WNYBAC Welcomes Paul Moxon

This past weekend, printer extraordinaire and Vandercook printing press expert, Paul Moxon, came to visit WNYBAC.

Paul Moxon
Photo credit Katherine Taylor (Paul’s amazing assistant)

Paul Moxon is one of only a few dozen people in the United States trained in Vandercook maintenance and upkeep. Hailing from Alabama, on this “tune-up tour” across the North East and parts of Canada, Paul will be making stops to work on about 20 different Vandercooks. One of the stops on his tune-up tour was right here at WNYBAC to work on the three Vandercooks that live in our studio!

Check out Paul’s website: Vanderblog

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Meet our presses:

Mandy the mangler
Vandercook No. 4

The Vandercook No. 4 was in production for 25 years from 1935-1960. Today, more than 300 No. 4 presses are still known to exist, as recorded by the Vandercook census, making them a pretty common model by today’s standards.

Please note: Mandy is not known to have ever mangled anyone or anything.


Olga
Vandercook 219

An older style of press, the Vandercook 219 was in production for 20 years from 1927-1947. Today, only about 3 dozen 219s are known to exist, as listed in the Vandercook census, making this a much rarer model of printing press.

Olga may be an old broad, but her quintessential beauty attracts many. She’s used most for demonstrations with tours, field trips and workshops.


Barbie
Vandercook SP20

The SP in SP20 stands for “simple precision.” The SP20 was only in production for 16 years, from 1960-1976. This late model of Vandercook was designed to be able to easily print photo-litho plates, a more modern way of printing than using traditional hand-set type. More than 140 Vandercook SP20 presses are listed in the Vandercook census.

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Why do we name our presses? Naming Vandercooks is actually a fairly common practice. We couldn’t really tell you why nearly all modern printers feel compelled to call their printing press by a name, but at least for us it’s because we know every single press that still exists today has a history and a story. Vandercook stopped manufacturing printing presses in 1976. That means that even the very last Vandercooks ever produced are still 42 years old. And a lot can happen to a machine that many think of as “outdated” in 42 years.

During his time with us, Paul told several stories of the histories of Vandercooks he has encountered. For example, there’s a No. 4 out on the West Coast still in operation after having been through a fire. He mentioned Vandercooks that had been left out in barns and under trees because whoever had inherited them didn’t know what else to do with them or where to put them. Some of these Vandercooks were later re-discovered and were able to be restored and brought back into commission. Stories like these make these machines feel worthy of a human name, don’t they?

Paul Moxon didn’t come all the way to Buffalo to tell us stories about Vandercooks, though. He came to do maintenance on our Vandercooks, and to teach us how to do some basic maintenance in the process.

Most of the WNYBAC staff, including myself, attended the workshop. 

Paul went over the basics with us, then, as we started taking apart each of the presses, we learned by doing. With Paul’s guidance, we completed maintenance tasks including stabilizing Mandy, re-timing the cylinder on Barbie, and cleaning and checking the rollers on all three of the presses. Paul also taught those of us who never had before, how to cut and add new packing to a press.

                  

Vandercook Maintenance Workshop
Photo credit Katherine Taylor

We learned terms like “worm gear” and “crescent.” For reference, the worm gear is a gear inside the top roller that’s cut in such a way that when the crescent turns around the gear it causes the roller to oscillate, mixing the ink and spreading it evenly across the roller. When you remove the crescent, the roller won’t oscillate, which makes it easier to do a rainbow roll (which is when you use multiple colors of ink in a single run).

We practiced this technique the second day when we had enough time to get into some printing. Removing the crescent to do a yellow and red rainbow roll, we did a quick run of prints using a word known to all Buffalonians: Scajacquada.

After two days of getting our hands dirty taking apart Vandercooks and putting them back together, we definitely all know a lot more about our three favorite printing presses. As a community print shop, we aim to maintain a welcoming space for printers of all kinds. By working together to take care of our printing press babies, we’re able to preserve these pieces of history.

We here at WNYBAC plan to be printing for many years to come.

If you’re interested in learning more about letterpress printing and our presses,
take one of our letterpress workshops!

Register Here

Featured Member Artist: Julia Dzwonkoski

Julia Dzwonkoski is one of our members whose art is on display in our 10th Annual Members’ Exhibition. This is her first year displaying work in our Members’ Show and she created her piece here at WNYBAC. In fact, it’s the first print she ever made here.

The print itself is a group of women hanging out and chatting. Julia purposely gave them empty speech bubbles that she could fill in later. This way the text is different in each print, and can reflect different experiences Julia has.

The text in the print in the Member’s Exhibition reflects an experience Julia had in which she was “mansplained” to multiple times in a single day. The experience was “infuriating, but also kind of funny,” Julia explains, which is why she decided to turn it into a little dialogue for her print.

“How we speak to each other, how conversations begin and end, what’s said versus what’s implied, etcetera.”

Julia tends to think in dialogues. “How we speak to each other, how conversations begin and end, what’s said versus what’s implied, etcetera.” The purpose of this series of prints she made is to have a place to put these dialogues that would otherwise be stuck in her head. The one displayed in our Members’ Show is just one of many.

The 10th Annual Members’ Exhibition is on view until August 18th


Prints, like the one Julia has in the Members’ Exhibition, aren’t Julia’s typical artistic medium. Usually she draws or paints. However, after taking a screen printing class with Nathan Deganis-Libera, one of our teaching artists, she has gotten more into printing, taking advantage of our open studio hours.

Julia says the next one of our classes she would like to take is a letterpress class. In addition to taking classes and using our studio, Julia has also done some volunteering here at WNYBAC, helping out with BookFest, one of our biggest annual events, this year.

“She’s impressed by ‘the amazing women who run [the organization]’”

Julia listed off a few different things as her favorite things about WNYBAC. She’s impressed by “the amazing women who run [the organization],” and appreciates “the down-to-earth vibe.” She also enjoys getting to see what other people are making.

We’re happy to have Julia as a member here, and excited to be displaying her work for the first time in this year’s Members’ Show. Here’s to many more Members’ Exhibitions, and many more member years, with Julia!

Featured Volunteer: Katy

Katy is new to WNYBAC; she just started volunteering here earlier this summer. She recently returned to Buffalo from New Paltz, New York, where she is working on finishing up a BFA in Printmaking and a BS in Art Education at SUNY New Paltz.

“With her printmaking background, the opportunity to learn how to typeset ‘was irresistible.'”

She says she wanted to get involved with the local art scene, and with her printmaking background the opportunity to learn how to typeset “was irresistible.”

While Katy is here each week, she uses the presses to create various items for WNYBAC. She has loved the process of learning how to typeset. She says her time here has given her the chance to learn the process of letterpress and she has come to appreciate the technique behind a complicated art. Additionally, volunteering here gives Katy experience working in a professional space. “My favorite thing to do here is learn!”

“My favorite thing to do here is learn!”

In addition to volunteering here at WNYBAC, Katy also is an intern at People Inc’s The Art Experience. There, she teaches art to adults with disabilities, a part of People Inc’s day habilitation program that specializes in art, theater, dance and music.

Katy’s interests are many. When she gets to create her own pieces she uses photo printmaking processes, like photo lithography and photo silkscreen. “I combine photography and line drawing in a dreamlike, but sometimes harsh, way to find an understanding between myself and my deepest fears and desires.” Katy also enjoys embroidery.

“I combine photography and line drawing in a dreamlike, but sometimes harsh way.”

Katy has exhibited her printmaking work in the Hudson Valley area and hopes to continue exhibiting here in Buffalo. She’s off to a good start. Katy has a piece in this year’s Tenth Annual Member’s Exhibition. It’s called “Hallway Scene” and is a lithography print.

            

Hallway Scene


The 10th Annual Members’ Exhibition is on view until August 18th

For Katy, volunteering at WNYBAC has been a great way to tie all her interests together. Printmaking and bookmaking have a closely knit history that Katy has only just begun to explore as a student, and WNYBAC has allowed her to explore this connection further. It has also given her experience in one of the areas she’s getting her degree in, all while allowing her to stay true to her printmaking roots.

Katy has been a great edition to the WNYBAC team and we’re happy to have her as a volunteer here.

Featured Member Artist: Frank Singleton

 

Frank has a unique style of art, just as all of our members do. His art is on display in our Members’ Exhibition. Frank’s piece “Variety” was created using a typewriter.

                                   

“An unusual kind of dictionary.”

Frank’s art centers around the typewriter. “Variety” is part of a longer, book-length series he is creating. He describes it as “an unusual kind of dictionary.” In this dictionary, “the typed text of the meaning of particular words is also used to visually illustrate the meaning.”

The 10th Annual Members’ Exhibition is on view until August 18th


Frank’s artistic process varies widely. Sometimes he creates conceptual works that play with words and meanings, but he also does abstract works and representational works, including landscapes, portraits, and nudes. Frank says his abstract works are often created spontaneously at a manual typewriter, without forethought or planned design. Other works require careful planning before he starts to type. Finally there are times when he only has a vague idea of what he wants to embody, and the piece takes on clarity through his process of creation.

                                        

                                How to Square the Circle                        Music Combo

Frank’s work has been included in various exhibits over the years. He recently had a piece displayed in an exhibit of typewriter art at the Perez Museum in Miami. In 2015 his work was prominently featured in Ruth and Marvin Sackner’s book The Art of Typewriting.

Of course, Frank also displays his work in our annual Members’ Exhibition. This is his third year participating.

               

                                   Earthquake                                                   Portrait of a Lady

Frank is proud to be a WNYBAC member. He first discovered us 10 years ago, when we were just starting out, and when he had just moved back to Buffalo from Massachusetts. He was attracted by the variety and quality of the works we exhibit in our gallery space. In fact, Frank says his favorite thing about WNYBAC to this day is still our variety of exhibits in many media.

There is no better time when this variety is displayed than during our members show. Frank says that when he sees media that’s new to him, he is often tempted to try it himself. That’s another reason why Frank loves WNYBAC. He has a special interest in the book arts and in artists books that “expand on the meaning of what it is to be a book.” Frank himself loves “the idea of creating a book that violates norms and in which one is constantly surprised as one turns the pages.”

“Expand on the meaning of what it is to be a book.”

Frank has already taken a workshop on letterpress and is looking forward to ones on bookbinding and papermaking. His goal is to use these techniques to enhance his own typewritten books.

~ The Maze of Human Life ~

For Frank, WNYBAC is an important asset to the local arts community. It allows him to experience and appreciate art in different media than the one he personally uses. It is also a place for him to display his own art, and to learn new skills to incorporate into that art. Frank encourages his friends and acquaintances to join WNYBAC so that they too can experience these benefits. Frank has been a loyal member for years, and we are proud to provide a space for him to display his work and enhance his skills.

 

Featured Volunteer: Cassie

Cassie is one of our new Summer volunteers. A Graphic Design student at Buffalo State, she is excited to be volunteering at “such a unique place,” and to have the opportunity to learn about and practice the history of design.

“Such a unique place.”

Cassie first discovered WNYBAC two years ago when she attended our annual Edible Book Festival. Since then she has been looking for a way to get more involved in the local Buffalo arts community, and a summer volunteering at WNYBAC was the perfect opportunity.

While Cassie was growing up, she did a lot of arts and crafts, went to pottery camps, and even sold her work at art festivals. Since entering college, she has interned with the Burchfield Penney and the Buffalo Bisons, and she just organized her first solo show a few months ago. As a volunteer, she also got to display some of her work in our annual member show. Her piece is called “Psycho” and it’s a digital print of a poster design for Alfred Hitchcock’s famous horror movie.


The 10th Annual Members’ Exhibition is on view until August 18th


For class, Cassie designs posters and vector-based advertisements, and recently she has gotten into digital painting in Photoshop. Some of the things she works on at her internship include curating social media posts and making video board graphics. When she’s not designing on the computer, her favorite traditional medium to work with is charcoal.

When she’s here at WNYBAC, Cassie returns to the roots of design. She works with the printing presses to make things for our shop, like cards, gift bags, and coasters. She also had the opportunity to help with the screen printing demo we did at our recent Buffalo BookFest. She says that so far her favorite thing to do here is type setting because, even though it can be tedious, she finds it really interesting. Since starting here, Cassie has had to opportunity to learn about screen printing, printmaking, and other mediums she didn’t know much about before.

Her favorite thing about volunteering here is how friendly everyone at WNYBAC is. She appreciates that we get involved in the community by running workshops on and off site, keeping our gallery free and open to the public and by putting on free events like BookFest. Cassie loves learning beyond the classroom and leaving her comfort zone when she can, and she has been able to do that here at WNYBAC.


Lattes: A digital painting

For Cassie, volunteering here relates a lot to her degree. Typography is an important part of graphic design. Much of the jargon still used in design programs today originally came from letterpress. For example, the term leading is still used to describe spacing, because, in letterpress, actual pieces of lead are used to create spaces between lines of type.

“Incorporating traditional elements into her otherwise digital design approach is 

‘important for maintaining a personal style.” 

Cassie says that incorporating traditional elements into her otherwise digital design approach “is important for maintaining a personal style.” “Working with the printing presses has stressed the importance of having a solid layout before anything else gets done.”


Kill Your Darlings: A digital painting

“Working with the printing presses has stressed the importance of having a solid layout before anything else gets done.”

Volunteering here has made her appreciative of the ease and convenience computers create, but she won’t lose touch with the traditional methods she’s learned here. It’s still true that sometimes it’s these traditional methods that get the best results.

For Cassie, volunteering at WNYBAC has been a chance to get involved with the Buffalo art community, and to learn about the tradition of design. It has helped her to evolve her personal style, and given her the opportunity to learn outside the classroom.

We’re thankful for volunteers like Cassie and for the opportunity to share our love of printing with someone new!

 

Remember to stop by and see Cassie’s work and work by our other volunteers and members in our Member’s Exhibition!

 

 

Workshop Instructor Highlights

Mizin Shin

Mizin is a resident WNYBAC workshop instructor and nationally recognized artist. Shin graduated from Hong-ik University with a B.F.A in Printmaking and received her M.F.A from University at Buffalo. She has been teaching at UB since 2015, and also at Villa Maria College in Buffalo since 2017.She was awarded the 2017 Graduate Student Fellowship from the Southern Graphics Council International, and the juror’s award at Brand 45 Works on Paper, 45th Annual National Exhibition of Works on Paper. As a born and raised South Korean who has moved to the United States, her artwork often reflects her experience adapting to multiple cultures.

 

Here’s a look at her work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mizin will be teaching several workshops this summer!

  • Japanese Woodblock Workshop
  • Collagraph Printmaking Workshop
  • CMYK Screen Printing
  • Relief Printing with the Etching Press

Check the workshops page for more info about these. 

Like Mizin’s work? See her website to for more!


Debra Eck

Debra is a resident WNYBAC workshop instructor and internationally recognized artist who works mainly with paper, text, and thread.Originally from Essex in the UK, she has lived and worked in Western New York for over 20 years. She received a BFA in painting from the University at Buffalo and an MA in Visual Culture from the University of Northumbria in Newcastle (UK). She teaches as an adjunct at Jamestown Community College and SUNY Fredonia,  and for many other arts and cultural organizations (including WNYBAC). She enjoys using her talents in sewing and embroidery to make artwork commenting on womens’ sometimes uneasy place in the art world. 

 

Here’s a look at her work

     

     

Debra will be teaching several workshops this summer!

  • Braided Bookbinding
  • Islamic Bookbinding
  • Eco Dye Workshop
  • Page Meditations
  • Gelatin Printing

Check the workshops page for more info.

Like Debra’s work? Check out her website for more!


Janna Willoughby-Lohr

Janna is a WNYBAC workshop instructor and owner of Papercraft Miracles, which she opened in 2004 as a way of making a living creatively. She attended Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC, where she discovered the world of papermaking and bookbinding and was lucky enough to study under renowned book artist and author, Gwen Diehn. She is thrilled that her creations have become a part of so many special moments, from weddings, to graduations, to births. As so much of the world is becoming screen-based and digital, Janna feels a calling to preserve and promote the physicality of book and paper arts.

 

Here’s a look at her work

     

     

Janna will be teaching several workshops this summer!

  • Secret Belgian Bookbinding
  • Basic Hardcover Journal Making
  • Papermaking Basics Workshop

Check the workshops page for more info.

Like Janna’s work? Check out her website for more info!

~Meet The Intern!~

If you’ve been following updates on our social media in these first few months of summer, there’s a good chance that I was the person on the other end.

 

I’m Robin Burns, a senior Creative Writing and Communications major at Canisius College. When I found out that an internship was required to graduate, I knew I didn’t want to just be a coffee fetcher and copy maker. WNYBAC has been so much more than that to me, and has become an organization I am extremely proud to say I intern for.

 

 

 


What do I do?

A bit of everything!

 

 

~The Art Side~
Since starting here, I’ve learned typesetting, printmaking, design, and various other crafts and artistic skills.

I designed and bound these on my first day!

 

 

 

 

 

~The Business Side~

I’ve been mentored in posting for an organization’s social media, drafting mass emails, and promoting and organizing events. (Wait, so you can do social media as a job? I was surprised too!)

Here’s a post of mine you might have seen!

 

 

Speaking of events…

To anyone just getting started in their career, being trusted to promote an event as big as BookFest is a really daunting idea. Luckily, it was an amazing experience and definitely a highlight of my time with WNYBAC.

“The Social Media Guru”

BookFest is a gathering of printers, artists, and lovers of the book arts that happened on July 7th. If you either couldn’t go or didn’t hear about it, it’s an amazing festival full of free craft and print workshops, an artists’ market, and steamroller printing as the main event. If you couldn’t go this time, keep an eye out for next year’s event!

I got to spend all of BookFest taking pictures of everything it has to offer. I participated in workshops, taught a few of them, meet dozens of wonderful artists, and snapped about a hundred pics of the steamroller printing. Art events like BookFest are so important to keep a love of art and handmade things alive, and I’m so glad I was able to help make it a success. Here’s just a few of my favorite moments!

      

                        


To anyone considering volunteering or applying to intern here: go for it.
You will definitely learn new things and get to do so much more than a typical internship.

If you find yourself at WNYBAC on Wednesdays and Fridays for the next few weeks, come say hi! I’d love to meet the people on the other side of my keyboard. And because I’m not above a little self promotion, here’s my personal blog if you’d like to check it out!

Member Spotlight: Nicole Cooke

WNYBAC appreciates the creative and diverse members who make up our community.

JUNE IS MEMBERSHIP MONTH AT WNYBAC
Follow along as we celebrate one outstanding member each week!

Nicole Cooke first got involved with WNYBAC while she was in college, and at this point she’s been a member for four or five years. Nicole studied photography in college, and started out in a college in Cleveland. It was when she transferred back to Buffalo to finish her education, though, that her WNYBAC story starts. She says of the first class she took here, letterpress, “within 10 seconds I was hooked.”


~ Nicole Cooke ~

Nicole really has built letterpress in as a regular part of her art. One of the most common things she works on in our studio space is printing posters with quotes. Sometimes she’ll even print the quotes over a photo she’s taken, because she’s still passionate about photography as well. She owns a business, called “Type & Resolution,” a name that took her awhile to settle on because she has so many interests and products she offers. Nicole is a self-described “jack of all trades.” So the name of her business had to be one that would capture it all.


~ One of Nicole’s completed prints ~ 

Being a jack of all trades certainly keeps Nicole busy. Occasionally she struggles to find the time to do all that she wants to do, because usually the projects she wants to use the WNYBAC space for require that she start and finish in one afternoon. Yet, she does find the time. She finds time to work on much more than just her own personal projects.

In addition to being a member with WNYBAC, Nicole volunteers here. She participates in the member show, sells at Last Minute Holiday Panic, our annual holiday marketplace, and when BookFest rolls around every summer she’s “all involved in that one.” She has done lettering for the festival, and even created a wood block to be used during our steamroller printing demonstrations. She says, “I guess I just love this place so much,” echoing the sentiments of our other members.


~ Print designed by Nicole, printed using a steamroller ~

Nicole says it’s fun to share WNYBAC with people, and she’s always one to encourage others to get involved in the community. Nicole says of WNYBAC, “we could have all the best presses, but if we didn’t have such an awesome staff it would be for nothing.” Nicole has friends here, friends that are the best part about being a member at WNYBAC for her. She describes the WNYBAC spirit as one of community over competition. Here, we are all artists, all with different experiences and skill levels, and we all use this space to come together and create.

Nicole would like to leave you all with the task to go to the WNYBAC website and, “buy a membership.” Membership here supports an arts organization as a part of your community. We offer programming for adults, kids, and everyone in between, because art should be accessible for everyone. Nicole’s goal is to get people in here to see our space, see what we do, meet our staff, and get more involved from there.


~ Just another one of Nicole’s awesome quote prints ~

We at WNYBAC love our members, and are so thankful for members like Nicole who spread the word about who we are and what we do. WNYBAC is happy to provide a space for artists with diverse interests and passions, like Nicole, to explore those interests and come together as a community. Our members are who make us who we are.

 

Check out Nicole’s creations and see more of her process!

Join our community and support our 2018 Membership Drive! 

 

 

Member Spotlight: Joshua Mangis

WNYBAC appreciates the creative and diverse members who make up our community.

JUNE IS MEMBERSHIP MONTH AT WNYBAC
Follow along as we celebrate one outstanding member each week!

Joshua sells a book in the WNYBAC shop called “Lovely, Loving, Loved.” This, and most of his work, focuses on mental health and self care. His goal is to spark a conversation about mental health, and this is a conversation he embodies in his art.


~ Joshua Mangis ~

Joshua’s art and work at WNYBAC is different from some of our other member’s, because it does have such a common theme tying it all together. He also isn’t primarily a print artist, like some of our other members.

Joshua’s artistic roots are as a musician. His main practice as a visual artist is in sculpture. He got started as a visual artist in college, where he was a Community Art major. What is a Community Art major, you ask? It’s a very cool and unique program that’s a hybrid between the social sciences and the visual arts. He had the opportunity to create community art projects as a part of his major.

 He ended up displaying one of these community art projects in the first one of our member shows he participated in. During his Senior year of college, Joshua created a piece centered around pill bottles. He made ceramic tokens pressed from the tops of pill bottles, and people were encouraged to take these tokens, which were a representation of transition and self care. Joshua has a different experience with pill bottles than others. To him, they are common place, while to others, they can be slightly provocative. The point of this piece, like the point of many of his other pieces, was to open up a conversation about mental illness, and to dispel some of the myths surrounding it.

 Another one of the projects for his community art major inspired Joshua to make his book, “Lovely, Loving, Loved.” One of the big projects his senior year was to make a book, and while a lot of people just made portfolio-type books, he was interested in the interactive journal fad, and wanted to try his hand at it. He chose to make self-care the theme of the book because it’s something he’s spent a lot of time thinking about and working on, and he wanted to share what he’s learned in an accessible form for other people.

He says “I think the book is for everyone.” He recognizes that the book may appeal most to people struggling with mental illness, but that its for anyone who wants to work on self-care. “Loving yourself is such an amorphis process.” Personally, he needs specifics to do so. His whole goal in making the book was to make self-care relatable and accessible to anyone who may want to work on their own self-care. It is less intense than full-fledged art therapy, but asks a lot of the same questions. “Lovely, Loving, Loved” is an access point for people who don’t necessarily have a diagnosis.

“Loving yourself is such an amorphis process”

 Joshua’s hope for his work is to start a conversation. So often, artists who struggle with mental illness get labeled as “mentally tortured” like their struggle is essential to their art. Think of Van Gogh who some may describe as the “quintessential mentally tortured artist.” His paintings were inspired by his tortured soul… except not really. Really, he related to nobodies, so that’s who he painted. Van Gogh was a pretty normal dude. His own writing about his mental illness exists, and it’s honest and also hopeful. So the way we talk about him is not helpful. The way we talk about a lot of people battling mental illness is not helpful. That is why Joshua hopes his work will help change the dialogue.

 

Joshua is impressed by the diversity of the work of the artists involved with the WNYBAC community. He doesn’t know how we manage to make it such a community, and he’s impressed. Joshua is one of those impressive artists that make our community so diverse. 


~ Another 3D art piece made with pill bottles ~

So what does he plan to do next to continue his involvement with the WNYBAC community? Joshua definitely wants to participate in the member show again, since the opportunity to exhibit his work has been less frequent since he graduated college, and he misses it. He also might start more work on his book soon, and maybe even make a follow-up or follow-ups.


~ More of “Lovely, Loving, Loved” ~

Joshua is one of the newer members here at WNYBAC, having just moved here from Chicago. But WNYBAC was one of the first places he found here in Buffalo, and he’s been a member since July. Already he’s contributed so much to our community through allowing us to display and sell his artwork with a message and a mission. We at WNYBAC know it is an honor to have Joshua as a member of our community.

Join our community and support our 2018 Membership Drive!

Member Spotlight: John Ozimek

WNYBAC appreciates the creative and diverse members who make up our community.

JUNE IS MEMBERSHIP MONTH AT WNYBAC
Follow along as we celebrate one outstanding member each week!

John Ozimek’s confidence as an artist grew out of the WNYBAC facility and the programs we offer. Our workshops and studio space allowed John to explore forms of expression he might otherwise never have had the opportunity to, and to grow as an artist.


~ Self portrait printed with a rutabaga ~

“My story may be a little strange,” he says about how he got started in the arts community. You see, John’s story does not begin with art. It begins with science. He was always interested in science, and it was this first passion that lead to his passion for art. He recalls spending hours looking at things under a microscope when he was growing up and starting to draw what he saw, which inevitably lead to drawing other things. He stressed that he had no idea what he was doing, especially when he first started. But he also recounted a story from before he was ever a member at WNYBAC, of the first time someone expressed interest in buying some of his artwork. He must have had more of an idea what he was doing than he thought!

The story goes that he had some of his art displayed at his desk at work, and one day one of his co-workers asked him about it, and asked if he would be able to purchase a piece. John, thinking he wasn’t good enough to sell his work, brought in some of his paintings, and told his co-worker he could have any three he wanted.


~ Another print created with a rutabaga ~

That’s where WNYBAC comes in. WNYBAC didn’t make John’s work good enough to sell. The skill was already there. It just gave him the confidence to believe in that skill.

“I’m thankful to her for changing my life in a positive way”

John’s been a member here for more than 5 years, and most of those years he’s shown work in our annual member show. At first, he didn’t want to participate, though. He was approached about participating right after his first workshop by the instructor, Khrista. John says he’s glad she was persistent: “I’m thankful to her for changing my life in a positive way.”

Since then, John says participating in the member show is one of his goals for every year. He displays linoleum block prints, and sometimes he sells his work. He is also a member at Hallwall’s and recently sold a painting during the member show there. The painting was of some spiders he had encountered while out hiking. Because of his background in science, John draws a lot of his inspiration from nature. His very first painting was of a silverfish. One of his recent artworks was a linoleum block print of some fossil coral he found on a rock, again while out hiking.

His piece for this year’s member’s show is different though. It’s called Tense Conversation, and is a drypoint print of two people talking with their stomachs twisted in knots of anxiety. Rather than being inspired by nature, this one is inspired by an artist John looks up to: George Roualt, a famous French artist contemporary of Picasso. The style of Tense Conversation is inspired by Roualt’s We Are Crazy.


~ Tense Conversation ~

John also has a bigger project in mind. This one is nature inspired, and features daphnia, a microscopic organism that lives in Lake Hoyt. John thinks daphnia are so cool because they have an organ that functions like a natural backpack, and that’s how they carry their babies around. So his idea is to make a print of a daphnia with two babies inside it’s backpack. Well actually, three prints (of the same daphnia and babies), all using a different medium, lined up side by side.

He’s not sure when he’ll complete this piece, but he knows he’ll have to make use of WNYBAC’s open studio time to do so. John says getting the opportunity to use the studio is one of the best parts about being a member at WNYBAC.

His other favorite part is the workshops. Which makes sense, considering he’s taken almost all of them. John has taken workshops in everything from book binding to print making. He was most taken with our printmaking workshops, and uses the skills he learned from those most frequently.

“One of the coolest  places in Buffalo”

Of the workshops, John says they’ve helped him connect with the rest of the WNYBAC community. He meets people here, particularly instructors, who are part of the larger Buffalo arts community, a community John wants to see grow even more. That’s why he always spreads the news about WNYBAC to people he talks to who are unfamiliar with our organization. He describes the organization as “one of the coolest places in Buffalo.”

John certainly shows his love for WNYBAC through his involvement as a member. Every year he participates in our member show, attends workshops, and frequents exhibition openings.

John was an artist long before he became a WNYBAC member. It started with drawing what he observed under a microscope, and continued through the time when he was painting everyday. Today, he’s an active member in two community arts organizations and displays and sells his work at shows.


~ Microscope and animals living in Hoyt Lake ~

John’s story is one that tells of the meeting of two passions: science and art, and how these two subjects, which so many people perceive as opposites, can be so very beautiful when combined. John was always an artist, whether or not this was a title he was always comfortable adopting for himself. WNYBAC helped him develop as an artist, and helped him develop his confidence as an artist, and that’s our mission in action.

Join our community and support our 2018 Membership Drive!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our funders listed below, for providing support to WNYBAC's ongoing programs taking place throughout Western New York:

NYSCA M & T Art 4 Moore Zenger Group Evans Bank Community Foundation
Baird Foundation Cameron Jane