Painters sell affordable artwork that can be printed

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Art

Painters sell affordable artwork that can be printed


Double Entrendre/The Bluetooth device by Thom Ogonga on MDF panel and process ink, at One Off Gallery on April 2, 2022. PHOTO | MARGARETTE WA GACHERU | NMG

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Summary

  • There is a versatility in the print that is not necessarily available in a painting.
  • As long as an artist keeps their plates, they can sell more prints, making what the buyer once thought was a limited edition a common image prevalent on the internet.

Prints offer limitless possibilities to both their creators and the public.

For one thing, they’re easily reprinted, making them more affordable than an artist’s original work. So if someone wants an artwork by a particular artist but can’t afford it, they can acquire a print instead.

There is a versatility in the print that is not necessarily available in a painting. Just look at American artist and director Andy Warhol’s prints of Marilyn Monroe or his Campbell’s soup cans. Warhol repeated each of these images over and over again in a single work.

Yet each image is slightly different for various reasons. On the one hand, it could be due to the print manufacturing process in which each printed image was produced by hand.

But it could also be intentional on the part of the artist who may add different colors to the same print or woodcut as James Mweu does in the current One Off Gallery print exhibition.

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Relief on paper by James Mweu at One Off Gallery on April 2, 2022. PHOTO | MARGARETTE WA GACHERU | NMG

“One of the reasons I love printmaking is that there is always this element of surprise,” says Peterson Kamwathi, one of nine Kenyan printmakers currently exhibiting at One Off Gallery as part of an exhibition curated by fellow engraver Thom Ogonga.

Peterson said that between the moment the artist puts their ink on the plate and the moment they see the result of the printing process, you never know what exactly their print will look like. It’s a thrill for him, even if he only works in black and white like his works at One Off Gallery.

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Community II by Peterson Kamwathi etching/aquatint on paper, at One Off Gallery in Nairobi, April 2, 2022. PHOTO | MARGARETTE WA GACHERU | NMG

It must be very different for an artist like Dennis Muraguri who prints with multiple colors, each of which must be applied and printed separately and accurately. There is so much work needed to achieve the effect of work like Ecko UNLTD, Ongata Line Trans artworks.

This magnificent print serves as something of a centerpiece to the entire print exhibition, given that it is the largest, most colorful and proudly placed at the entrance of the gallery. OneOff’s Stables.

Muraguri’s Ongata Line Trans may be a print, but it is unlikely there will be many editions, given that there is so much work and precision in creating such a masterpiece. print work.

However, each impression is different. You will see etchings and aquatints (by Kamwathi), etchings and collages (Mandy Bonnell), serigraphs (Wanjohi Maina), relief prints (James Mweu), collagraphs (Patrick Karanja) and woodcuts engraved on MDF board (Thom Ogonga, Mari Endo, Dennis Muraguri and Abdul Kipruto) which effect is slightly different from real woodcut.

The quality of the paper and the type of ink used in the process also make a difference in the appearance of a print. For example, Muraguri and Ogonga both used treated ink to prepare their prints while Mari Endo used Japanese ink.

As for the paper, Wanjohi Maina worked with embossed paper while Mari with Mulberry paper. During this time, Abdul Kipruto did not use paper or ink since what he brought for the exhibition was his carved MDF panel, a wood-engraved plaque titled “Bow 1”.

Abdul is not the only artist to exhibit more than just prints. Several others, including Muraguri, Ogongo and James Mweu also sell the plates they carved to create the prints that are for sale.

The plates are like incised sculptures, each one is precious and practical to keep. By selling the plates, any prints produced before a plate is sold will have more value.

Otherwise, the prints are tricky. As long as an artist keeps their plates, they can sell more prints, making what the buyer once thought was a limited edition a common image prevalent on the internet.

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