Yesterday afternoon I ventured beyond the southern peripherique in sloppy, snowy weather to attend a lithography workshop organised by the Harvard Club. Yes, I was mixing with the finest and brightest once again, only this time I actually felt like one of the most qualified attendees. My non-law/business background and lack of doctorate, made me one of the more ‘artistic’ people in the group – or at least I told myself that.
Thanks to my friends Jen and Greg, I was able to attend the workshop run by an American artist, Jonathan Shimony, who has lived in Paris for many years. He originally moved here for one year and then never left and now has an amazing studio with lithography, etching and other styles of printing presses. I walked in, inhaled the fumes of paints, solvents and other delicious chemicals and felt as if I had just walked into heaven. I was brought back to earth by the sudden need for me to shake hands and pretend to be interested in networking with Harvard Alumni (don’t get me wrong – they were all very nice people, I just find the whole thing disgustingly fake.)
Jonathan began by discussing the history of printing and lithography and I became instantly aware of how little I know about art history. Here I am attempting to get into these fields and I feel like I am a bit of a fraud. Obviously these things take time and research and you need to learn them from somewhere – I just haven’t.
We were then given crayon-like drawing implements and spaces on large blocks of limestone and told to draw. A few scratched heads and embarrassed faces later, everyone had added their piece of ‘art’ to the printing blocks and Jonathan then demonstrated the printing techniques on his amazing press.
It was wonderful to watch and participate in the whole printing process although I have so many questions and want to go back and experiment further. Jonathan mentioned the lack of continued interest in the lithography methods and so when I waved my arms around with excitement and declared that I will continue the traditions for years to come, he said I was welcome to come and be his studio assistant whenever I wanted, just as long as I was willing to get my hands dirty. OH YES PLEASE! If only this had happened two years ago and I wasn’t about the leave the country… Even so, I hope to be able to go in and spend a few days with Jonathan and watch the process much closer and ask the millions of questions floating around in my head.