print.
Daniel Edwards: Daniel and I have only known each other for a couple of years. We met through a mutual friend, Cory Allen of CACA, and bonded over a period of time spent sending weird eBay purchases to each other. I think he won; he sent me a mummified cat spray painted silver with googly eyes glued to it. We always knew we’d collaborate on something, so when he’d mentioned putting together some original screen prints, I jumped at the chance.
Eric Joyner: My publicist Heidi Johnson suggested I get involved in this project and I was happy to do so.
Ryan McIntosh: Daniel and I are both very engaged in the LA art scene. We both work with a ton of artists, but in different ways. I’m more on the creation/making side of things, and he’s more on the curating and promotional side. The aim of Intellectual Property Prints is to collaborate with artists to produce screenprints, a medium which has the potential to engage a wider audience.
Michael Sieben: Daniel sent me an email out of the blue. I researched the project and it sounded like a good cause to be involved with so I emailed him back with a digital thumbs-up.
Gregory Siff: Daniel Rolnik is magnetic and easy to trust. I dig his connection to art- he views art from an unconventional angle.
Christine Wu: Ryan actually first approached me and suggested we collaborate and make a print. Then Daniel and I talked about it a bit, and as no one can turn down Daniel’s fantastic enthusiasm for art and everything in general, I promptly agreed to be a part of the project.
Have you collaborated with Daniel on past projects? If so, what was the experience like?
Jason Shawn Alexander: No.
Bob Dob: Just the blogging I believe and it was fun. He’s very enthusiastic about art.
Daniel Edwards: Daniel is a very encouraging guy. He’s a bit of a muse.
Eric Joyner: No, I have not.
Ryan McIntosh: We have worked together on curating exhibitions in the past and have also exhibited our own work together. Collaborating with Daniel is always a tremendously positive experience and the outcome has always far exceeded both our expectations.
Michael Sieben: I have not.
Gregory Siff: Daniel has come to my studio at different points in my career. He has seen the progression. He was with me when I was working out of a large studio in Downtown LA called The Site UnScene. There we got to roll around town, talk, put up work and get to know each other better as I painted a very large body of work for Siren Studios.
Christine Wu: We’ve never tackled a complete project before, but came over to my studio to do a feature on me for Hi-Fructose.
Have you worked with screen prints before?
Jason Shawn Alexander: I worked as a screen printer for two summers after high school and I loved that experience.
Bob Dob: Digitally yes, but not this process of using poster paint markers and acetate.
Eric Joyner: When I was in high school I did quite a bit of silk screening. I really enjoyed the process.
Daniel Edwards: I’d only dabbled with screen prints enough to know that there was something there for me.
Ryan McIntosh: I did my MFA graduate studies in Printmaking at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). They are ranked as the top art school in the country and studying printmaking there was a superb experience. I came into printmaking by means of doing my BFA undergraduate studies in traditional photography in Arizona. Honestly, I had never done any printmaking when I applied to RISD, but as I was exploring other mediums like painting at the time, printmaking seemed to fall right in that grey area between photography and painting. No matter your department at RISD, the institution encourages explorations of all mediums during your graduate studies. It was not unusual that only a couple artists in my graduating class were actually using printmaking. I was one of the very few that really wanted to focus on refining my craft while also developing my art conceptually.
Michael Sieben: Yes, I studied serigraphy when I was attended the University of Texas at Austin in the late ’90s. It’s still an integral part of my artistic output although I no longer pull the squeegee myself.
Gregory Siff: Yes. But never all hand done. From the screens to the application of the paint. I like to keep the handmade feel constant in all my work and these prints capture that.
Christine Wu: Yes.
How would you describe your artistic style? Was it difficult to translate that style to a screen print?
Jason Shawn Alexander: The simplest way would be to say that I’m a figurative artist. My work is expressive and maybe a bit graphic oriented. I do a large amount of drawing so something like this was right up my alley.
Bob Dob: I describe my work as Narrative Surrealism. The process felt familiar to me as my work is often based in drawing.
Eric Joyner: I’m an oil painter. I suppose you could put me in the Pop/ Surrealism category. My work is realistic and there are far too many shades and colors for your average screen print. So I just sent Ryan an image of my black & white pencil drawing Gangenstein and gave him total control of the printing and the interpretation.
Daniel Edwards: My work is figurative sculpture with a Pop sensibility. It has been an enjoyable challenge translating the sculpture component to screen print, kind of what I think it would be like to go from deep-sea fishing to competitive bird-watching.
Gregory Siff: Most definitely. Working on this print was like working on six paintings at once, much like I work in my studio. I usually have multiple works drying and evolving while I paint. At Intellectual Property Prints, I was creating works on acetate and thinking about the layers of each piece and which elements will be seen when combining them together. It’s a challenge giving up control and taking control at the same time and I am proud of the result.
Michael Sieben: I would describe it as a graphically illustrative style, which lends itself quite well to screen printing.
Christine Wu: My work is very multi-layered and so it translates well as a screen print.
Do you feel that the screen prints inspire a level of creativity or artistic freedom that is different from other mediums that you have worked with?
Jason Shawn Alexander: I’m not sure about freedom. I would say, experimentation.
Bob Dob: I love the graphic quality to them. And the challenge of working with a certain number of colors.
Eric Joyner: Well, I wouldn’t say “artistic freedom”- it’s more of a restriction. But it’s the only way to achieve a certain look.
Daniel Edwards: Screen prints are an accessible medium, I think- easier to transport than a 300 pound sculpture. For me, screen prints are a compatible medium with my sculpture. Most people are familiar with my sculpture through photos via the Internet, so I’m always thinking about which views I want to use photographically to show off my work. My dependence on the photos ends up rendering them as strictly functional- but the translation from those photos to screen print comes back to me as art.
Ryan McIntosh: Nearly everything we do begins with drawing/painting/mark-making by the artist’s hand to create the original plates used for making the screens. Once the plates have been burnt to the screens, the printing process begins. The screen is simply a stencil where ink is pressed through one side and gets transferred onto the printing surface. It must be done one print at a time and one color at a time. With most of our editions, the artist is involved in the whole process, often hand-painting the ink onto the screens so that each print is completely unique and original. It can become quite labor intensive and time consuming, but we feel that retaining the “artists hand” in each print is important.
Michael Sieben: I have not found that the process has interfered with my artistic point of view.
Gregory Siff: Working on this print was like working on six paintings at once, much like I work in my studio. I usually have multiple works drying and evolving while I paint. At Intellectual Property prints, I was creating works on acetate and thinking about the layers of each piece and which elements will be seen when combining them together. It’s a challenge giving up control and taking control at the same time and I really am proud of the result.
Christine Wu: I think every medium has it’s merits. There is no increased or decreased level of artistic freedom, just differences in an end image. Screen printing does favor shapes rather than line work, so it’s a different mindset when preparing an image for this particular process.
The artistic styles that are presented are quite diverse. What narrative do you think that works convey as a whole? How do they reflect the Los Angeles art scene?
Jason Shawn Alexander: I would say it’s quite indicative of the massive variety of styles, backgrounds, and visions that LA artists encompass.
Bob Dob: The Blood Orange character I did is very reflective of Los Angeles in a nostalgic way going back to when orange groves were everywhere. It’s just a simple design I’d been wanting to play around with for quite sometime.
Eric Joyner: As a whole, the works convey the creative diversity I would expect from such a large populated area. This is a good thing.
Michael Sieben: I’m not qualified to answer that question because I reside in Austin, Texas.
Gregory Siff: LA has different neighborhoods and different artists from all over the world. The common bond is our appetite to create. Different stories from different people, all translated on the same paper. All of Ryan’s artists have something important to say about the time spent here in this city.
Christine Wu: The artistic styles presented in this collection are without a doubt, diverse, and accurately reflect the nature of the Los angeles art scene. It’s the ‘Wild Wild West': kind of a hodge podge of concentrated strange that can’t really be found anywhere else. People seem to have a tendency to want to defy and experiment here more than anywhere else. There is an acceptance of the daring and a home for the misfits.
In visiting Ryan McIntosh’s studio, I had the opportunity to get a better understanding of how screen prints are produced. The process requires that the artist fully conceptualize their piece before the print can be made, as they have to consider the colors used, and how the composition needs to be broken down into layers. Describe the process of creating your screen print. Did you create the piece in Ryan’s studio or did you prepare ideas in advance and develop ideas in your own studio? How does your piece reflect themes that are currently in your work?
Jason Shawn Alexander: The themes of my piece stay consistent with my body of work: it’s the perspective of isolation and vulnerability, but with an eye toward something strong, something fantastic, a dream outside of your own station. I worked on my piece in my studio. I knew roughly what I wanted to do and I jumped right in. I worked all four of my layers at the same time, playing here and there. It’s an interesting experience working on a piece when you have no idea what it will look like until it goes into production.
Bob Dob: I had a rough sketch of the character that I scanned into the computer and scaled it to size. Then printed it out and laid the acetate over it then basically traced it onto the acetate with this poster. I repeated the process with each color. I did it all in my studio.
Eric Joyner: Ryan and I are collaborating. I just supplied the pencil drawing and let him go to town. This will show my work in an interesting and new way.
Daniel Edwards: Ryan McIntosh is a fearless screen printer; he is highly skilled and won’t back down from a challenge. I trust him completely. When you work with someone like that, it would be redundant, at best, to have to consider all of the technicalities of the craft. I was already impressed with Ryan as a Fine Artist and trusted his aesthetic decisions, so I felt pretty free to concentrate on what I do best, which is to sculpt. Ryan encouraged any idea I might have. My work deals with celebrity culture, so I gave him a portrait of Kim Kardashian’s unborn baby, which I felt would be topical with a universal and timeless quality.
Michael Sieben: I created a full-sized sketch of the print on my kitchen table. After I inked the transparencies, I shipped them back to LA. The piece directly relates to my current body of work, which addresses the circle of life.
Gregory Siff: I had no plan. I did not know what to expect, but Daniel, Ryan and I just dove in. This print was made entirely in Ryan’s studio. I had been entertaining the idea of producing my own version of the American flag for years now- I have been inspired by Shepard Fairey, Jasper Johns, Saber, Louis XXX, and Eric Haze. This is a piece I have wanting to share for a while. It feels good to get it out.
Christine Wu: My screen print is actually an image that is part of a body of work that I am working on for a solo show in November at La Luz de Jesus Gallery. I prepared a part of the image in advance and finished the rest in Ryan’s studio. The line work has been reproduced on films to burn into the screens and I cut some Rubylith for the larger area that has been printed in gold and copper. This particular piece has to do with the idea of birth and the transience of life. Floral imagery is often used to depict decay. The majority of my work deals with death, release and the growing realization that, as humans, we are all sexual beings who are hungry for life, though we start dying the moment we are born. The themes are indeed depressive, but there is definitely a quality of nostalgia and ghostly remembrance that I try to capture.
Have you had the chance to work with the other artists involved in the project prior to the production of the screen prints? What role does collaboration play in your own practice?
Jason Shawn Alexander: I haven’t. I’m a fairly solitary artist. Very little collaboration enters my work.
Bob Dob: I would totally be open to collaborating with other artists. It’s always exciting because you never know what you might get.
Daniel Edwards: Collaboration has always been important to me. I love having idea sessions with certain people, crave it, really. Ryan and Daniel are great collaborators because they are smart and able to connect ideas that would be challenging for others.
Eric Joyner: No, I have not had the opportunity to work with any of the other artists. Collaboration is a rare thing in my life. I am a solitary person, so it’s safe to say that collaboration is not a big part of my life. I hope to do more though, in the future.
Ryan McIntosh: Each print is always a new challenge and requires a totally different approach. Before inviting an artist into the studio, I really have to place myself in the artist’s mindset in order to attempt to understand their studio practice and medium. It often results in heavy experimentation and pushing the limitations of screen printing into new areas; many don’t believe the final piece is screen printed. It’s really an inspiring learning experience for both the artist and myself, which is how art should be.
Gregory Siff: I like collaborating with artists that I enjoy sharing a Coke with. Ryan McIntosh is a master printer. He was very familiar with my work as he helped curate my show There & Back in 2012. He was already on point with the kind of print I wanted to do for this project. My vision was of an Abstract Expressionist painting from the museum colliding with the notebook paper scribbles of a 15-year old who couldn’t pay attention in Algebra class. I wouldn’t have been able to realize this without Ryan.
Christine Wu: I don’t normally collaborate because I am definitely a self-admitted, self-indulgent artist. I cannot readily collaborate with anyone since my work is very much an extension of my being.
The screen prints will be available for sale at a pop-up event at the Venice Art Walk. What are your hopes for the event? Do you hope to encourage new collectors to engage with your work?
Jason Shawn Alexander: I’m always excited to have new collectors and art lovers exposed to my work. On some level, I exhibit my art in the hopes that it does the same thing for others as it does for me. By that I mean I hope it can express the self consciousness, and the loneliness that is difficult to express directly- I do it through the almost universal language of imagery.
Bob Dob: Yes, I hope to get some exposure and show that my work translates well to the printmaking medium.
Daniel Edwards: Mostly, I hope it’s a successful event for Daniel and Ryan! I’m a “process guy.” I love making art, so any success that puts me in a position to continue working with great talent is what excites me most!
Eric Joyner: I hope the event is a big success, of course! I do hope new collectors take notice.
Michael Sieben: I would love to have my work reach a wider public.
Gregory Siff: I hope that there is a general good feeling about art that day, making it affordable and rare at the same time. I want to write on sneakers and jackets and walls.
Christine Wu: I would like the work to be seen by a wider audience, people who may not necessarily walk into a gallery.