Arrowmont is a special community full of creative people – a family who know that coming together and making art is important. We talk a lot about the Arrowmont Experience – connecting through craft and community. That connection exists beyond physical proximity. It is in shared memories and new ideas. It lives in the friendships we make with each other. It grows when we learn and support one another.
Whether on campus or off, we are connected as members of the Arrowmont family. Over the next few weeks, we are going to share stories from our community of instructors, residents, and students in a new series, Arrowmont Connections.
Thomas Lucas is the founder and master printer of Hummingbird Press Editions and is assistant professor at Chicago State University. He has taught at the Tyler School of Art, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Penland School of Craft, Arrowmont, and Ox-bow School of Art. Lucas has had exhibitions at Chicago State University; South Side Community Art Center, Chicago; Elmhurst College; N’Namdi Contemporary, Miami; and in Skopelos, Greece, Israel, and Morelia, Mexico.
Tom was first introduced to Arrowmont through friend and Arrowmont instructor, Paul Andrew Wandless. He taught his first workshop in 2015, and has returned multiple times to teach diverse printmaking and hybrid courses such as Color Intaglio, Cyanotype, and most recently, printing on fused glass.
Tom is returning in 2021 to teach a workshop with David Todd Trost, PRINT AND CLAY, combining drawing and printing techniques including screenprinting, relief and lithography onto clay surfaces.
At home in Chicago, Tom has been continuing his work as a master printer through his print studio, Hummingbird Press Editions. He wrote, “I recently finished a lithograph with artist Robert Pruitt. This was done in colab with his gallery in Seattle, Koplin Del Rio.
Tom wrote about his experience knowing and working with Richard Hunt for September Gray Gallery’s exhibition catalog:
Richard Hunt is a world-recognized sculptor with more public commissions at the any other American artist. His signature abstract works capture the essence of form by his skillful manipulation of positive and negative space. He and his work are often paced in the company of many of the world’s most acclaimed sculptors. I first met Richard while working as an assistant to the Philadelphia artist John Dowell. We were working on a commission to be installed in Chicago. Richard attended the reception when we staged the commission in John’s Philadelphia studio, and we were introduced.
I would later attend The School of the Art Institute of Chicago for Graduate School. Richard and I reconnected and began to make prints together. After graduate school, I began to pull prints at the Anchor Graphic’s workshop in Chicago. I had the opportunity to collaborate with other artists and produced prints for institutions, such as The National Museum of Mexican Art and The Art Institute of Chicago Museum on projects and programs.
In 2001, Richard invited me to work with him on what would be our first lithograph project. Richard had worked with a number of other master printers beginning in the 1960’s such as Tamarind, Lakeside Press and Pluck Chicken Press in Evanston Illinois. Richard and I have worked together at my workshop, Hummingbird Press editions on and off since. Lithography has been the most regular print process employed by far for Richard, although he has experimented other mediums including cast paper and silicon carbide intaglio prints. Richard has produced dozens of prints, which he has often referred to as he created his signature sculptures produced throughout his prolific career as an artist.
Richard’s aesthetic sensibilities and creative thought processes are as easily recognized in his sculptural works as his drawings and prints. My goal in the collaborative process with Richard is to push the envelope of the print medium, if at all possible. Two of the works in this exhibition by Richard are relief prints. Part of a series of three, these are the only relief prints Richard has ever created. This project came about as the result of a project to etch a series of drawings done by Richard onto the surface of silicon bronze medallions for a sculptural baptismal pool at a church in Valparaiso, Indiana. In a previous visit at his studio, I was discussing with Richard the possibilities of printing directly from the surfaces of his sculpture. This was our opportunity to do something different so, we decided to pull impressions off the surface of the etched silicon bronze plates before they were installed to create a series of unique relief prints for Richard.
We pulled two small editions of 6 with different papers. Our most recent project is one of the largest prints Richard has ever produced. It uses a refined collagraphic process which produces an intaglio-based plate. The plate is roughly 24 x 36 inches printed on 30 x 40 paper. Now in his mid-eighties, I am still amazed that Richard continues to push the boundaries with his studio practice and still possesses the technique of expressing his passion for exploring the fullest variety of ideas, concepts and approaches to his art.
“Ironically when I was at Arrowmont last summer, that was the session Bobby Scroggins was teaching a clay sculpture class.
Looking ahead, Tom is planning for exhibitions and teaching. “I am working towards exhibitions in Chicago at Loyola University and South Side Community Art Center through 2021. Meanwhile, me and the other visual arts faculty at Chicago State University are planning for our adjusted reality in the Fall.”
Thomas Lucas’ website: https://thomas-lucas.com/
Hummingbird Press Editions: http://hummingbirdpresslac.blogspot.com/
Purchase one of the limited edition of “Untitled,” by Robert Pruitt and printed by Tom Lucas: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/robert-pruitt-untitled-5
September Gray Gallery exhibition The Four Horseman full catalog here: https://septembergrayart.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/The-Four-Horsemen-Catalog-September-Gray-Fine-Art.pdf