Last year, I took a printmaking class and learned how to make intaglio and screen prints. This is an intaglio print I made, inspired by some of Art Hansen's work. The girl represents a Russian person in the aftermath of the Soviet Union's collapse, at a loss for where to go and still trapped in communism's legacy (hence the five pointed star), yet brave and hopeful. Despite Russia being a very patriarchal society, it has a surprising amount of traditional stories with courageous young girls as the protagonists. The bottom path is somewhat more closed off than the upper two, signifying the inability to go back to how things were. The two paths represent the two general futures Russia could have - one of peace and democracy, and one of conflict and corruption. Since every mark is made with an individual scratch, I spent days intensely cross-hatching the copper plate to achieve the rich blackness of the forest.
As for those interested in how intaglio prints are made, here is the basic process:
1. A copper plate is filed on the edges.
2. Paper with a charcoal drawing is pressed into the plate to guide etching.
3. The surface is engraved with hundreds of lines using sharp tools.
4. The scratched up plate is soaked in acid to deepen the cuts, which will later be filled with oil-based ink.
5. A series of rags and cloths are used to rub ink into the cuts.
6. The plate and a piece of paper (thicker paper is recommended) are carefully placed between pieces of felt on a hand-operated press.
7. The press is turned until the paper has gone through.
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