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Students Reap the Benefits of Annual Printmaking Conference

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Jen Wright and Tyler Balogh share their portfolio of prints collected at the Southern Graphics Conference in Knoxville, TN. Photo by Dennis Peterson.

Coming off the heels of last year’s SGC International Conference hosted by Academy of Art University, printmaking and graphic design students ventured to Knoxville, Tennessee, the site of this year’s annual event.

“SGCI was a really great opportunity to meet other printmakers, see what’s being produced in the community and learn new techniques,” said Jen Wright, undergraduate printmaking student in the School of Fine Art.

“Between demos, lectures and gallery shows there’s so much happening that it can be overwhelming, but in the best way because it’s something I love. In essence, SGCI is like ComiCon for printmakers,” said Wright.

Several printmaking students were able to attend this year’s conference thanks in part to their hard work at last year’s event. A letterpress and bookmaking project at last year’s event, entitled SPAN, was the brainchild of printmaking and book arts faculty Carrie Ann Plank and Macy Chadwick.

Students and instructors volunteered their time to print, die cut, bind and sell an edition of artist books all in one day during the conference. The proceeds from the sale of the edition helped to fund several students, alumni and faculty going to Knoxville this time around.

“I wanted to attend [this year] because being immersed in the exchange of the arts is a valuable opportunity for myself as a growing designer and printmaker,” said Tyler Balogh, an undergraduate graphic design student, who has studied extensively in the School of Fine Art – Printmaking.

“As a graphic designer, I have to say I feel embraced in a community of fine artists that are relevant to my artistic background. Although I may not be an illustrator or painter, printmaking had allowed me to branch out from digital media and explore traditional and valuable experiences with amazing people,” said Balogh.

Wright added: “I also enjoyed meeting so many printmakers and connecting with them over a common passion, swapping studio stories and picking each other’s brains over various techniques. While the Internet is great for sharing what we work on, it can’t replace the joy of talking to a stranger and realizing they speak the same printmaking language as you do.”

Many are waiting and already preparing for next March when the SGC International Conference will land again for 2016. This time the host city will be Portland, Oregon. See you there!