by Carrie Stetler
Armed with steamroller, artist aims to set record for looooooongest print!
Artist, Stephen McKenzie, gained a note of notoriety in the seventies for using his roller skates to make art. Inking his wheels he would skate over the surface of a canvas. Repeating this process multiple times until he felt that the print was completed.
But soon, he moved on to bigger things — steam rollers.
He relates how one day, he was watching a small paving crew doing some repair work and the idea occurred to him that the roller they were using for their patchwork job was nothing but a big press that could be driven around and that a print of any size could be made as a result. Soon thereafter, McKenzie bought his first steamroller for $600 and began making large, steamrolled prints.
On October 7, McKenzie, with much help from the public as well as professional artists he will attempt what may possibly be a record-breaking effort of a print that will be one quarter mile long. Entitled “The Quarter Mile Print Project, It’s a Family Affair’’ the effort, sponsored by the Newark Arts Council in conjunction with the Open Doors Tour, will span 1,320 feet of individually-made prints that will be transferred from plastic to paper via a steamroller, provided courtesy of D.L. Paving Contractors of Newark.
In this regard he is seeking 500 to 600 participants to come that day and create the art that will be printed.
Each participant will be given a palette of ink with primary colors, some brushes and a sheet of paper. The amount of paper required for the project will be approximately 600 sheets, generously donated by the Canson Paper Company.
The project is a form of printmaking known as a monotype. “Printmaking is a confusing process for many people when they first learn about it,’’ McKenzie says. Fundamentally the process is about transferrence of an image from one surface to another by means of pressure, either with a machine, such as a press, or by hand. There are a variety of different printmaking processes and they all have their technical sides. The monotype is the least technical of the printmaking processes yet offers a great deal of flexibility and creativity.
“Just by its nature printmaking is one of the best forms of sharing an art-making experience,’’ states McKenzie. It’s very much a communal process that promotes sharing and learning. The idea is to bring people together to share in an artmaking experience that is fun, playful and best of all, you leave with a print.
The Quarter Mile Print Project begins at 11 a.m. in Washington Park, Newark. For more information, contact Stephen McKenzie at firstname.lastname@example.org or on his Facebook page, The Quarter Mile Print Project: It’s a Family Affair.