Printmaking – An Art with Many Parts

by | May 17, 2023 | Arts, Uncategorized

Wandering through Rail Walk Studios & Gallery https://www.railwalkstudiosandgallery.com is always a treat as you see what the artists are working on.

Occasionally, one of the artists is featured in the gallery at 409 N. Lee St., Salisbury, for an exhibition of their works.

Nichole Pequeño is a printmaker, and the newest artist to have a studio at Rail Walk. From now until July 29, her exhibit, “The Artless Wild: Culture art, nature and community,” showcases an art form not often seen.

“I’ve always loved this since I was a kid. Until now, I’ve never been a fulltime practicing artist.” Getting the opportunity at Rail Walk, “it’s possible to pursue art as a business.”

Her mother, Karen Koritko, did copper plate etching when Nichole was a child, so she started printmaking around age 4, and it’s been a dream to make a living making art since then.

Loved experimenting

She majored in wearable arts and design in college, then decided to concentrate on printmaking. “I had a great professor, allowing me to be experimental, and I started doing the printmaking on different materials, other than paper.” She learned about other media and said her favorites are wood blocks of carved linoleum.

Artist Gustav Baumann and Andy Warhol are both favorite printmakers. She especially likes Baumann’s woodcuts.

Some of her work combines photography and screen-printing. She likes to take pictures that have a high contrast image, with bright lights and deep darks.

In making the screen prints, she adds colors from a bright, intense palette, using greens, pinks, a range of yellows, orange, blues.

The photos become like paintings, but with the flat look of a print, which is where the colors come in.

Prints on shelf

Studio space — Nichole Pequeño’s studio space at Rail Walk includes tools she uses in her printmaking, which combines photography and screen printing.

Inspired by sites of Rowan

She went into the corporate world, making designs, editing images, learning to be more creative. “In college, I did more abstract art, then fell in love with photography.” When she moved to Rowan County, she bought new cameras and started hiking, which inspired her work.

She says she was thrilled to get the space at Rail Walk, after assuring them her process would not use toxic chemicals but be water-based. She’s the first printmaker there, with Outside Ink (Instagram @outside.ink). “It made me realize even more that I can get my work out in the community.”

The screen-printing process requires several steps involving photography, computer images and inks or paint. She likes to take photos in the Golden Hour, early morning or late afternoon, a favorite light of photographers.

Using photo emulsion, she exposes the photo onto the screen, where ultraviolet light creates the image. “There’s a certain amount of science involved.”

Print of the Rail Walk Alley

Rail Walk alley — This screen-printed photo is of the silo at Rail Walk Brewery and the small alley between the buildings.

In the Garden Print

In the garden — Do you know where this statue is in Salisbury? With photography and screen printing, Pequeño gives a familiar sight a new look.

Sharing her knowledge

She would like to go back to school for a degree in art administration, do more workshops for kids, teens and adults. “Everyone is asking. I just want to get printmaking out there, to showcase all the possibilities with print making, and the carving … To show how accessible it can be, you can do it in smaller spaces. I used to use the bathroom and my kitchen cabinets until I had this studio space.” She’s even made herself a hiking kit that she can take with her. “You really can do it anywhere.”

Nichole is a single mom of two boys, who are now teen-agers. They support her artwork and the oldest has shown in interest in upcycling old clothes using screen-print. “He wants to work, but I told him he has to stay in school; he can be an apprentice to me.”

Nichole, who is influenced by her own Latinx native culture, wants to emphasize the cultural aspect of art. “It’s a big deal to get all types of people interested in it; it used to be a male-dominated art, but I see more females doing it now.”

Rail Walk is open to the public on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Zinnias and self-portrait
Self portrait and soda

Self portrait and soda — On the left is Nichole Pequeño’s self-portrait created with linoleum or wood block, with color laid on in different layers. At right is a print of Jarritos soda.

Upcoming Arts Events

Busy time for Symphony

Pops at the Post

Conductor David Hagy leads the music at the Salisbury Symphony’s Pops at the Post. The Pops will be on Saturday, June 3. Photo by Wayne Hinshaw.

Coming up over the next few weeks for the Salisbury Symphony https://salisburysymphony.org are a variety of concerts, including everyone’s favorite, Pops at the Post.

Serenade Percussion will be May 26, 7:30 p.m. at Hedrick Theatre, Catawba College, 2300 W. Innes St. Join the members of the Symphony’s percussion section for an evening of music with wood, metal, and drum skins. Featuring Amanda Sycamore, Peter Zlotnick, Gilson Fearnow, and Isaac Pyatt. Check out all the details here: https://salisburysymphony.org/shows/serenade-percussion/

Pops at the Post will be June 3, Bell Tower Green Park, from 5-10 p.m. This completely free community began in 2005 as part of the Salisbury Post’s centennial celebrations at the Salisbury Post loading dock near the intersection of Church Street and West Innes Street in downtown Salisbury.

So many people came that Pops is now an annual event.

The Salisbury Swing Band will play from 5-6:30 on the Bell Tower Green stage. The Symphony starts at 7:30.

Vendors will be on hand with food and drink. Attendees can pick up a fan that lists the evening’s selections. Bring your own chairs and blankets to sit in the park for the concert.

For answers to the most frequently asked questions, visit https://salisburysymphony.org/pops-at-the-post/

Serenade Woodwinds will be June 16, 7:30 p.m., at the Salisbury Civic Center, 15 Martin Luther King Jr Ave S, Salisbury. Join the wind section of the symphony for an evening of woodwind quartets. Featuring Eileen Young, Anna Lampidis-Glantz, Laura Stevens, and Amber Ferenz. For tickets, visit https://salisburysymphony.org/shows/serenade-woodwinds/

And there’s more

Lee St theatre – “Beauty and the Beast Jr.,” weekends, May 26-June 4, 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays, 329 N. Lee St., Salisbury. The classic story tells of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end, and he will be transformed to his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity. This youth production is being presented as a special mainstage show. For tickets, go to https://leestreet.org/season-15/beauty-and-the-beast-jr/

Piedmont Players – For another show with kids, check out “Sponge Bob the Musical,” June 2-4, 9-11, 16-18, 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays, The Norvell Theater, 135 E. Fisher St., Salisbury. The stakes are higher than ever in this dynamic musical, as SpongeBob and all of Bikini Bottom face the total annihilation of their undersea world. SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy try to stop an erupting volcano from destroying Bikini Bottom. Chaos erupts. Lives hang in the balance. And just when all hope seems lost, a most unexpected hero rises up and takes center stage. The power of optimism really can save the world. For tickets, visit https://piedmontplayers.com/show/the-spongebob-musical/

N.C. Transportation Museum – Heads up, Polar Express Fans! Ticket sales begin June 8 for the general public. Don’t wait! Tickets sell really fast, and VIPs and Museum members get first choice on June 6 and 7. Go to https://www.nctransportationmuseum.org/the-polar-express-train-ride/ to get all the information.

Waterworks Visual Arts Center – Summer ARTventures start in June for children 4-18. There’s a lot to choose from, including Illustrations Alive!, Coral Reef Mixed Media, Hand and Wheel pottery, to Modern Master Personality Portraits and more! Visit https://www.waterworks.org/shop-classes/summer-artventures to see the selection and register.

About The Author

Deirdre Parker Smith

I grew up in the theater; my father was a set designer and my mother was an actress. My most magical memories are from the days when we worked on stage and backstage together. My father, James “Parkie” Parker was a well-respected member of the theatre arts department at Catawba College for 33 years. Though I was born in New York City, and lived for a time in Washington, D.C., I graduated from Salisbury High School and Wake Forest University and was a writer and editor at the Salisbury Post for 35 years. Watching talented people do their thing is a great joy — acting, singing, playing an instrument, painting, drawing, writing. I’ve been lucky to meet many awesome creative people over the years. Art, in all its forms, heals people, makes connections and gives us a deep joy.