Artist Mike Johnson ’10 Awarded Highpoint Center Internship

Posted on October 5th, 2010 by

Mike Johnson '10, Highpoint Center for Printmaking

Mike Johnson '10, Highpoint Center for Printmaking

As Mike Johnson approached graduation in May, 2010, he wasn’t intimidated by the lack of internships or other opportunities in his field: the graphic arts. Nor was he concerned that other fields had more openings available. He continued to search for options and followed websites and postings of companies and organizations whose reputations he knew and appreciated. His patience,
along with some serious research, paid off.

On June 1, Johnson started a 7-month Studio Assistant Internship with Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis, one of the few fine art print editioning and publishing studios of its kind in the Midwest. As the Studio Assistant Intern, he is working with the Artistic Director/Master Printer, Senior Printer, and visiting artists in the day-to-day operations of the studio. His first project was a collaborative effort to produce around 20 different editions of prints for Mexico City-based artist Carlos Amorales. As Johnson wrote, “The prints that we worked on incorporated his signature silhouettes seen in much of his previous video animations, installations, sculptures, paintings, drawings, and performances. The printmaking methods we used on his pieces included lithography, intaglio, and relief printing.”

Carlos Amorales has created several plates of objects such as birds, monkeys, men and women with intricately detailed lines within them. These laser-cut plates are inked and run through a press up to 150 times to create some of the prints. Johnson was involved in virtually every step of the process. The Center’s crew has produced a body of work to be exhibited at the Highpoint Center for Printmaking Gallery in October, coinciding with the 2010 Mid America Print Conference “New World/Old World” scheduled in Minneapolis from October 13-16. Coincidentally, Johnson’ mentor in the Gustavus Department of Art/Art History, Bruce McClain, will be exhibiting at the conference as well.

One of several series of Amorales prints produced in Highpoint's Studios

One of several series of Amorales prints produced in Highpoint's Studios

For Johnson, the experience has been invaluable. In his words, “Overall, having the valuable experience of being involved as a Studio Assistant at an established professional fine art printmaking studio has already given me immeasurable hands-on learning, exposure to new techniques, and a rewarding experience that will definitely prove to be beneficial to my future in printmaking. The people that I get to work with every day are experienced Masters who are very interested in teaching and passing on their valuable knowledge and helping me progress in my career as an artist. I have not
only had the opportunity to meet and work with people who are actively involved with the Twin Cities printmaking community but also with national and international artists.”

What happens next for Mike Johnson isn’t completely known. He does plan to continue developing and creating a distinctive style in his own work and hopes to build a studio of his own to produce new work. What is known is that the experiences gained and the relationships he’s built at Highpoint Center for Printmaking will certainly influence his direction and future in the art world. The value of the experience will prove to be invaluable to his future as an artist.

 

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