Subject: Cityscapes in Etched and Drypoint Print and Other Media
Venue: Victorian Pastel Society Monthly Demonstration
Marco immigrated to Australia as a five year old. He remembers his first artwork at the age of eight. It was in texta pen and on the wall! A very good presenter and an experienced business person, Marco came prepared with a presentation on his computer to show as well as samples of his printing plates, prints, drawings and a large amount of samples, brochures and books. Some to sell and some to give away. He also had a great discount voucher for Schminke pastels which I hope to take up when I get my tax return!
Influenced by his background and a love of movies such as the 1925 classic Metropolis, much of his work has been produced on the dizzying heights at the top of buildings and bridges. He likes the etchings from the 18th Century by Giovanni Battista Piranesi. He was taught by Hertha Kluge-Pott at RMIT and did extremely well in his studies.
Marco worked his way through from early works to fairly recent, mostly concentrating on his main love of etching and dry point prints. He explained the difference between the two, showing us the large copper plates that he uses. Etching produces a finer line and drypoint can be made with big bold scrapes into the copper for dramatic results. The ink collects in the grooves for etching but is collected on all the marks for a drypoint (which can also be done on acetate by the way).
Marco uses anything he thinks will work to create the marks he wishes to make and it is his habit to work straight onto the plate on site as if painting or drawing!
Marco also explained the editioning process for small run hand prints and how the marketing and pricing is done for his. He doesn’t worry about happy accidents in his prints but works with them and will draw upon traditional themes from history, myth or the area he is visiting or living in for some dramatic interpretations. Some of his etchings can take up to several weeks to complete before the print run is even done.
After the break we were treated to seeing some of Marco’s pastel and mixed media work. His pastels are worked to look more like paintings and he uses charcoal for darkening line or adding drama as well as mixing with paint or going over prints. He will spray fixative to any layer that he thinks needs it so that the next will take to it as he lays on a lot of pastel.
Marco also talked about what it has taken for him and his partner to get their art careers going and keep producing the work. They admit that they have made sacrifices and gone without for the sake of their art, but that is what they wanted to do with their lives. I understand this, and hopefully our friends and families do as well. The topic of materials and always trying to use the best you can afford, which has been talked about before in other demonstrations was again discussed. Always try to use the best you can, not only will it give you the better results, but also less frustration and a quality and reputation for it which can be reflected in your pricing if you are aiming at selling.
As he has been working for several years and gave up full time teaching to concentrate on being a full time artist, the other big issue Marco spoke about was that we all need to think about planning ahead. Where do you want to be in ten years? Not just one or two. Not many of us look that far ahead, but if you are thinking of making your art a serious business, a short and long term plan is a good idea. Think about what you are producing now and where it may lead. You never know if given enough dedication, it may grow in saleable value beyond what you could imagine. Added to this was the challenge to think about our first solo exhibition in the future!
As well as showing us a lot of great full size prints, we also saw a few pictures of the sculptures Marco has done in the past with found objects, showing just how versatile he is.
Marco finished of by talking about creating art and not just copies of what we see. As artist we have the ability to edit out and move things around. Do things in a style that makes movement, life and drama.We can create a story where there was none before and draw the viewer in. He has done many of his from rooftops – not bad for a guy scared of heights!
I really enjoyed this demo and I hope everyone else did was well, given that it was a little outside of the strict field of pastel. It was a different format to most others and a change is always good. Marco was also a very informative and entertaining speaker. As a student studying print making as part of my course, it was nice to get a fresh view of it and I have taken a heap of brochures in to school for others to see how this gifted artist works. Another successful demo!
This story will also be published in the next newsletter for the Pastel Society of Victoria, Australia and in the Commentaries section of my web site at http://www.janicemills.net.