Monsters of the imagination: Printmaking during a pandemic

When COVID-19 forced courses to go online during the spring 2020 semester, Michelle Martin and her Printmaking I class quickly pivoted to make the most of a monstrous situation.

Hayley Rauner Monster Collage: Bearded Lady     Evan Mumma Monster Collage: Astroboy     Carolyn Argo Monster Collage: Dinner with Mother

“The Monster Project” was an assignment I had originally created for an in-person class,” Martin recalled. Under normal circumstances, the course teaches students basic printmaking techniques, primarily monotype, relief printing and basic intaglio. Students also learn basic Photoshop techniques and how to hand print their work, which has gone over well in the past. But, as we all know, spring 2020 wasn’t a normal semester.  

The “Monster Project” originally required students to explore the theme of the monstrous and then create their own monster via collage. Next, they would transfer their collage to a linoleum block and carve the materialessentially creating a large stamp to produce their image. 

Once the pandemic hit, however, we had to abandon the normal plan and organize a project students could do remotely, as they were away from the campus printing presses,” said Martin. When we moved to online only, I changed the assignment to have them create digital collages and write a description for each of their monsters. This required the students to switch gears from making art in a more traditional way to a digital format. The class then morphed into a digital collage course, and I taught Photoshop techniques online, which was interesting for all of us! 

When all the collages were submitted, graphic design student Jesse Robinson arranged them in The Apocolypse Book of Monsters: Oddities and Anomalies from the Deepest Recesses of Imagination and Boredom. This publication, Martin commented, “resulted in a unique project fitting of the times.” 

Students from across all colleges at The University of Tulsa take classes from the School of Art, Design and Art History at the Kendall College of Arts and Sciences, and many have little to no art experience. Check out the variety of courses available including photography, drawing, ceramics and more.

Frankie Wright Monster Collage     Even Mumma Monster Collage: Alien Queen     Julia Olawumi Monster Collage: Tree Monster