A Decade of Printing!

Chris Charles

Posted on January 20 2019

This week, ten years ago, I started my first letterpress class. It’s a crazy thought, and it’s amazing how fast those ten years flew by. Prior to enrolling in the class, I had taken a decade long break from making anything. I had been focused on going back to school for graphic design, and found painting (my major in college) to be more a source of anxiety than joy. So I stopped.

I have always said I fell into letterpress very randomly, and I have no idea what compelled me to sign up for that class. I had never taken an art class outside of college, and I had no idea what fueled my whim. After pondering that fateful decision this past week, I think it was just a matter of it being time. Time to start making, something, again. I knew deep down that I was an artist, always had been, and I needed to start finding an outlet for that creativity. Maybe if I hadn’t found the letterpress class it would have been a drawing or painting or photography. But it was printmaking, which in the end was the perfect fit for me.

I spent this past week working on a new print, a study of sorts for a larger series that I am about to start. It was a little chickadee that I had carved last spring but never had a chance to print. I think having this much time to mull over how I wanted to proceed was really helpful, as it helped clarify the tone of the upcoming prints. I realized as I was working on it, that the very first print I did that wasn’t a concert poster or greeting card- the very first art for art’s sake print I made, was a chickadee! It’s a very different style, and I used a rather different process to make it. The older print was designed on the computer, then I had custom plates made. My most recent print was from a sketch in my sketchbook, and was created from 3 hand carved linoleum blocks, and a pressure print (a technique I started playing with a year or two into printmaking). I still love that first print, I think it has many elements that still define my style, but the new print represents a new level of confidence in my work. One that I don’t think I could have dreamt of ten years ago.

It’s winter now, and I have a few months to work on new prints before my crazy show season starts up again. I think for the first time since I started printing, and certainly for the first time since I went full-time with this, I have an energy and excitement for creating that I haven’t experienced in a long time- decades, really. I absolutely can not wait to see my new ideas come to life, and I really can’t wait to share them with you. So, stay tuned…


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  • Chris: January 22, 2019

    Thank you so much Margi and Stefani! I appreciate your ongoing support, it truly means so much to me! I also appreciate all you both do for the arts community at large- it’s a much stronger, well connected place because of your efforts!

  • Margi Ochs: January 21, 2019

    Chris….such a beautiful and inspiring story. You have found your bliss and the sweet little chickadee shows it.

  • Stefani Tadio: January 21, 2019

    Congratulations, Chris – 10 years is a wonderful milestone! Your new chickadee is so sweet.

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