Sunday, December 20, 2009
Valgalart/ Working with William Wegman
I decided to resurrect my posting about the "artists I have worked with" series as a print maker at Wasserman SilkScreen Company. I really liked almost every artist I have worked with except for one or two (I worked with a lot!) but one I really liked was William Wegman. His art is all about his dogs and he's world renowned but you would never know because the guy was a pleasure to be around, very sweet to me and I don't mind saying I had a little crush on him. He is real smart and really loves those dogs, but all the while crafting amazing pictures that everyone wants. You might be wondering how we printed his work and for sure he was a special case because his originals are enormous Polaroid prints and call for reproducing a photographic realistic look using a fine art method of printing. We worked hand in glove with another printer that Jeff had a relationship with called Black Box and they made collotypes of his art on rag paper and we added some layers of ink (via silkscreen process) to enhance and pop the images. Plus we did a special varnish which is always gnarly and stinky and you get quite high being around it for a whole day. I hate to think about all the fumes I inhaled but what are you gonna do. Hazards of the trade. I think we did a 3-4 piece portfolio that was in a beautiful case and the prints were large. Normally I would remember all of the details, how many prints but at that time period his work was so hot that I was able to sell my printers proofs immediately for good money and I was a starving artist person so I could always use the cash. They sold for over $1000.00 each, there were at least 3 so I can remember I was thrilled that me and my dog Yote ate well then too :) The time period was 1988 and in those days people would walk in and buy prints directly from us and it was pretty great. Whenever an artist signs a limited edition and you have a very large print like this you must have a person that moves the prints while the artist signs in a very delicate and flowing way so that he just goes from print to print from a stack and barely has to lift his hand or head, It's like a little dance. I would move them to make a new perfectly aligned, signed stack. That was usually one of my jobs aside from racking and mixing inks which presented me two areas that I got quality time with the artists, mixing their inks for the proofing process with them and moving the prints while they sign them. We always make the print twice, once on a few sheets for the proofing process and again as the final edition so you are talking at least a month or more working on one artists job and you get to have a little insight into their mind and ideas. I feel lucky I had the opportunity to work for him. I looked up the print "Dusted" that we printed and it sells right now in a slumpy market for $5500.00- 7500.00. When you look forward and catch the vision if you have the ability to see ahead, buy art as it comes out at a good price. It can be a very lucrative and wise investment in the future, plus you can hang it on the wall and enjoy it too. Of course his work now sells in every possible market and it is what many artists wish for. It couldn't happen to a nicer man.
William Wegman, Dusted, 1988. Screenprint, 30 x 24 inches, 76.2 x 61 cm (paper). Edition 47/96. Signed, dated, and numbered, recto.