3:30 and 5 pm Thursday, November 14
GLENS FALLS, New York—What started as an aspiring musician creating a poster for his band’s gigs turned into a career for Nathan Meltz.
The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor was an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin, which has one of the nation’s top printmaking programs, when his band needed advertising and merchandise.
“I applied my printmaking knowledge and that continued to evolve, until my print work was based in different social movements,” he said.
Meltz will lead Propaganda Print Party, a hands-on workshop introducing teenagers and young adults to printing, at 3:30 and 5 pm Thursday, November 14, at The Hyde Collection. The free event examines the role of screen printing as a tool of social protest and cultural expression.
Participants will design paper stencils expressing a message of their choice, using drawn images. The stencils will be transferred to silkscreens, which participants will be able to apply on a surface of their choice.
“Screen prints have become an important part of history, since the first time they were part of a political and social movement,” Meltz said.
Much of Meltz’s work since has been rooted in social movements, which is typical of the art form, he said. In the mid-twentieth century, screen printing fueled student protests, most notably in Paris in 1968, when the École des Beaux-Arts was turned into a workshop for revolutionary messages.
“Screen printing is a very immediate printmaking form,” Meltz said, making it accessible and inexpensive. “It doesn’t require some of the laborious steps other printmaking does.”
That’s not to say it’s simple. “There’s really robust complexity, once you get into it, but it’s pretty easy to step into and get the basics,” he said.
At RPI, Meltz teaches printmaking, 2D animation, 2D design, and graphic storytelling. In his own artwork, he examines how technology has wormed its way into every part of our lives.
“Nathan offers great insight into the power of screen printing, a relatively simple gateway to more complex printmaking,” said Jenny Hutchinson, The Hyde’s curator of Museum education and programming. “He’s able to break down the art form — in which he is highly skilled — to teach young people the basics and let them create their own messages, whether it be a sign promoting a club, or a serious social issue.”
Teenagers and young adults of all art experience and skill levels (and that includes those who have never tried printmaking) are welcome to attend this free workshop, which is funded through the generosity of the Robert Lehman Foundation.
The first session begins at 3:30 pm and is nearly booked. The second session begins at 5 pm. Reservations are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
TO REGISTER, contact Hutchinson at 518-792-1761, ext. 327, or [email protected].