study to create multiple shapes, moods and color variations by using relief printmaking — a series of cut linoleum blocks printed on Japanese paper with a 1904 Washington proofing press at 480 Canal Street, New York.
Before Tribeca became gentrified there was several big prewar building occupied and rented by printers, with leases often carried on from on generation of printers to the next. Very heavy machinery was used, but because this building had been created to accommodated such equipment there was no danger for any ceilings to give up. The noise inside reminded of being in a big ship boat, and the view to the Hudson River amplified this feeling.
Except for one lithographer there was no ‘art’ printers, the rest was call ‘commercial’. An unfair ironic labeling because historically printers never go defined into different categories, their were and their always be Printers [ period]. It is the principle, spirit and the rigor of the craft that matters : it’s about some form of plate to be inked and pressed into paper, with each projects numerous adjustments and proofing to be done before getting ready to go into production. As for myself I dropped in this building most oddly, more by accident and it is only later on that I realized my fate and the consequences of having been surrounded for several years by such an atmosphere: it was the better ‘school’ I ever attended. Quickly one had to make the difference from what was real and what was irrelevant. To ventilate from the none stop factory like noise I purchase a pair of in line skates who happen to be at the grass roots of the movement. I used them daily regardless any condition of weather [ except for snow]. For a while I even competed on some semi-professional long distances races, the hardest one being the legendary ” 85 miles Athens to Atlanta” in Georgia…this explain why I was so taken to express the theme of dancing and skating. In any event, outside the 480 Canal building or inside, the same rule apply, it was all about finding the ‘balance,’ fine tuning and always concentration.
Also the building is still there don’t look for the 480 number, it does not exist, the entrance it’s now from an other street the name is less banal than ‘Canal,’ this name being associate with the cheap Chinese tourists stores, of course you will always find someone that will argue that it was for safety and legal reasons. New York begins by resenting his ‘origins’ [unless there are salable] ultimately reinvents a fable in order to cash more…the fact that the building was own by the Church did not make any difference… this money was needed for the poor.
Learning from the 480 Canal printer’s building : it is ok not to print anymore on luxury expensive Japenese or French paper, more importantly is to understand that “paper is paper” ! Work does not have to be colorfull either, for 17 years how nany intensly dark events are been shaking humanity [ for not to say any form of live]? …and this why I have been relying on a ‘different level’ of printing in the hope to reach others…
? drawings, linoleum cuts, photographs and texts copyright Raymond Verdaguer, 2012.