Carlysle Vicenti 

Creation Story

Birth: Santa Fe, N.M., 196X

Education: Virginia Commonwealth University, B.A. in Painting and Printmaking, 1985

Artistic medium: Monotype (A print made from a glass plate on which a painting has been made with oil paint.)

Where you can see his work: Corporate and Museum Frame Gallery, 301 W. Broad St., through Oct. 3

When he started making art: Vicenti's father, a full-blooded Apache who lives on a Western reservation, is an artist who makes Native-American art. "I always did art because it was just something we did in our house," he says.

How he makes his art: Vicenti began to develop his trademark technique around 1985. As an art student, he observed that when he etched a design into a paint-covered printing plate and then covered it with a second layer of paint, his brayer (a rubber roller used to spread ink) would lift an impression of the design. He began to use these texture-rich secondary impressions as the building blocks for other prints. This technique gives Vicenti's pictures a distinctive look that carries through his entire body of work. Once you've seen one of his colorful monotypes, chances are you'd recognize another.

Today, Vicenti sometimes works on as many as 15 prints at a time. "I start with one and branch out from there," he explains. "The images are all iterated in other works. … I look at them like I am working on a patchwork."

Materials he uses: High quality oil-based paints, and a variety of rice and cotton-rag papers. "It's getting to be more of a chore to find good paper. Sometimes I have a good image and I can't find anything to print it on," he says. He uses razor blades and tongue depressors to etch images and patterns in the paint. He also uses a variety of different-sized brayers, which he uses much like paintbrushes.

What inspires him: When Vicenti first started making his monotypes, he looked to illuminated manuscripts, stamps and a box of old, European money collected by his mother's uncle that had fascinated him as a kid. Today, Vicenti's work reflects images as diverse as houses (he's a house painter when he is not making art), Chinese junks, dirigibles, fish, flowers, stars and kites. Other works are purely abstract: colorful collages of textures and images first used in other works.

Where he works: Vicenti makes his prints primarily at the Hand Workshop and does a lot of work in the late fall and winter when his house-painting business drops off for the season.

How he describes his work: Although he makes prints, Vicenti says he considers himself to be more of a painter than a printmaker. "I really don't see the difference between the two," he says. "It's just technique. This is primarily a one-shot deal. …These works require four to 15 hours, and once you start you basically can't stop until you're done. It makes for some good, focused work."

As for artistic style, "I consider myself to be sort of an abstract expressionist," he says, "because [with this technique] you have to sort of shoot from the


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