Douglas Crets

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Giving Credibility to the Shadow Education System

George Cornwell: Fine Arts Screen Printer, George Cornwell’s Serigraphs

Pig by artist Jim Draper, Serigraph by George Cornwell

George Cornwell is trained in fine arts, and he owns  his own studio, where he does serigraphs of work done by other color artists. He comes to the site recommended by his fiancée, Noli Novak, who we interviewed earlier last month. Before we get started with the questions, George Cornwell wanted to make this clear:

A big factor in the beginning success of my fine art business is in concentrating locally, working with local artists. Having found my “niche”, applying it in a local community is fundamental in its early success.

Here is a link to his site. You can read the interview after the fold.

Pig by artist Jim Draper, Serigraph by George Cornwell

Douglas: What kind of training does it require for someone to start and run an arts business?

George: I believe having some experience in an art form would be advantageous, but being able to socially communicate with an artist is essential, from my experience. While in the past, working with the art “business” has been highly oriented on the business side( the art business being publishing, retail sales, etc.) today’s world, especially from my experience as a fine art screen printer, finds a direct relationship with the artist himself, many times involving the artist in the creative process itself. Artists, by a large degree over business, prefer to work with people they like, whom its a pleasure to be with, to allow themselves to move ahead in their experience as an artist, ( Publishers, et al, try to minimalize the artist’s involvement, going straight to commercial printers, for a “financially” efficient approach). That does, of course, lead much value to ones experience in the art form one chooses. So, the traditional ethic of learning your trade through internship and working in commercial applications is of high value.

Douglas: How did it get started? What was the conversation, action, or incident that inspired you to do this?

George: I began in the industry in 1987 at the bottom; cleaning, reclaiming screens for printing. The pay was dismal, but that meant nothing to me (I was a guitarist in a punk band, dreaming of a record deal). But, as time passed, I moved up the ladder, from proofing (color mixing) to printing editions. I felt that my ability to get along and enjoy the company of my mentors defined my destiny as a fine art screen printer.

Douglas: Who are mentors to your work?

George: My prior employers:
a) Jackson Lowell (Chromacomp printing)
b) Jean-Yves Noblet (Noblet Serigraphie)
c) Bill Wollod (Willco Fine Art Printing)

Douglas: What did one of your mentors teach you that you will never forget?

George: Bill Wollod taught me to mix colors in respect to fine art screen printing. He would always explain to me how the color affects both previously printed color and colors to come later. His tutoring is invaluable to me today; it allows me to pass this trait to every artist I meet. It involves an intuitive sense of how to give the artist an element that they may have difficulty expressing to a layman. And even present them with options to take their art to a higher level.

Douglas: If you could teach the artists of tomorrow a skill outside of the scope of art, what would it be?

George: Mathematics, in that mathematics teaches one to solve problems. Fine art screen printing, as most things in life, involve troubleshooting. Resolving machinery, emulsion issues, color selection issues. Almost always the solutions are simple, but an experience in problem solving makes the difficulty much easier!

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