Image courtesy of Daniel Mondragon
Image courtesy of Daniel Mondragon

Joseph Guerrero wins Best in Show for the ‘My Medium’ student exhibition

April 24, 2019

The Department of Art + Design’s Student Art Association is hosting their annual undergraduate student exhibition “My Medium” in the Weil Gallery from April 4 until May 3.

Best in Show winner Joseph Guerrero, a senior Graphic Design major, was able give insight into his inspiration and process for the work he submitted:

Q: What was your inspiration behind the series you submitted?

A: In terms of inspiration, I was mainly trying to figure out the most creative means to utilize the process that I was learning. Chine-collé heavily lends itself to collage, so creating a piece with many parts that allowed for a large amount of variation was the best solution. Initially, I was going to create a werewolf transformation but felt that was a little too expected. I ended up just picking what made me laugh more and that was a horse transformation.

This work by Guerrero uses the Intaglio printmaking process and the Chine-collé process for collaging.

Q: Can you explain what Intaglio and Chine-collé is?

A: Intaglio is a long, arduous printmaking process that typically focuses on printing from thin metal sheets such as copper or aluminum. The metal is coated with a crude oil based hard ground, that is heated into a solid state after coating. From this state, an image is drawn on the metal sheet with an engraving needle, and dipped into a vat of acid that eats away at the exposed metal and creates indentations that are used for printing. This is how all of the hard lines within the image are created.

Creating different tones and values with color was achieved through another intaglio process called Aquatinting. For this process, the same plate that was used to create the hard lines is coated with a powdered rosin, then heated into a solid state. From here, the plate is coated in acid-resistant material and re-exposed to the acid in separate intervals, allowing for variation in depth. This allows for more ink to sit in different areas of the plate that create varying tones.

Chine-collé is a highly versatile process used in collage. First, the image is printed onto a very thin sheet of moist paper that is then left to dry. Once dried, the image is cut where necessary, adhered to a smooth surface (in this case plexiglass) via methylcellulose, and left to dry overnight. Once the glue has dried, the cut pieces are ready to be made into a composition that is placed onto a damp sheet of printmaking paper. The composition is then rolled under a printing press that forces the individual pieces to adhere to the paper.

Printmaking has helped Guerrero further his skills in illustration and fine-tune his attention to detail.

Q: How does this style and work translate into your graphic designs?

A: While my greatest strength in design has always been illustration — and making works such as these have allowed me to further that skill — I feel that learning all of these in-depth printing processes have taught me patience over everything else. The complexity of each process and sheer time and planning that goes into each one has allowed me to apply more thought and focus into a lot of my designs. I spend a lot more time in the planning phase of the design process than I used to and feel that my designs have become much more effective because of that.

Q: How did it feel to win Best in Show?

A: I was very surprised to win overall Best in Show. There were so many other incredible submissions by artists far more talented than I. Despite this, I was very happy to have been chosen. The work I submitted is one of my favorite pieces I have done and took an incredible amount of time and effort to make, so it was worth it in the end.

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