Tag Archives: NYC artist

Inside the Artist’s Studio with KS Lack

I started working with letterpress almost eight years ago, when I was looking for a way to print a mixed-media piece for a gallery in Brooklyn. I fell in love with the medium:  the richness of the inks, the juxtaposition of typography and imagery, how different paper types interact with ink and pressure—the list goes on. There are so many ways to create something unique, even if you are making multiples.

I also write poetry and both facets of my work have a profound influence on one another. There is poetry in presswork. Nothing makes you understand the weight of words like laying them out by hand.

Laying out type at the London Centre for Book Arts

Laying out type at the London Centre for Book Arts

Squall and Sunset, the two pieces featured in the Land and Sea exhibition, were printed at the London Centre for Book Arts. The prints were created on a Stephenson Blake press, a manufacturer that is common in the UK but rare in the US. For a pressure print, the ink is applied to a base instead of onto the rollers. The paper is then rolled over the ink, and the weight of the press is what makes the print. The cylinder on this Stevie B is very heavy, which makes for great pressure. As for inks, the LCBA has a wonderful collection of vintage, oil-based inks that were great fun to play with.

Some of the vintage orange inks at the LCBA

Some of the vintage orange inks at the LCBA

Printers love this Stevie B model because it has a very wide bed. This let me print on 22-inch squares (I used Redeem 130gsm, a 100% recycled paper), which are quite large for a single letterpress page. I printed each piece four times; the paper became so supersaturated with ink that it took over a week to dry.

Prints drying on the racks

Prints drying on the racks

Finished prints

Finished prints

Then I took the plunge and cut each sheet into four strips.

Cut down to size

Cut down to size

While living in the UK, I was particularly struck by the vitality of the countryside. Everything seemed so lush—the sea off Cornwall, fields of grass and hay with poppies growing by the side of the road, summer sunsets and rainy days—it was all on my mind as I mixed and applied the ink.

The individual strips were getting overwhelmed when mounted with traditional matboard. I decided to use acrylic for the front and back, allowing the vibrancy of the inks to stand out. I also like how the colors seem to float within the frame when hung on a wall. 

RBR  for R&T

RBR for R&T

Green Flash

Green Flash

As a person with a long-term disability, I find there is a lot of synergy between my art and how I try to live my life. Working on a press could be all about its limitations. Instead, I find that the structure inherent in presswork grants me greater freedom by giving me something to lean on. I may not always be able to hold a pen, but I can create something beautiful by working within the constraints of the press in order to transcend them.

You can find out more about my work at my website: www.zitternpress.com.


KS Lack is one of 28 artists featured in “Land & Sea”, a national juried exhibition of landscapes and seascapes juried by Deirdre Aureden, director of programs and special projects at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. The exhibition runs through June 29, 2018.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Robert Samartino

I paint as much as I can and embrace a variety of figurative content in my work. What remains constant to my creative process is best described by the habits and rituals I use to eliminate distraction. I paint where I live and I allow the practicalities of my life to influence the direction of my work. I keep my workspace lights on and my materials are always set up to be used.

photographed in workspace

26″ x 32″
oil and wax on linen
2015

I take and collect pictures constantly; of anything that captures my attention–this allows me to include my time away from painting into my work. I review these images routinely and allow my intuition to select and/or combine them. This improvisational state is enhanced by working on multiple paintings at once–changing the channel in my mind to remain in a trance. My sculptural work is literally made in the space and time between my palette and whatever canvas I am working on. Accretions and Inclusions grew as accumulations of paint and wax wiped off from my palette knife.  I am motivated with a fetishization of accumulation; by applying and removing layers with an unclear motive my art is grown to reflect the path indecision inevitably takes.

6" x 5.5" x 6"  oil, wax, discarded materials on ethafoam 2015

6″ x 5.5″ x 6″
oil, wax, discarded materials on ethafoam
2015

5" x 5" x 5.5" oil, wax, discarded materials on ethafoam 2015

5″ x 5″ x 5.5″
oil, wax, discarded materials on ethafoam
2015

Manual labor, in particular roadwork, fascinates me in its similarity to my own layering process. I began depicting men at work with the first of a three part series titled Concrete Labor. Its source derives from a scene I photographed on 23rd St. in Manhattan, the workers were positioned in front of a darkened storefront which is omitted in the translated painting. The attention becomes concentrated – their labor objectifies into our infrastructure as its utility becomes universal in the function of a roadway.

26" x 32"  oil and wax on canvas 2013

26″ x 32″
oil and wax on canvas
2013

26" x 32"  oil and wax on linen 2015

26″ x 32″
oil and wax on linen
2015

Stop by Main Street Arts to see two of Robert’s paintings in our current exhibition The Human Figure (runs through July 1). View his work online at www.robertsamartino.com.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by ceramic artist John Brien.