'They Don't Like It', Etching
Haig Demarjian has been a painter and printmaker for over 25 years. His work is reminiscent of graphic novels and the imagery of silent horror movies.
What was your first experience of printmaking?
In undergrad. I wasn't even planning to be an Art Major. I took a class called Printmaking, not knowing what that even meant. David Bumbeck, a truly amazing artist, introduced me to zinc, nitric and the burin. And my fate was sealed.
What inspires you as an artist?
Making marks is where it all starts. And those marks get informed by all the stuff that I've been steeped in for a lifetime... Goya, Picasso, DiChirico, Ensor, Lugosi, Karloff, Chaney, Ivan Albright, Hasil Adkins, Joe Coleman, Edward Gorey, P.T. Barnum, Stan Lee, Lloyd Kaufman, Russ Meyer, The Ramones, Russell Hoban, Phillip Guston, EC Comics, Ray Harryhausen
What are you working on at present?
Lots of stuff. Printwise, the major thing over the past year and a half has been a multi-plate intaglio piece tentatively titled "Time is an Abyss". It's the most thoroughly autobiographical piece I've ever done and the most intensively etched, engraved, scraped and burnished piece I've done in a long time. Still in progress.
The thing that is REALLY taking up all of my time is my comic book, "The NEW Adventures of SUPER INGA". There are currently 2 volumes in print and this fall we'll launch the continuing webcomic adventures. A new page every week should prove to be a BLAST: www.SuperIngaSaga.com
'Futile Things', Etching and Engraving
What is special about printmaking?
What ISN'T special about printmaking?!?!??! I hung a sign in the studio that reads "Printmakers do it in reverse". The printmaker is constantly forced to re-examine how the world works-- upside-down and backwards. The printmaker is constantly solving problems and having to approach images from "the other side". The inventiveness that printmaking requires is invigorating.
What is your favourite printmaking process, and why?
Intaglio. Working the metal is such a deeply rewarding process. There's no other activity quite like engraving... pushing metal through metal... creating a mark IN FRONT of the tool? A mark that can be elegant or brutal... paper gets forced into it and that mark rises up from the smashed-flat surface of the image. It's all so damn exhilarating.
What prompted you to take part in the International Print Exchange?
The first year, when I first heard about it, it seemed cool-- tiny format, England. I figured why not.
I've been knocked out by the results-- what a great job Green Door does! It's always a thrill to get back such a professional, neatly-designed little bundle of prints. So I've done it every year! I love it.
What is your favourite colour?
I love that you Brits spell it "colour". I almost wrote a British children's book once. The title was "On Holiday in my Favourite Colour Aeroplane" but I never got past a single lousy cover sketch.
I'm not a colorist. For me, color is usually superfluous and confuses rather than clarifies the issues at hand. I prefer the electric potential of black and white. Henry Rollins once sang "There's nowhere to hide in the black and white" and I swear he was talking about woodcut. I mean, he wasn't, but I feel like he was.
What is your favourite paper and ink?
I was born and raised on Graphic Chemical 514 Black and Arches cover. Since 2009 I've been using Caligo SafeWash and I like it fine.
What kind of music do you listen to whilst printmaking?
When I'm not listening to Motörhead it can vary A LOT. Ravi Shankar, Electric Wizard, 70s funk, Dvorak, garage/surf/punk. You name it.
I have a Pandora station called "Sanford and Son radio" and I highly recommend that.
Who is your favourite printmaker?
There are so many it's hard to pick. Picasso is a constant inspiration; it's just innovation on top of innovation with that guy! Urs Graf is SOOOOO badass. Durer is the Lemmy of printmaking. How about Goltzius? Piranesi? Goya.
'It's the Gills, Man!', Etching