“I am an undergraduate student in the Printmaking program at the University of North Texas. I have experience with various intaglio processes using copper, but this is my first mezzotint. The process of rocking the plate was time consuming, but the rich black is well worth it. I have enjoyed the reductive approach to drawing and the subtle values that are possible with this technique.
Conceptually, this is new territory for me as an artist. As a white man in America, the topic of race is uncomfortable and even good intentions are often misguided and misunderstood, so I welcome any and all feedback on both form and content. This print is about racial oppression and cultural appropriation in the United States. It is supposed to resemble the kid’s game of “Indian Rug Burn” taken to an extreme point in which the arm is being violently wrung out. This is to symbolize the ongoing, systemic violence against people of color in the United States and also the way white Americans intentionally or ignorantly steal from minority cultures.
I am planning on working the plate until there is a more obvious skin tone difference between the hands and the arm, which will hopefully communicate the message more clearly. However, even with more work, I know that the image may be too vague to communicate the specific idea that inspired it.”
“For this piece, in your artist statement you talk a lot about your concept behind it, and before we get to that, I want to address the technique because this is one of those pieces where it’s like, either technique or concept, one is doing a really great job and the other one could use a little bit of work. So I want to separate that like, you can succeed in some areas and need improvement in others.
I think it’s such a good choice to do a print for this. It has that dark gritty wonderful quality. The only thing that troubles me with technique is the kind of separation sometimes between the rich gritty anatomically accurate hands and then the bending of the skin in its exaggeration looks almost cartoonish, almost like it doesn’t look accurate in that way.
So I think that you’re in a crossroads here where you can choose either to get as real as possible and really get that gritty quality or if you want to play around with the anatomy and kind of embrace the strangeness of like, you know, like, that’s not how skin man bends. Like, what if you make it super rubbery now, and again like, not to be difficult but like, either one is a good option. I think right now you’re just in the middle ground and you have to choose the direction to go.
As far as the concepts like, you raise a really powerful and appropriate question for artists is how can you talk about a difficult issue if you are not like, in this case, in your artist statement you say like, you’re talking about race in America but you’re not a member of the race that you’re talking about, so how do you kind of find that realm.
And I heard a really great talk about this, actually a few days ago, and it was in regards to writing but the writer said, ‘The key is to just be genuine.’ So if you’re writing about a heavy topic, then people will be able to detect like, falsehood right away so no matter what your message is, as long as it’s a genuine one to you, then you’ll be fine.
If you look at it and say like, ‘Hey, this is me, myself and I am talking about my perspective of, in this case, race in America,’ rather than, ‘This is me and my perspective and I’m going to talk about what other people feel.’ Does that make sense? But yeah, I think that this is a terrific piece and honestly I would really love that this became a series. Yeah, it’s really nice work.”