The lowdown

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Serivce-learning through printmaking in the Roaring Fork Valley, CO since 2015.

Vanessa porras

Wear it! CSA featured artist and design

“As an artist, participating in the Quarterly Club has opened a new window of possibilities. I had the facility, support and mentorship to learn a new printmaking technique that I would not have otherwise had the resources for. It’s been such a privilege to be a student again and learn a new form of expression. I hope you all subscribe”

Words from the artist:
“I’ve learned as much about screen printing as I have learned about myself through this process. When to be soft and when to be strong. To practice patience when things don’t go as planned and to be persistent. I have to leave ego at the door and come in as a child ready to play and learn.”
Vanessa Porras works as an educator for Aspen Art Museum teaching primarily for AAM’s outreach programs including Mobile Story Art, Pitkin County Jail and Youth Recovery Center at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs. A portion of her teaching time is also devoted to VOICES, a non-profit based out of Carbondale, whose mission is to amplify voices through the arts. Vanessa works as a printmaker specializing in woodcuts and abstract ink drawings.
Vanessa obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from Colorado Mesa University in 2018. Art has always been an imperative ingredient to the makeup of her character. She initiated her odyssey back to art after graduating from Colorado Mountain College in 2014, where she received an Associate of Arts in Spanish.
Artist Statement
Throughout the exploration of my work, I continue to be pulled back to the origin. The fertile ground that is the ocean floor; the feminine that continues to give birth.

The give and take of the ocean waves, a communication between undulations. The cleansing and healing of salt water. How can something so nurturing and majestic be simultaneously so unforgiving and tragic.

The mountains I climb challenge my every step as I follow the tradition of engraving trails. In my own journey I try to fill the path I’ve left behind with gold in hopes that my time on earth and the suffering endured will hold meaning and beauty.

The lines that I carve into wood and draw obsessively are a meditation and a prayer. Like humming a bolero while braiding the hair of my ancestors and feeling the power of this lineage in my hands. 

The design process:
We began the process of the T-shirt design with an idea that was directly feeding off of my current body of work. Reina helped me bring this idea to life by breaking it up into sections. I first began by writing about it. It was important to identify the different elements and the meaning behind them. I then transitioned into understanding the processes of screen printing and whether my initial idea would translate well or even be possible with screen printing.

As with anything new, it took awhile for me to understand visually what the end result would look like. So naturally, I got to work on paper, I wanted to have something look like mountains and waves simultaneously residing and fading. I had a mental image that I tried to recreate by painting with watercolor.  Keeping in mind the mesh count of the screens, I collaged a halftone pattern that would be similar to what I had painted. That portion of the process was like putting together a puzzle without the help of the image on the box to tell you what it’s supposed to look like.

From there, I hand drew the lines on a piece of paper that would be printed to overlap the halftone design. The next step was to figure out how to make the lines in the front of the shirt connect to the lines on the back. As an artist I tend to default with what I know best, initially I wanted to hand draw all the lines on the shirt, however, as part of the learning process I pushed outside of my comfort zone and began to understand how I could achieve a similar effect with the screen. The lines will connecting the front and back prints will be hand drawn elements. Getting to be a student again and learning a new printmaking technique has opened up so many possibilities in my artmaking.