Founder and master printer Richard Nielsen opened the doors of Untitled Prints & Editions, (UP&E) in January of 2011 in order to provide a physical interface for the community at large to investigate collaborative printmaking. UP&E’s seeks to focus attention on the art of printmaking akin to what legendary June Wayne of The Tamarind Lithography Workshop began in 1959 in Los Angeles. Due to the overwhelming popularity of offset printing, when June began Tamarind there were no true American collaborative lithographic master print makers and Tamarind was created to “rescue” the dying art of lithography.
For over a decade up until 1970, and fully funded by the Ford Foundation, Tamarind provided extensive, high-quality training to printers, mainly through pairing them with established artists who were invited for two weeks at a time to make prints, often their first. Tamarind reached thousands of artists from all over the world through these collaborative efforts and its’ success can be pointed to as an example of the importance of the nonprofit community print studio. Even more prominently felt today with the rise of digital technologies, the art of the printed collaberation has been slowly losing ground over time, making UP&E efforts, like Tamarind was in its’ day, an important institution in Los Angeles.
Because with the relocation of Tamarind to New Mexico, the blue chip status of Gemini G.E.L., (there are a number of highly successful first generation for profit spin offs of Tamarind in Los Angeles including Ken Tyler’s Gemini G.E.L), Richard Nielsen, a second generation spin off (his Emily Carr College of Art and Design professor Bob Evermon was a graduate of Tamarind), seeks to follow in the original Tamarind model and organize UP&E as a nonprofit community print shop.
UP&E is designed as an publicly accessible, free of charge, collaborative workshop for the underserved arts and creative population, young and old, experienced or simply curious. UP&E is providing a community service, a continuation from what was established by Tamarind, of connecting artist* and creative minds with the public, in a multi-disciplinary printmaking studio designed to provide inspiration to all who seek new forms of creative, collaborative expression.
UP&E also took up the goals that Tamarind set out to achieve. UP&E’s print studio and accompanying programs seek to support artist’s sustainability, collaboration and experimentation, stimulating new lithography markets and create a collection of extraordinary prints.
Los Angeles has been for years the single greatest multi faceted creative hub on the planet. This strong and dynamic population, UP&E’s target population, its’ stakeholders are thinkers, writers, visual artists, scientists, students and young minds, that are in need of an accessible, approachable creative polestar and printshop situation to launch creative explorations. This dynamic group would greatly benefit from a location in which one can illuminate, investigate or enhance ideas of their own impulses and allowing our community’s visionaries to see their efforts and others efforts in a new light. With their engagement has come support, expanded programming and the word spreading very quickly about UP&E. UP&E’s stakeholders will continually to be engaged to support its’ mission and sustainability.
Eight years ago Richard was compelled to open UP&E due to the great community demand he was experiencing from local and international artists, students young and old. A smoldering of interest in the dormant art of collaboration and printmaking had been experienced in Richard’s travels and residencies. A growing online presence and community was evolving and Richard was confident that the quiet chirping would soon develop into a trend, then a movement. An analogue movement.
Los Angeles was just the right place as the city can claim to be the birthplace of contemporary collaborative printmaking among its’ more well known artistic accomplishments. L.A. greatly felt the loss due to Tamarind’s departure and over time has borne witness to the erosion of public acceptance and appreciation of the language of the print and or multiple. Richard’s answer to the void was UP&E. Artists had lost touch with the tradition of artist printmaker. The community of Los Angeles was in deep need of such a place. The very stakeholders guided and informed Richard on their needs. Artists from around the world were inquiring about traveling to Los Angeles to sample the explosive creative engine that this city harbors and who were interested in coming to collaborate both with the shop and often with the shop’s community. UP&E was created as both a traditional studio space while offering flexibility for the inclusion of ‘new’ media and techniques. Before the doors even opened there was a line up to work with and use the facilities and collaborate with master printer / facilitator.
The relationship of collaboration and artist in Los Angeles and many other cities has been relegated to the fringes of the art economy. Once a vital and important vehicle for expression, the artist/printer relationship has been largely overlooked, if not forgotten. UP&E has begun working to reenergize this