Artist and Master Printer Damian Charette, owner of
"Tortuga Studios." looks at the last piece of the "Hot off
the Press" show: an impressive monoprint created by
Chicano artist Martin Moreno. The plexiglass can be seen
on the pressbed. Due to the historic and social value of
this artwork, BARRIOZONA purchased this piece.
Baje Whitethorne
Martin Moreno and Damian Charette
Whitethorne, Quannie, Charette, Moreno and Kemp.
Randy Kemp with young monoprint fanatics
Kevin Quannie
Text and photograps by Eduardo Barraza
Contributed to this story Melody Savannah
Mesa, Arizona. April 30, 2006 - Five of the most renowned Arizona artists got together in
Mesa on Saturday, April 29, for a remarkable and multicultural art show at “Tortuga
Studios.” Navajo painter and illustrator Baje Whitethorne, Hopi/Navajo sculptor and carver
Kevin Quannie, Crow Indian master printer and painter Damian Charette, Chicano muralist
and sculptor Martin Moreno, and Choctaw/Euchee-Creek flautist and artist Randy G. Kemp
gave attendees a spectacular demonstration of hard work, talent, and passion. The “Hot
off the Press” Monoprint show presented the best in Chicano/Latino and Indian art.

Attendees had the opportunity to watch these artists during the creative process that
consisted of painting original artwork on a clear plastic plate, and then running it through
a print press to print the image on paper. Monoprints are essentially printed paintings.
Artists apply color directly on the plexiglass plate surface, and then print it by running it
under a press. The main characteristic of a monoprint is that only one copy is created,
even though a second run of the same painting can go through the press one more time,
giving as a result what artists call a “ghost,” a much lighter print. The original artwork
cannot be reproduced.

The show was impressive because artists were simultaneously creating at a rather fast
pace, while Damian Charette was in charge of running the plexiglass with the created
painting through the press. Within a couple of hours, several monoprints were hanging,
drying, while art lovers who attended the show were in awe, admiring the beautiful and
original artwork produced by these incredible painters.

At the end of the show, when most of the attendees had left, Chicano artist Martin
Moreno begun to wok on an art piece. Inspired by the recent immigrant's marches in
Phoenix, he painted an amazing image that combined the City of Phoenix skyline and the
Phoenix bird, representing the sun. In "El 10 de Abril" (April 10th) as Moreno titled his
piece, a Mexican man holding a sign with the famous chant "Si se puede" is seen, other
men and women, and a representation of the multitude of demonstrators who marched in
Phoenix seeking an immigration reform. Because of this, and besides being an artistic
expression, Moreno's piece acquired a social relevance, a characteristic of most of his work.

Many of the other monoprints created by the artists who participated in the "Hot off the
press" art show were pieces of singular beauty and great cultural value. Overall, the
event itself was an incomparable opportunity to see some of the best artists in creative
action, as well as a unique visual experience of monoprint art.
Published by the Hispanic Institute of Social Issues in Phoenix, Arizona
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Eduardo Barraza is a journalist and writer,
Barriozona Magazine's editor, and director of
the Hispanic Insitute of Social Issues.
E-mail:
editor@barriozona.com
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