Clarksville, TN – As the final stages of construction on Austin Peay State University’s new Art and Design Building were completed this summer, and with his campus studio unavailable, assistant professor Patrick Vincent had to look elsewhere to apply his printmaking.
“A lot of other disciplines of art can be done with less equipment, but printmaking requires a lot of machinery — some of it very old — and I didn’t have a space this summer, so I guess I had to fly to another country just to get a studio,” Vincent joked.
The second-year Department of Art and Design professor recently completed an international artist in residence program at Black Church Print Studio in Dublin, Ireland.
A premier printmaking artist collective located in the heart of the capitol of the Republic of Ireland, Black Church Print Studio welcomes one artist a year to serve in residency, inviting them to spend a month at the facility and granting full access to its printmaking equipment.
Since 2008, Black Church’s residency program has invited printmakers from around the world, including Germany, Finland, Australia and the United Kingdom. The opportunity to be included alongside previous residents and display his work for an international audience, Vincent said, were among the biggest draws for his application.
“The exposure you get from this residency was a major part of the experience for me,” Vincent said. “I was being promoted through the group’s social media while I was there, and people who came to my demonstration at the studio now know about an artist that they hadn’t heard of previously.”
Just as important as exposure was access to the artist collective’s space and diverse collection of printmaking equipment. One of the finest art print studios in Ireland, Black Church provides fully equipped facilities for etching, photo-intaglio, screen-printing, relief, giclée digital printing and — Vincent’s preferred method — lithography, or the process of printing art from a stone or metal surface chemically treated to repel ink onto paper after being mechanically pressed together.
The amount of equipment and space needed to perform what Vincent himself describes as “a subset of a subset” of printmaking makes places like Black Church appealing to artists like himself.
“Because we’re dealing with machinery that hasn’t been the preferred method of production for hundreds of years, the pieces you need can be cumbersome and hard to collect. That’s what makes artist collectives like Black Church appealing because printmakers can band together and share their equipment,” Vincent said. “At Black Church, it was very popular with a lot of recent art school graduates in the Dublin area who no longer could use the equipment at their university, as well as a lot of older artists who came to use the space.”
As part of the residency program, Vincent was required to complete two editions of works and donate prints to the studio itself. Much of Vincent’s work explores social and environmental commentary through print traditions, and for his work at Black Church, Vincent said wanted to create works invocative of Ireland’s unique geography.
“I think Black Church likes to find something different with each resident they select in terms of their methods and portfolio,” Vincent said. “A lot of my work relates to environmental concerns, so what I produced for Black Church was concerned with water. Because Ireland is itself an island, and I think there’s an appreciation among its people, I wanted to do something that could relate to my location.”
While Black Church covered Vincent’s expenses while at the studio, it did not support his travel from Clarksville. Instead, Vincent was supported locally through Austin Peay’s Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts (CECA), which provided him with research funding to cover his travel expenses.
Vincent said that the support he received through CECA, as well as the University’s Department of Art and Design, made his residency possible.
“As great of an opportunity as this was, I don’t know if I’d have been able to take advantage of it if CECA didn’t cover my travel cost and the University didn’t support this professional growth opportunity,” Vincent said. “I see this as a benefit for everyone, as I get the chance to work at a tremendous international studio, while both myself and the University benefit from the exposure I received as a resident.”
For more information on Vincent, visit www.twinbeepress.com
To find out more about Black Church Press, visit www.print.ie