Art tutorial video! Anime pop printmaking with David Manje, Mesa Arts Center Arizona.
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Printmaking has come a long way since Hokusai’s “Great Wave.” At Mesa Arts Center (MAC), I rolled acid paint onto stencils and cranked out anime-pop prints.
David Manje is the kindest, most encouraging instructor imaginable. He’s a well-regarded printmaker, with multiple arts and education degrees from Arizona State University. Now retired, he teaches part-time at MAC.
My jaw dropped when I saw the stencils David made for me. He had cut out over 70 shapes representing my spooky-cute world, including my Scottish Fold cat, eyelashes, lips, hearts — and even a bagelhead!
Traditionally, pochoir involves inking or painting stencils for hard-edged prints. David’s unique, freestyle method creates neon layers that flow from pop art to abstract.
1. David set up three stations. Each had an inked Plexiglas plate, several paints, and a selection of stencils. Using a roller, he showed me how to color the stencils until they reached an orange-peel-like texture.
Rollin’ with my homies.
Basil Farrow looks angry because hasn’t been painted yet.
When you lift the stencils, they leave behind a bright outline.
2. We randomly layered the colored stencils onto the plates, with plenty of overlap.
3. David covered each plate with dry paper, and I cranked it through the etching press. “A manual press lets the printer feel the variations in pressure exerted on the paper and plate,” he explains.
The first run, called a “generation-one print,” was starkly graphic, with bright colors and hard edges.
Drying the prints on the racks.
4. We removed the stencils, and switched them between the plates. Thanks to the overlap, they’re now marked with intriguing patterns.
For subsequent runs, we used wet paper and greater pressure.
“The color and shape magic begins to happen as the stencils continue to be interchanged,” says David.
“Random patterns begin to occur on the tops and bottoms of each stencil that breakup recognizable imagery.”
I had a lively afternoon with David — one of the warmest teachers I’ve ever met — and got an arm workout to boot!
In total, we made four generations of prints, or twelve works. With each run, the clean cut-outs devolved further into soft-hued amalgams.
Here are more of David’s pochoir prints. You can take his class, as well as other visual and performance arts workshops, at the Mesa Arts Center.
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