RISOdency Update

Over the past few weeks I’ve been getting to know the Risograph duplicator and am finding it to be an incredibly versatile and useful machine for experimenting with image making. We’re so lucky in Rochester to have FCAC as a space where community members have access to specialized tools for art making!

I had the opportunity to teach an introductory workshop and whenever I teach I always learn more in the process. I really enjoyed seeing what color combinations and layering techniques the students used. FCAC also has a swatch book for the seven colors they keep in stock, which is helpful for the planning stages of any project.

Most of my interest in the Risograph comes from a need to expand my book making practice to larger editions. The cost effectiveness, speed, and eco friendliness of the Risograph far outweigh its drawbacks.

I have been primarily experimenting with the use of photographic imagery and was able to do this for the FCAC 2020 Printmaking and Book Arts calendar. The first two layers of my calendar month (June) were linoleum blocks printed on the Vandercook No.4 and the final two layers were printed using the Risograph duplicator.

I am also very excited about the potential for variation when printing on different colored papers. Below are a couple examples of images I’ve been working with so far:

Celebrate the Best Parts of Fall

As summer cools down and leaves begin to change, it is a great time to meditate on the beauty and uniqueness that fall brings. These three classes at Flower City are a great way to get out and experience the wonder that is Upstate New York’s autumn!

Landscape Photography: How Did We Get Where We Are?
October 1st-November 11th, Mondays 6:30 pm-8:30 pm

This class is perfect for nature lovers! The class will begin of a survey of the history of landscape photography and its evolution in the past 150 years. Students will also participate in a shooting outing and discuss their results. This is a great chance to get study other artists, get outdoors and improve your photography skills!

Click here to register for this class or to learn more!

Van Dyke Brown Workshop
November 9th, 12-3 pm

This one day workshop utilizes Van Dyke Brown, a process similar to kallitype, to create warm toned prints. These brown toned prints, are perfect for capturing the spirit of fall. Participants bring their own B&W film negative, so subject matter is completely open! Images can range from 120mm to 4×5 film size. Make sure you don’t miss out on this special workshop!

Click here to register for this class or to learn more!

Boo! Photograms
October 26th, 10 am-12 pm

Everyone knows, the best thing about fall is Halloween! This short class is fun for the entire family and perfect way to spend time with kids 8+. Create B&W photogram prints in the darkroom using our creepy crawly toys! These are great mementos to keep as halloween decorations for years to come!

Click here to register for this class or to learn more!

Don’t miss the chance to improve your photography skills and have fun! Click here to see all classes offered at Flower City. Hope to see you there!



First Light Reception

Looking for an enriching and interesting event this weekend? I’d love to draw your attention to First Light, an off-site exhibition focusing on the stories of six women veterans through black and white photography and writing. First Light is the culminating event of a 12-week photography and writing program, Eyes Front, with Flower City Arts Center.

Eyes Front is a 12-week photography and writing program for women combat veterans; an opportunity for them to express, both visually and in writing, their unique experiences and to share their stories with the community. By engaging in an intensive creative experience, participants explore topics of importance to them such as why they joined the military, its significance for them, various issues they have faced, or other personal reflections. Participants were immersed in the entire process of photography – learning how to use a film camera, taking pictures at home and in the community, and printing their own black and white images.

This exhibition is up from currently at Image City Photography Gallery and will be open until September 1st. Join us for the exhibition reception tomorrow, August 17th 5pm-8pm!

Click here get more information about the event our click here to learn more about our Eyes Front program!

Classes You Won’t Want to Miss This Month!

July is jam-packed of awesome classes at Flower City. Here are a few you will not want to miss out on!

Barrette_Final3.gifStop Motion Animation Workshop
July 20th, 12-4pm

Join our Artist in Residence Megan Barrette to learn basic concepts as well as advanced stop motion and animated portraiture techniques. Click here to learn more or register!

Copper Photo Transfers
July 22nd, 6-9pm

In this class you will learn how to take a digital file and turn it into a long-lasting treasure.  From digital file to emulsive photo transfer to copper plating–using fire and imagination you will walk away with one 6″x6″ piece of copper artwork. Click here to register now!

tv.gifCinemagraph Workshop
July 25th, 6-9pm

In this workshop you will learn how to isolate part of an image as moving while the rest is a still. Our Artist in Residence Megan Barrette will lead a group shoot and teach you how to create wonderful images like the one above! Click here to learn more or to register!

Collages + Zines
July 26th, 6-9pm

Learn the history, process and purpose behind zines in this one-day workshop. Students will make their own self-published works through collage, image, text and drawing. Click here to learn more or register!

Panoramic Photography
July 27th, 10am-12pm

Interested in learning more about panoramic photography? This class is for you. The class will discuss lenses, tripods and software ideal for taking that perfect panoramic shot! Click here to learn more or register!

Viva! Family Album (Ages 55+)
July 30, 10am-12pm and August 6, 10am-12pm

Partnered with Archival Methods, this class is perfect for those who want a special way to honor their family photos. Using archival methods and materials, students will learn how to preserve their photos and will walk away with a 25 page photo album. Click here to learn more or register!

Intern Introduction: Riley Donahue

Hello there! My name is Riley Donahue and I am a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I am currently studying Visual Communication. Much of my artistic interest lies in digital art and bookmaking. I also dabble in photography and painting. In the future I would love to work in Marketing.

When I am not at Flower City, I work at a summer camp with children ages 3-5. I really enjoy getting to share crafts with them and bask in their natural creativity! In my free time I am an avid traveler returned from a trip to Peru just before the start of my internship. I love getting to experience new cultures and draw inspiration from beautiful places. I am a also huge fan of hiking and being in the outdoors, preferably alongside my 4 dogs.

This summer I hope to be able to improve my digital art skills as well as branch out and try new mediums or techniques. So far I have helped out with Flower City’s Photo Garage Sale which has given me great real-world experience and given me the chance to come face to face with many of the people who support this wonderful place! I am so grateful for this opportunity and cannot wait to do more!

My art Instagram is @rdonahuedesigns.

Prepping for The Painted Photograph Exhibit

Hi everyone! Jen Perena here, using this weird limbo time in between Christmas and New Years while the Photo Dept is closed to prep for my upcoming exhibit.

I spent some time the week before Christmas scanning all of my kallitypes. I still have some editing to do, but the goal is to prepare digital files (essentially coming full circle, as all the images started as digital photos on my iPhone!) which I can use to make a book or a zine.

Scanning my kallitypes

I’m not that great with Photoshop, but Megan showed me how to crop and edit my files for a book versus what to do for a zine. My goal with this task is to prepare something that will be available while my exhibit is running, though I am not sure I’ll be able to finish in time for the opening.

Editing scans
Editing scans of my kallitypes in Photoshop

Then just after Christmas I started matting and framing. This is the most labor-intensive part of the exhibit prep: cleaning all the glass, measuring all the prints, cutting all the mats, assembling the ‘sandwiches’, and putting the frames together. Without messing it up!

cleaning glass
Washing the glass: my least favorite part about matting and framing, though it can be a good workout!

I know a lot of people would hire someone else to do this part, but it’s not the way I was ‘raised’ by Pearl and Glossy. Though tedious, it makes the difference in how the entire show looks once it’s up on the wall.

For this exhibit, all of the images, which are pretty close to 8×10 size, will be matted and framed to size 16×20. I was hoping to have a total of 20 images, but looks like I will have a few more. I was fortunate to be able to borrow some framing supplies so I didn’t have to purchase all new frames and glass….and that was actually a huge $$ savings.

matting supplies
Matting supplies: two-ply and four-ply mat board, and flat black Nielsen metal frames, in 16 and 20 inch pieces

These photos are from last week when I framed the first six prints. That session lasted about 4 hours….which was an hour longer than expected (I usually do one frame in about 30 min), in part because I sliced my finger while cleaning a piece of glass (Pat Cain would be so mad at me!) and had to get bandaged (and clean up the blood) before proceeding…. and in part because it’s been over a year, and it takes a bit to get back into a flow of remembering how the mat cutters work and how to put frames together.

measuring mats
Marking the mat boards in preparation for cutting

The mat cutters can be tricky buggers. You need a sharp blade, adjusted to the correct depth, pieces of foam core lined up to the side so the large mat board lays flat and doesn’t bend, and a ‘clean’ piece of board underneath where you are cutting. And putty – don’t forget the putty! Otherwise the cutter slides around all over the table.

cutting mats
Using the Alto mat board cutters to hand cut all my mats

I managed OK for the first few, but then started to see burrs on the beveled edge – indicating either blade depth was off, or the blade was getting blunted, or the paper underneath was too chewed up, allowing paper fibers to pull up into the bevel cut – or it could have also been all three; In the end the clean line I was seeking was not happening, and I had to sacrifice several pieces of my beautiful white four-ply mat while I continued to troubleshoot.

inspecting the beveled edge
Inspecting the beveled edge and smoothing out the little rough bits

Thankfully friends were able to help me with some tips and techniques, showing me some things I had forgotten (like using an emery board to file small burrs off the beveled edge), and by the time I am writing this post, 17 of the prints are matted and framed to my satisfaction. This is good AND bad news, since I still have 7 more to go and we were planning to start hanging the show on Wed, Jan 2…..

Anyway, I hope to finish the matting and framing in time….then we need to fine tune labels, finalize my show statement, and plan out refreshments for the opening – Saturday, January 12 from 2 to 5 pm. I hope you can all make it!

In the meantime, head over to Instagram and check out the @i.heart.roc feed – I’m taking it over starting tomorrow (New Years Day!) through January 4th, and I’ll be sharing some of my favorite places and things in Rochester.

Best wishes to you all for a Very Happy New Year!

Intern Farewell: DesRee Taylor


Photo of me working on images for the website

It’s hard to believe the end of August is almost here and that my time at Flower City Arts Center is almost over. Reflecting on my time here, I have learned so much and had many great experiences. While I was here I kept a log of what I did everyday, and looking at it now there are a few projects and experiences that really stand out to me.

Photo of the Images I hung by the film drying station

One of my favorite projects of the entire summer was one of the first things I did, and that was reorganizing and archiving the class files. While that may sound painfully boring to many, I really enjoyed it and it was an important experience for me as a museum studies student as I think it helped me realize what type of work I’d like to do in the future. The other experience that stood out to me was being able to join the Studio Photography for Teens class on their field trip to the George Eastman Museum. I had the opportunity to meet David Levinthal and hear him speak about his own work as well as his process. I was also able to work with some of the artists in residence here and be present on the Flower City Arts Center’s social media. One experience that combined these things was when I was able to be a part of the live Instagram interview with AIR Megan May. Of course, these were not the only experiences that left an impression on me; everything I did here taught me something.

Photo I took during the field trip to the George Eastman Museum

Without Flower City Arts Center and the amazing staff here, I would not have had any of these experiences or opportunities and I am so grateful for the time that I have spent here. From the youth program, to the artist in residency program, to the internship program, and everything else this center has to offer, Flower City Arts Center is a unique part of the Rochester community and I am thankful that I was able to be a part of it for these past three months. I value the time that I have spent here so much, and I hope that my departure isn’t a “goodbye” and is more of a “see ya later”.

Photo of me with AIR Megan May after her live Instagram interview

A Day at the Museum

I had the opportunity to tag along with the Studio Photography for Teens class on their trip to the George Eastman Museum and document the experience. At the Museum we all met David Levinthal who gave us a tour of the exhibition of his work, David Levinthal: War, Myth, Desire. As he walked us though the exhibition Levinthal explained how he began taking photographs of toys and where the inspiration for many of his photos came from. He talked about his love for history and how it has influenced so much of his work over the years, and how pure experimentation and curiosity has affected his work as well.

Levinthal stated that problem solving is a very important part of this work. In fact, he said that was one of the main reasons he began to take photos of toys to begin with. He explained that early on he didn’t like to shoot in a studio and the toy dioramas allowed him to shoot almost anywhere and use simple lighting techniques as opposed to large studio lights.

At one point in the exhibition we saw an example of a diorama he had used. We got to see first hand the scale of the sets he was working with as he explained where he got his materials from, and how he composed many of his dioramas. He also showed us the notes and small stick figure drawings that he makes when planing out a diorama. He stated that he often has an image in his head and used this method to create it.

After Levinthal had walked us though the exhibition and explained his process and the thought behind much of his work, the students had a few moments to roam and take everything in for themselves. We then returned to Flower City Arts Center, where the students then had the opportunity to show Levinthal some of their own work. He helped them with their dioramas and he gave them some tips on how to get them to perform the way they want, as well as feedback on their photos. Then he stayed and talked with the students about their work and their interest in photography until it was time for the students to clean up for the day.

Over the next couple of days the students continued to work and create their own photos in the style of David Levinthal. Not only did the students take digital photos of their dioramas but they had the opportunity to use a Fujifilm Instax Wide instant film camera. After compiling so many great images the students crated an online exhibition of their own work.

Two Classes Made for Summer

Nature Photography

Whether you want to take the picture of a lifetime on a wild outdoor adventure or capture the squirrel in your back yard, this class can teach you all about the techniques you need to hone your nature photography skills. For more info & to register>>

Sports Photography: Red Wings

Take me out to the ball game! And learn how to take great pictures. In this  class you can learn all about sports photography and how to get those perfect action shots! For more info & to register>>

Get to Know Your Instructor: Jeremy Pinsonneault

Jeremy Pinsonneault is an instructor in the Photography and Digital Arts Department as well as an artist in residence in the Printmaking and Book Arts Department. Some of the classes Jeremy teaches in the Photography and Digital Arts Department are Intro to Illustrator, an advanced Illustrator Projects Workshop,  Intro to Photoshop, and Wild About WordPress. 

What is your favorite subject matter to cover in class?

  • I enjoy covering different processes that have the best return on time invested. Everything I teach in the photo department is digitally based.  Because of this, it’s good to be cognizant of how much time is being spent in front of a screen. My favorite lessons are where a new tool is introduced that automates things you would otherwise need to do manually. Learn enough of these and you’ll find that you’re spending less and less time tied to a machine and more time enjoying the real world.

How long have you been an instructor here?

  • It’s going to be one year in August and I’m very excited about continuing.

What do you hope students take away from your class?

  • There are a few common ideas that I try to emphasize in all the classes that I teach. A lot of them focus on productivity, the general takeaway that you don’t have to spend your life in front of a monitor.
  • In teaching, I’ve noticed that a lot of my students have tried to learn the program before but have been unsuccessful. In my class I tell my students to ask me how to do something as many times as they like until it’s finally explained in a way that resonates with them. This is a community arts center and everyone has found us and is taking the class for different purposes. There’s nothing more rewarding than having someone exclaim in class “I finally get it!”

What is your favorite thing about Flower City Arts Center?

  • The supportive community and the different disciplines that are offered here. Being here you are able to interact with such a variety of people from all walks and stages of life. There is always something to be learned or a connection to make. There are people who have their work in museums and are so very friendly with imparting advice and knowledge.

Do you have a catchphrase? If not, what would you make your catchphrase if you had to choose one? Why?

  • “You Got This” – I have come to find that when it comes to learning art people are apprehensive because they are very unsure where to start. They look at working artists who are very prolific and are immediately cast in doubt in regards to their own abilities. Some of the most interesting solutions and art I have seen has come from those who have a different perspective precisely because they haven’t been an artist for all their life. With sincere encouragement it’s truly inspiring to see people becoming more confident in themselves and their artistic voice.

If you had a superpower what would it be?

    • The superpower I’d love to have: The ability to understand and speak all languages, including the tongues of the animal kingdom!
    • The superpower that I’m more realistically likely to have: Having two incredibly useful points of information on any topic that exists.
If you’d like to learn more about Jeremy, or see more of his work check out his online portfolio and photography website.