Sept. 25, 2006
By Laura Yates
The Drive-By Press, a mobile printmaking studio, visited Ohio University Friday afternoon as part of 2006 Mid America Print Council conference "Forging Connections." Students walking near College Green watched printing demonstrations and were able to run their own prints through the machine.
"We're spreading art. It is obtainable for anyone," said Joseph Velasquez, co-founder of Drive-By Press "This is a chance for people to come and see visual art and print it themselves."
The traveling press was "built to promote the growth and democratization of art through printmaking" and can be set up in 15 minutes. It has traveled over 1,100 miles and over 65 prints have been made, Velasquez said. The Drive-By Press is scheduled to visit various universities, high schools and even a women's prison in Texas with the intent of teaching something new to audiences that lack a background in printmaking.
"Most people have never seen anything like it before," he said.
The press has been traveling for four months with 17 official stops. Velasquez estimated that at Ohio University over 200 viewers stopped by the booth. Velasquez and co-founder Greg Nanney demonstrated etching, a print method that uses a design carved into a wax-covered plate. The plate is submerged into acid which bites into the plate along the design. The plate is cleaned, inked and can be run multiple times through the press.
"The idea of multiple is what drew me to printmaking. With print, you don't lose the art," Velasquez said.
Velasquez and Nanney are graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As part of Drive-By Press they offer a lecture series that includes a slide show on the history of printmaking from the 14th century to the present and a presentation on their art experience. A following hands-on session allows students to experience how the actual printing process works.
"With Drive-By Press we are trying to show you don't have to go to a fine art gallery to see art," Velasquez said. For more information, go to www.drivebypress.org.
Laura Yates is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.