I am just back from Los Angeles, having spent an amazing week there working with some incredibly bright students at California State University Northridge (CSUN). I was able to lead 2 groups (about 40 people each) through the history of protest posters and printmaking, and then we designed and printed our own using screen printing. I was invited there by Professor Samantha Fields, who had selected my work to be in a group show called Tomorrowland.
Before each workshop, I gave a short lecture on the history of protest posters and its relationship to different forms of printmaking, going through the last several hundred years and then focusing back on the 1968 student protests of Paris. That era was particularly well-documented, and the students were able to organize themselves into an efficient propaganda machine, all because they learned how to screen print. This method of printing enabled them to produce and hang posters that had been conceived only that morning. Of course there were other centers of student protest, but I have a certain fondness for the Paris uprising in particular.
Once we had discussed the history a little, we went over to the Printmaking studio and I taught them the basics of screen printing. Professor Michelle Rozic welcomed us graciously into the studio, and was even able to come and help me run the Monday-Wednesday workshop. I broke the students up into groups that would then have to work together to design their posters–I wanted to model the workshop on the Paris model, wherein each design was voted upon by the entire group.
The students took to the medium quite effortlessly, and were able to design some great posters by the end of the first day. On the second day, we dove into printing. Once again, I was pleased with how easily everyone found screen printing: it is one of my favorite ways of making art, and hopefully I was able to get some of the students excited about it as well.
Here are some student reactions to the workshop: