Tattooist to develop new techniques

June 5, 2014 | Career Fund

“When I heard the news, I jumped up on a street bench and yelled ‘Whoo hoo!’.”

This was the reaction from printmaker and tattooist Alexi Keywan on learning that she was the recipient of $1,500 from Copyright Agency’s 2014 Career Fund. The Lismore practitioner is heading to San Francisco this month to participate in a week-long photogravure workshop at Crown Point Press.

“The workshop is taught by master printers, the likes of which are not currently available in Australia,” Alexi says.

Photogravure is a photo-mechanical process where a copper plate is coated with a light-sensitive gelatin tissue which has been exposed to a film positive, and then etched, resulting in a high quality “intaglio” print that can reproduce the detail and continuous tones of a photograph.

Alexi, who previously taught at the National Art School, is interested in extending her practise and this also lead to her apprenticeship as a tattooist.

“Printmaking and tattooing have a significant history in Japan. In earlier periods, printmakers who worked with woodblocks, would also design tattoos…and there is still a crossover in the tools used by both disciplines today.”

Attending the Crown Point Press workshop has been a dream of Alexi’s since she was in art school.

“Master printers from Crown Point Press came to our classes when I was studying art and I saw them use the practice of photogravure. It’s not a widely used technique here in Australia and these printmakers are elite in their field.”

Receiving money from the Copyright Agency Career Fund will make all the difference, Alexi says, in the level of financial stress that she would otherwise have experienced.

“It will be a huge help, as the grant will cover the cost of the workshop which will allow me to develop my work in an aesthetic way and I will be able to acquire skills that I couldn’t in Australia.

“I don’t make a lot of money from my art work and this means that I will be significantly relieved of the financial burden.”
Alexi says she is looking forward to sharing the skills she will learn with her students. “I teach master classes to students in Sydney and the workshop will allow me to introduce another means of printmaking into my work and be able to share that method with my students.”

The Copyright Agency’s Career Fund is open to visual artists, writers and publishers who would like to develop their skills and careers.

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