Interested in Classical Gangster Films?

Discover the Art of Printmaking with Julius Klemm in our “Art from Academy”-Series — Ruth Polleit-Riechert, PhD April 21, 2017

They all come to life again: “A Bronx Tale”, “Goodfellas”, “Key Largo”, “Dark Passage”, “Chinatown”, “Tiger”, “Ghost Dog”, “Casino”, and “Odd Man Out”. Julius Klemm is a huge fan of classical gangster films.

Julius’ passion is it to bring attention to old films and old techniques of printmaking again.

He draws his own film images and incises them by hand on a metal plate before printing. Most of the time, he colours his etchings individually afterwards.

The artist is currently studying Fine Art at Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach (HfG). From his early childhood on he has been drawing stories. With great dedication, Julius has been working on a whole series of film still prints for a book. If you want to see how he creates his art, and how printmaking especially the etching technique works, you wouldn’t want to miss this video.

Julius Klemm, “A Bronx Tale”, Etching, 2016.

What is printmaking?

Printmaking is a process of producing multiple images through printing. They are created from a single original surface, technically known as ‘matrix’ or ‘plate’. The intensity of each print varies, which makes every print an unique piece of art.

What is the history of printmaking?

Printmaking goes back to Johannes Gutenberg (1400–1468), who developed the printing press in 1440. It became an art form, when the German artist Daniel Hopfer (1470–1536) decorated amor with etching methods and applied this technique to printmaking. In the 18th century, art prints were not regarded as originals. As from the beginning of the 19th century, however, printmakers started to create limited editions of their prints and signed them to verify authenticity.

Which famous old techniques and printings do you need to know?

The oldest printing technique is woodcut. The artist carves an image into a wooden surface, which is then inked and printed. For instance,“Portrait of Otto Mueller” by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880–1938) is a very famous woodcut.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Portrait of Otto Mueller, Woodcut, 1915.

Some artists incise the image onto a wax-coated metal plate. It is then soaked in acid, which corrodes the lines and leaves the wax out. When the plate is inked and pressed on paper, the image appears in negative. This type of printmaking is called etching and was mastered by Rembrandt (1606–1669) and later on Francisco Goya (1746–1828). Julius Klemm uses this method as well.

Francisco Goya, “The sleep of reasons produces monsters”, Etching, circa 1799.

For an engraving, the artist draws the image directly on a metal surface, which is inked and printed. Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) has created a great number of well known engraving art works.

Albrecht Dürer, “Melencolia I”, Engraving, 1514.

Lithography is a printing method based on the principle that oil and water do not mix. Artists apply the image directly to a flat surface (stone or metal) with an oil based ink. As a result, the image will repel water and accept ink. This rather difficult technique was used by Picasso (1881–1973) for example.

There are two modern techniques of printmaking: screen-printing used by Andy Warhol (1928–1987) and Keith Haring (1958–1990) and digital printing. Printmaking is also part of “street art” which we discussed in our previous post.

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