31. January 2017 · Comments Off on Contemporary Art History: A Brief Look Over the Decades · Categories: Art History · Tags: ,

Contemporary Art as an art classification has a fluid description. It is like floating down a river. You are always on the river, but as you move along sometimes it’s fast and rocky, and other times it’s calm and serene. Contemporary Art is like that river; it changes with the seasons of our culture. A generally accepted definition of Contemporary Art would be art that was produced during our lifetime. Obviously, a lifetime will mean a different amount of time to various people, but current contemporary art would be starting around the 1960’s through present day.

1960’s — Minimalism and Pop Art

The 1960’s art has two important branches. One is Minimalism Art, and the other is Pop Art. Both of these styles can be seen coming out of the culture as a whole. The love and free spirit movements of the 60’s were about throwing off the structure and established practices and beliefs of the previous generation. Art was art simply because it was art. It didn’t have to mean anything. Minimalist Art was about simple lines and colors often on industrial mediums that lacked texture. Pop Art was art that involved anything current, whether that be colorful paintings of the famous Marilyn Monroe or a set of images on canvas of cans of Campbell’s soup.

1970’s — A Continuation of the 1960’s

The artists of the 1970’s continued the tradition of the previous generation. There was a continued deconstructing of what art was. It is not uncommon to see text used in pieces of 70’s artwork. Also during this time artwork started to take on a more “earthy” feel. Dirt, sand and other natural mediums were experimented with during the 70’s.

1980’s — The Pictures Generation

The 1980’s artists were known as “The Pictures Generation.” The human form began to become more commonly used in artwork. Artists would manipulate and merge photos creating a combination portrait and painting in one. Neo-conceptualism began sometime during the 80’s. It has no real hard defined characteristics but if the piece of art led to discussions on politics, social issues or economic issues it likely would be classified Neo-conceptual.

1990’s — Installation Art

Perhaps the most recognizable art of the 1990’s was Installation Art. This sometimes meant transforming a room in the art gallery into the actual work of art, or it might mean constructing a large piece of artwork in the middle of a field or downtown New York.

2000’s — Time Will Tell!

Art at the beginning of the 21st century is probably too recent to be able to look back on the decade to see what defined the decade. If anything it might have been a mashing together of the ideas of the last 50 years.

Final Thoughts…

Contemporary Art is hard to draw lines around and define. It changes with the current cultural revolutions, with the politics of the times, and with what is considered edgy or different. As King Solomon of ancient Israel said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Art flows from one generation to the next. It is rejected, adapted, modified, copied and then rejected again. It is an ever-present expression of the inner thoughts and feelings of the human race.

24. January 2017 · Comments Off on The History of Lithography and Lithographic Printing · Categories: Printing Methods · Tags: , ,

Lithographic printing or lithography is a young form of printing in comparison to others such as screen-printing. Little did one Alois Senefelder have a clue about what he was discovering at the time he patented lithographic printing process in the year 1799. Without a doubt, his discovery forever transformed the printing industry’s face.

How did Alois Senefelder discover Lithographic Printing?

Alois SenefelderAs a very young boy, Alois Senefelder had a strong passion for theater. After discovering some success as an actor, the young boy turned out to a relatively successful comic playwright. Nonetheless, he found out that the margins were quite minute. Therefore, he had to find an amazing way of making several copies of his songs and play them real time. Consequently, he began the endeavor, which would later become the lithographic printing process.

During those days, copper plates were utilized in the printing process. Nonetheless, coming up with images and text for printing in reverse on a plate was such a difficult process. For this reason, Senefelder chose to utilize inexpensive Bavarian limestone slabs in order to practice the reverse imaging art. In the meantime, Alois also made a liquid of rainwater, lamp black, soap, and wax to assist him to correct the mistakes on copper plates.

The correction fluid and limestone are the two materials that then became the cornerstones of Lithography.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t that long before Alois realized through his experiments that utilizing the fluid to draw on limestone provided images that were highly resistant to water. Afterward, he could use water to treat the limestone and then follow it up with an oil-based ink. Anytime he applied the image to paper, it would be printed right side up.

Long story short: that is how Senefelder invented the art he termed ‘chemical printing.’ Later, he patented lithography in 1799.

The Rise of the Transfer Process and Lithography

In 1817, Alois came up with a press, which would automatically dampen as well as ink the plate. That way, the process was made even simpler. The first lithograph appeared in the United States in 1819. The demand for lithographic printing escalated tremendously in the months that followed. By the year 1971, it’s true to say that there were not less than 30 steam presses and 450 hand-operated in the United States alone.

printing press letters

Alois also takes huge credit for discovering the transfer process. Through experimentation, Alois realized that he had the capability of transferring writing and drawings from paper to lithographic stone to come up with printing images. So what this a great discovery? It allowed folks to sort of ‘copy’ the previously existing images and text. On top of that, you no longer needed to be a professional at reverse imaging.

The Rotary Litho Press and Engelmann’s Litho Color Printing

In 1837, Godefroy Engelmann discovered Lithographs or Litho color printing. What is for sure is the fact that litho printing gained popularity in the years that followed. Actually, towards the late 18th century, the premier rotary litho press was invented.

Folks used lithography to create massive quantities of prints just like what happens with letterpress printing. Sadly, the rotary machine’s abrasive action made images to wear off very soon especially when printing vast quantities. Therefore, rotary lithographic presses never turned out to be popular.

Today, metal plates replaced limestone. You can design the images or stencils by utilizing three roller offset press and photographic plates for actual printing. Lithography or lithographic printing has certainly come such a long way ever since it was invented. There’s no doubt about that.