Printmaking, a lesser known art form, resonates with UWRF students

Posted December 12, 2018

Printmaking is one of the art forms practiced by legends such as Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and Andy Warhol. Although printmaking is not all that well known at UW-River Falls, the bachelor of fine arts emphasis has been around since the art program started at the university.

Lecturer Nikki Schneider teaches four different techniques in her printmaking classes: relief, intaglio, lithography and screen printing. Although it is a practice used by graphic designers and tattoo artists, printmaking as a whole is not very common with the public.

“So when you hear of ‘print,’ people go, ‘Oh they just printed it out on the printer,'” Schneider said. “But (the artists) ink it all by hand, and then run it through the press… What’s cool is that you have multiples.”

As opposed to an artist drawing or painting a singular image, in printmaking work can then be transferred onto another medium from which an artist can make multiple copies.

This is only Schneider’s second year at UWRF, but she has been teaching different kinds of art for 18 years, such as fundamentals of art, painting and drawing. Although she does enjoy these different art forms, she emphasizes her love of printmaking.

“I love printmaking,” she said. “To see the students explore their ideas and their images. My favorite part of teaching is when a student comes up to me, and those brainstorms are sitting around and hitting a light bulb… It keeps me young.”

Many of Schneider’s students were surprised at the love they also would encounter for printmaking after only taking one introductory course.

Mai See Xiong, a communication studies major, said that she got into printmaking after attempting to do work in graphic design. She said that “it’s just something that I fell in love with.”

Even though she is not majoring or minoring in printmaking, she said that the class has been a great outlet for her creative side.

Another student of Schneider’s, senior Saraphina Grimaldi, is a drawing major who also works with printmaking. Grimaldi said that printmaking has not only helped with her drawing dexterity but her confidence in her work as well.

“I love how supportive everyone is,” Grimaldi said. “In a lot of other universities, it can get really competitive and really kind of petty. But here… I see more often than not more people helping one another rather than, like, discouraging one another. It’s a very supportive environment to be in, and it really has helped me as an artist.”

Grimaldi’s work, along with that of other graduating seniors in the art department, has been on display before commencement in Gallery 101 in the Kleinpell Fine Arts building.