Inspired by Japan: Woodblock Printmakers Support Relief Efforts in Japan

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August 4th — August 18th

Art sale and exhibit to benefit Mercy Corps' Japan relief efforts.

See a preview of these outstanding, original prints for Japan online.

Exhibit dates: August 4-18, 2011
Opening 5:00 - 8:00PM, August 4th

Location: Commons Gallery at Pacific Northwest College of Art
1241 Northwest Johnson Street
Portland, OR 97209-3023
(503) 226-4391

In March of this year, almost immediately after the massive earthquake in Japan, Barbara Mason, one of the managers of the Baren Forum International Printmakers Group suggested the group do a fundraiser to help the Tsunami victims. It would be similar to the portfolio of original hand pulled prints that was produced and sold in 2001 as a benefit for the NY City fire fighters. It was decided that Mercy Corps and their partner in Japan, Peace Winds, would be the recipient of money for prints sold in the United States.

Over the following week Barbara received an outpouring of support for the proposal and more than 60 printmakers from around the world signaled their intention to join in the project and support the fundraiser. As the project has developed, exhibition opportunities have opened up in Portland, Bend (Atelier 6000 in August), New York, Europe and South Africa (Johannesburg in September) , with others still in the wings.

Sponsorship has also been wonderful, Tina Browder, a Baren Forum member who works for Dick Blick, secured 60 portfolios as a joint donation from Dick Blick and their supplier Daler Rowney. McClains Printmaking Supply, an Oregon based company, gave the Baren Forum members a 50% discount on “washi”, the Japanese handmade paper that woodblock printmakers use. The Portland Japanese Gardens and the Japan-American Society of Oregon are sending out an email blast to help publicize the event. Representatives from Mercy Corps will be on hand at the opening to also help support the fundraiser. We owe special thanks to PNCA who will host the exhibit in Portland.

Barbara says “this is a trying time for our friends in Japan, even those who live very far from the earthquake and subsequent nuclear plant meltdown. Many are waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is a world-wide disaster, Japan will recover but it will be many years and for many families there is no recovery at all. As woodblock printmakers using the Japanese method of water based non toxic printing, we owe much to Japan.

The influence of Japanese prints began with artists like Lautrec and Degas and changed the direction of printmaking, flattening out space and giving work a more graphic look.

The beauty of the old prints from Japan is unequaled and contemporary printmakers have carried on the traditions using modern imagery. We are delighted to promote this fundraiser and although the money raised will not be huge, it will help. Artists are always so willing to help others, they usually don’t have a lot of money, but they can give their work.”

For more information about project, click here.