On Saturday October 19th, at Washington Park, the Guinness Book of World Records was broken in a community art project, entitled “The River of Life.” Starting with a four foot by 450 foot painting that the public help paint, and then running over it with a steamroller. The pressure from the steamroller will cause the painted image to be transferred onto the paper, creating what is known as a Monotype print. The first print record was made in 1999 on the grounds of the Newark Museum and was recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records.This print has now become The Worlds’ Largest Print according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The originally the event was scheduled for October 12th, due to rain in the forecast it was moved onto Saturday the 19th.
The printing process and technique is called Monotyping. It is a type of printmaking made by drawing or painting on a smooth, non-absorbent surface. The surface, or matrix, was historically a copper etching plate, but in contemporary work it can vary from zinc or glass to acrylic glass. The image is then transferred onto a sheet of paper by pressing the two together, usually using a printing-press. The began with community members and artist painting on a translucent plastic sheet.
The inks used may be oil based or water based. With oil based inks, the paper may be dry, in which case the image has more contrast, or the paper may be damp, in which case the image has a10 percent greater range of tones. The important element monotyping print making produces one unique print, or monotype; most of the ink is removed during the initial pressing. The paper is then rolled out over the painted translucent sheet.
Cardboard covering is then placed over the the paper. These prints from the original plate are called “ghost prints.” A print made by pressing a new print onto another surface, effectively making the print into a plate, is called a “cognate”, and then a steam-roller presses out the print.
. The cardboard is then removed the paper is gently lifted and turned over, and the print is complete.
Although subsequent re-printings are sometimes possible, they differ greatly from the first print and are generally considered inferior.
This was a largest turnout in public printmaking to date from Newark and nearby communities Newark and surrounding of Essex County coming together for the purpose of sharing in a fun, creative and historical experience.
This event was conceived by a group of New Jersey artists who wanted to bring the community of Essex County together through a public art project. Steve McKenzie, artist, printmaker and manager of the Arts Workshop at the Newark Museum, organized the Quarter Mile Print. “I really wanted to do a project that the community of Newark could participate in and felt that doing a print that would be a quarter mile long would grab people’s attention and bring people together. I have been experimenting with non-traditional forms of printmaking all my life and the Quarter Mile project is only the latest iteration.” says Steve.