Michael Arike

About the Artist

Michael Arike, born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has been long-time resident of New York. She earned her BFA at Oklahoma State University and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, Fine Arts, Chicago, IL and the new School for Social Research, New York, NY.

Ms. Arike is a member of the Society of American Graphic Artists. Her many awards include the Karl A Schrag Award at the SAGA Print Exhibition, 2007, a First Prize at the 6th Annual National Small Prints Exhibition, Creede, CO, a Gold Medal in Graphics at the Audubon Artists Annual,2004, and The William H Leavin Prize at the National Academy of Design Annual, 2000.

Ms. Arike’s work has been included in numerous group and solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally and her work is included in the collections of the British Museum, London, UK, the Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY, the New York Public Library, New York, NY, the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, MO, the Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS and the Portland Museum, Portland, OR.

The Process of Creating a Color Aquatint:

First I make the key plate. After covering the zinc plate with an acid-resist ground, I draw my image on it with an etching needle revealing the bare metal. It is then placed in a tray of dilute nitric acid; this creates a groove, which will hold the ink, and print as a line. An aquatint ground is then applied which covers the plate with tiny dots of rosin. After heating this to adhere it to the plate, it will allow the acid to eat between the dots, and create different tones. First I stop out the lightest areas, and bite the plate in the acid. The next tone is covered and bitten, and so on, until the darkest tone is achieved on those areas that have been in the acid the longest. Next a template is made to hold the key plate in position; the plate is then inked and printed. Keeping the paper and template in place under the roller of the press, the key plate is removed, and a new plate of the same size is placed in the template, and all are run back through the press. This offsets the image to the new plate in exactly the same position as the first. By putting this plate in the acid for 10 seconds, the image is fixed, and I can proceed to aquatint the tones for this color.

The image is transferred to the third plate in the same way, and I then decide where this color is needed to attain the color combinations desired. I then ink the plates by applying etching ink, wiping with tarlatan (a kind of cheese cloth), and then by hand, until all the excess ink is removed. Dampened paper is placed on top of the plate (in the template) and I run it through the press. Keeping the template and the paper under the roller, I remove the first plate, put the second plate in its place, and run it back through the press. This is repeated for the third plate. The colors are transparent; therefore by overprinting them, they mix and combine to make an unlimited range of colors. I decide on the number of prints in the edition, and put that number on the print, along with that print’s actual place in the edition; e.g. 1/50 would be the first print in an edition of 50. I can then print the whole edition, which is printed entirely by myself.

Color aquatints and etchings

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