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Axellence in Fine Art

(May 2006) posted on Thu May 11, 2006

Discover how Axelle Fine Arts approaches the printmaking process and why it continues to rely on traditional methods.

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By Andy MacDougall

When we first started, we would print 250 sheets to end up with an edition of 200. It seemed like a lot of spoilage, but if you lose one print per color and you have 75 colors, you could be in trouble at the end. On our last edition, we started with 250 sheets and after 65 colors, we had only lost 12 pieces.

After the presses are running, I answer my messages, which usually deals with scheduling of artist visits (we try to have an artist in the shop every day, but only one at a time!) and pickup/deliveries. Then I sit down and make the color separations for the next day. If it's a 60-plus-color job, then we try to stay three to five colors ahead of the printing. For smaller jobs, we separate the whole job. In the afternoon, I try to line up the next month’s work. We usually have 10 to 15 works on the table at any time—a few die before they reach the printing stage. Others mushroom to even bigger projects than originally planned.

Where do your artists come from?
The artists we work with are largely from New York, but we have artists coming from all over the world. We've had a rock band from Japan, and individuals from Austria, Canada, France, Spain, England, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Germany. From the US, they come from as far as California and as close as two blocks away. What's great with our location is artists can come to town to install a show at a gallery and hop on the subway to make some prints.

We try to take on work that is interesting or challenging. In the last year, we have had work up at more than 20 museums worldwide and countless galleries. In November, we helped prepare work for six shows in New York alone. We had a print with Shazia Sikander at the opening of the newly redesigned MOMA and work with Sue Debeer at the Whitney Bi-annual.


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