Selective Focus: Joel Cooper


I’ve been fascinated by screenprinting for a long time, because I’ve done it, and I know how difficult and frustrating the process can be. Joel Cooper tells us about his process for this week’s Selective Focus.

JoelCooperJC: I am a silkscreen printer. I became interested in this medium when attending a workshop at the Duluth Art Institute in the late ’80s. I guess the whole process appeals to me. It fits my personality … It is slow. Each color is drawn with black ink on acetate using a pen or brush, exposed to a screen, and using oil based ink squeeged to sheets of archival paper. The colors are layered one on top of the other starting with the lightest and ending usually with black. Most prints take well over a month start to finish. I take a lot of photos to get ideas in the summer and save the printing for our long cold winters. My style would be considered representational.

Dune Grass 10 x15" printed for book cover, Bound Together.

Dune Grass 10 x15″ printed for book cover, Bound Together.

The whole process is very challenging. Registration of each color must be perfect. I have ruined many prints when the last color is a bit off.

Portrait of Sitting Artist 11 x 17"

Portrait of Sitting Artist 11 x 17″

My art can be viewed or purchased in Duluth at Lizzards Gallery or in Bayfield at Stones Throw. It can also be viewed at:

Porcupine Mountains  12 x 18

Porcupine Mountains 12 x 18″

At the moment I have no shows planed. My wife, poet, Deborah and I just returned from an art residency in Ireland. We both returned inspired and ready to go!

Lake Superior  12 x 18

Lake Superior 12 x 18

Old Stage Road  12 x 18"

Old Stage Road 12 x 18″

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