Gail C. Flanery – Artist

March 2, 2012, 7:10 pm
Filed under: Print and paper | Tags:

These two terms are often used as if they were interchangeable, even by knowledgeable artists, but there is actually an important distinction between them. I confess for a long time I myself was unsure of the difference between these two printing processes. Rather inexcusable, considering the years I’ve spent in the shop creating these “printed drawings” (Degas).

So I rang up my friend, Master Printer Kathy Caraccio, and asked – of course she was in the middle of an edition – but her assistant held up the phone and she called out “with a monoprint there is always a matrix but with a variation…the monotype is totally a unique image every pull.” Then she sent me to look at MOMA’S print department website. Their description says, more or less, the same thing: monotype is a print and process in which a drawing or painting is executed on a flat unworked printing plate and run through a press giving you a unique, single impression. A monoprint is a uniquely inked and printed impression from a print matrix. That fixed element could be many things – a piece of lace, a leaf, a cut paper shape, an etched line, a pattern or piece of image that appears in each impression.

In a way, each artist invents his own procedure. There are so many approaches and means to bring your own experience. I recently used a carborundum line as my matrix in a monoprint series. I compare it to the drawn line in a monotype I printed around the same time. I’ve been using both of these methods in the shop. Now, knowing and exploring the characteristics of both processes is going to be fun and provocative.

a side by side comparison of a monoprint vs a monotype

monoprint vs monotype