About “Rachele’s Studio”
I met Rachele at an Art Show, where I was admiring a rather large and lively piece or art, an etching of a juicy red tomato, called “Prize Tomato”. I was entranced by the brilliant colors and the technique the artist had masterfully used in creating that single print, but I was equally fascinated by her cheerful story about it, like a window into her life, interwoven, with her prize tomato. It made me hum and smile blissfully!
I was a full-time artist, a graphic artist without a job, and had just started printmaking a few years ago at our local Art Center in New Milford, NJ. And that’s about the time when Rachele asked me to print with her as an assistant and a fellow printmaker.
The day I entered Rachele’s studio in September 2010, I walked up to the printing press at the far corner of the room and placed my palms down on the cool steel surface of the press. It was a beautiful Charles Brandt press that she said she had been thinking of selling, because she wasn’t sure if she’d ever print again.
We set our schedule every Wednesday at her studio, and that printing press became the center of our lives for the next three years. At the beginning of the day a significant planning time was required in preparing and deciding the paper type and size, the colors and quantity of inks required, and finally, the technique/s it would take to get the end results. A typical printing day differed only by the size of the plate we would print, the variations and the number of prints. Working with a master printmaker not only allowed me to engage with someone else’s creative process but, for the first time discovered the necessity of understanding anothers approach and the level of trust needed to support each other while working as a team.
Rachele’s work is essentially narrative and each plate is rich with symbolic characters relating a fragment of her story. I’ve had the most wonderful time listening to those stories and what it all means to her.
In the Masquerade (pgs.12 – 13) you can see the “circus like” characters in a parade with masks on; the true nature of a person hidden behind each mask, and how we all can relate to at least one of the “clown faces” in the image. You can see more such symbolism in Life History (pg. 7) and The Birth (pgs.8 – 9). Some plates have a number of processes and are etched and worked on for months and sometimes cut into two or more plates that fit together like puzzle pieces, such as Pearstorale (pgs.16 -17) and Cellular Portrait (pg.21).
Over the last three years, I went through my own journey. I realized how important it is for me to work in the duality of being an artist and channeling another artist’s abilities by utilizing modern technologies and processes.