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Community Supported Art
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2017 Artists
  Grimaldi Baez
  Leah Bailis
  Marc Blumthal
  Julianna Foster
  Alexis Nutini
  Lucia Thomé
 
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  Studio Visit with Alexis Nutini
 

We met up with Alexis Nutini in his airy South Philadelphia studio, a third floor walk-up in a renovated 19th century factory. Alexis’s printmaking space is beautifully organized without being fussy. He works with reduction printing, carving into blocks of wood before inking them up and running them through a large, manual press. The tools of his trade are arranged like a chef’s mise en place – inks, paper and brayers set out in advance to allow for responsiveness and innovation. After speaking with the artist, it becomes clear that there is real freedom (and playfulness) in his uncluttered approach.

The walls are packed with prints in progress - over one hundred – gridded to reveal a noticeable color shift on each individual print. As they move around the walls, the geometric prints gradate from yellow to orange to red… working their way around the color wheel. This preliminary staging highlights what makes Alexis distinctive as a printmaker. Instead of making traditional editions of exact facsimiles, his prints within a series are each perfectly unique.

 

“For a printmaker, the best moment is when you pull a print. That’s the magic – you never know what’s going to happen. So for me, it’s like that every time. It’s not just repeating it… it’s not just a craft. I learn as I go.”

“Why not get a lot more out of it? Why repeat it? Then, it just becomes this task. I’m still inking [the plate] properly; I’m just changing the color each time. I learn a little bit more every time this way. What to do… what not to do… how to get some of these aberrated colors. It takes a lot of discipline; it’s more clean-up. But you just learn more.”

 
 
 

“The benefit is to see these together; it’s like –wow, there’s so much in between! What happens when I do 140?!”

 

For his Community Supported Art project, Alexis is creating an edition of fifty related but unique prints. Each shareholder will get a woodcut reduction print featuring six to eight layers of integrated color pulled from the same, altered block. When talking about his approach for this special 2017 CSA edition, Alexis’s excitement is palpable:

“I’m going to do my math for the first two or three layers and then just go for it! It will start off with the primary colors, which you can see [gesturing to the wall of prints behind him.] But every single one will be different. Even if the method were to breakdown after that, the prints will still be related. But even if you printed the same colors, it’d be different because they’d be printed in a different order. It’s already happening! Look here….”

 
 
We left Alexis’s studio on a complete art high! Alexis Nutini’s enthusiasm for his process –and this project– is infectious. We hope that you have a chance to speak with him in person at an upcoming event.

-- Cindy Stockton Moore, 2017 Community Supported Art Organizer
-- Photos by Amy Hicks, 2017 Community Supported Art Organizer
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Community Supported Art is program of Grizzly Grizzly and Co.
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