June 03, For the last few months we've been taking a look at printmakers who were active during the s. From Dox Thrash's carborundum prints depicting the black experience in 20th-century America, to Elizabeth Olds' renderings of urban working life, these artists helped introduce all kinds of innovations to American printmaking in both medium and subject matter. If there's one medium that has become synonymous with the Federal Art Project , however, it's silkscreen, so today let's take a look at one of its primary innovators, Anthony Velonis
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June 03, For the last few months we've been taking a look at printmakers who were active during the s. From Dox Thrash's carborundum prints depicting the black experience in 20th-century America, to Elizabeth Olds' renderings of urban working life, these artists helped introduce all kinds of innovations to American printmaking in both medium and subject matter.
If there's one medium that has become synonymous with the Federal Art Project , however, it's silkscreen, so today let's take a look at one of its primary innovators, Anthony Velonis Velonis with some of his WW2 posters in the background.
During his time there he studied several different media, including oil painting, watercolor, and sculpture. He first began exploring silkscreen printing around , while he was working in his brother's sign shop. Working with another artist, Fritz Brosius and future art director of Time magazine Velonis skills with silkscreen would come in handy during his tenure with the FAP. He became involved with the WPA in Hired by Mayor LaGuardia himself, Velonis's first project was to document and illustrate the local fishermen to help promote the fish market.
He created a series of paintings for the project based on first-hand sketches and photographs, developing a deep respect for the fishermen in the process. From there, he was hired as a poster artist, first for the City of New York, then on a federal level as part of the Federal Art Project.
Intended to promote everything from public safety announcements to cultural events sponsored by the FAP, these posters advertised everything from art exhibitions to medical announcements. Often referred too as the Voodoo MacBeth , this production was directed by Orson Welles and starred an all-black cast. Recognizing an opportunity to make the poster design process more efficient, Velonis recommended adding a silkscreen department. With his own experience as a painter, Velonis also saw an opportunity to transform what had been a primarily commercial medium into a fine art, and used his skills as an artist to create beautiful compositions.
Velonis's innovations would greatly enhance the poster department, though his ultimate goal was to promote silkscreen as a fine art medium.
Indeed, he would invent a new term for the process, serigraphy , to help distinguish it from its commercial counterparts, though he would not take personal credit for the term. Anthony Velonis, Washington Square , , serigraph with oil-based ink on paper. In contrast to printmakers like Olds, his work doesn't carry the same overtly political connotations, but rather are opportunities for him to explore the formal qualities of silkscreen printing as a creative medium.
Anthony Velonis, Local Stop , , silkscreen on paper. This booklet was distributed to WPA art centers on a national scale, and would help bolster the medium's visibility and popularity during the s. Velonis also contributed a similar article to the Magazine of Art , introducing silkscreen to yet another national audience. Post a Comment Questions? Speak your mind here. Anthony Velonis, The W. Anthony Velonis , PM, , silkscreen on paper.
Anthony Velonis, Young Girl, , silkscreen on paper. Anthony Velonis, Memory of the Depression , , silkscreen and pochoir on paper.
Pioneers of Printing: Anthony Velonis and the Invention of the Serigraphy
In he began working for the Civilian Work Administration as a poster artist, where Velonis spearheaded the use of silkscreen to print posers. In this program was reassigned to the FAP. The stimulating environment of the FAP brought new incentive to Velonis. He conducted experiments that completed the transformation of silkscreen printing from a commercial process to a fine art medium. In his own work of the period, Velonis experimented with combinations of screen printing and pochoir. Distributed to WPA art centers across the country, this booklet contributed greatly to the spread and popularity of the medium in the s. Velonis also introduced silkscreen to the art-consuming public in an article in the Magazine of Art.
Oral history interview with Anthony Velonis, 1965 October 13
In this edition of Pioneers of Printing we esteem the work of Anthony Velonis. The New York artist is mainly responsible for introducing the screen printing technology to public and making it popular, as well as inspiring other great artists such as Andy Warhol who created art with this printing technique. In this edition of Pioneers of Printing we focus on the American painter and designer, Anthony Velonis, who is significantly responsible for making screen printing popular to a wider public. While working for the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression, he experimented and mastered techniques to print on many different materials and therefore brought screen printing from an industrial use to the world of fine art. The so-called serigraphy inspired many other famous artists such as Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg. Taking minor artistic roles such as the illustration of his high school yearbook, he later received a scholarship to the NYU College of Fine Arts , which left him both, surprised and proud to be selected.
Anthony Velonis 23 October — 29 October was an American painter and designer born in New York City who helped introduce the public to silkscreen printing in the early 20th century. While employed under the federal Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression , Velonis brought the use of silkscreen printing as a fine art form, referred to as the "serigraph," into the mainstream. He experimented and mastered techniques to print on a wide variety of materials, such as glass, plastics, and metal, thereby expanding the field. In the mid to late 20th century, the silkscreen technique became popular among other artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol. Velonis was born into a relatively poor background of a Greek immigrant family and grew up in the tenements of New York City. Early on, he took creative inspiration from figures in his life such as his grandfather, an immigrant from the mountains in Greece , who was "an ecclesiastical painter, on Byzantine style. He eventually received a scholarship to the NYU College of Fine Arts , into which he was both surprised and ecstatic to have been admitted.