andrew f. scott: Digital Intaglio March 15, 2009Posted by afsart in artistic influences, artwork.
Beach Channel Days:
As I think about this body of work I am reminded of an Akan word from Ghana West Africa, “Sankofa”, which translates into “go back and fetch it”. Stated another way it embodies the idea that you must understand your past in order to move into the future. In the spirit of Sankofa, I would like to talk about my exploration into digital intaglio.
I went to Beach Channel High School in Far Rockaway Queens. It was a magnet school for students who were interested in studying Oceanography and Marine Biology. At the time, unless you lived in Far Rockaway there was a very competitive process to get into this school. As a student at Marine Park Junior High in Brooklyn, New York I was in a special program whereby we completed grades 7-9 in two years. Even so, I was told that I needed to have perfect attendance in order to be considered for a slot in the institute of Oceanography at Beach Channel.
It was one of the happiest days in my life when I found out that I was accepted to the school. As a student in the Institute for Oceanography we had to attend a special summer orientation. There I was introduced to this wonderful man named Mickey Cohen who ran the Institute of Oceanography. During my time at Beach Channel he inculcated in me a love for the ocean, environment, science and an intellectual curiosity that has stayed with me until this day.
When the fall started I began to take art classes. It was in these classes that I met three mentors that would play an important part in my life; Renee Darvin Bernie Ratner and Bruce Degen. The Department was run by Renee Darvin, one of the great art educators and administrator of our time. She is currently at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Under her leadership she created a program that allowed our school to compete on the highest levels with the best art schools in the city. Every year Beach Channel was well represented at the Daily News High School Art exhibition at Lever House. During my senior year one of my drawings was featured in the Daily News. During my time at Beach Channel she took me under her wing and opened up the world of art and its history to to me while letting me know that I had a place in it.
Bruce Degen taught classes in illustration. He has a great wit and an infectous sense of humor. He taught us how to use pictures to tell stories and demanded an attention to detail. process and craft that I carry to this day. He is a wonderful book illustrator and one of the great joys of my life was sharing and reading his books to my children.
My favorite teacher at Beach Channel was Bernie Ratner. He was a cool cat with an easy going manner, but he also knew how to let you know when you crossed a line. Working with him was such a joy because he would always try to find a solution to make your work better. He taught our life drawing class on Wednesday evenings, that’s right life drawing in high school. Getting my mother to sign the permission slip and the resultant work was the source of many a discussions in my fundamentalist pentecostal home. That is another story. I also worked with Mr. Ratner on stage designs for our school plays, and he also taught a class in television broadcasting and video editing. Mr. Ratner also taught printmaking and more specifically intaglio printing, it was in that process that I found the passion for an artform that would literally save my life. So when I am sitting at the laser watching it engrave plexiglass plates from my computer files and when I am pulling prints in the printmaking lab, my mind wanders and finds its way to these great educators that had such a positive impact o my life.