Paul Wandless, Graffiti Boy, 2007, clay monoprint, screen-printed image, overdrawn low temp white clay, underglaze, image courtesy of the Artist
Paul Wandless is a ceramic artist who incorporates printmaking techniques in his clay work, including silk-screening, stenciling, monoprinting, relief printing and custom decals. Born in Miami, Florida and raised in Delaware, Wandless currently lives and works in the Philadelphia area. His current body of work utilizes the figure and torso as a point of departure to create wall-mounted and freestanding clay sculptures, mixed media pieces and paintings. Wandless believes that “the figure serves as a point of departure and is used as a tablet or canvass for images, symbols and text to be placed creating my narrative or dialogue. Ultimately, my work is meant to engage and inform the viewer by telling my side of the story of how I see the world through my personal experiences, insights and philosophy.”
Many Wandless works are self-portraits reflecting concerns, beliefs and musings of his surroundings and day-to-day experiences. Paul Wandless worked with The Andy Warhol Museum and Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in 2008 to produce a collaborative ceramic mural with teens from the Pittsburgh region. Using Graffiti Boy (shown above) Wandless discussed with students Jean Michel-Basquiat’s influence on his work:
He has been an important influence on my work on many levels. The energy and urgency in his lines, text, colors and symbols convey a sense of immediacy and purpose. This is the same approach and aesthetic goals I have in my work as well.
Wandless authored Image Transfer on Clay (Lark Books, 2006) and co-authored Alternative Kilns & Firing Techniques (Lark Books, 2004) and also writes articles for Pottery Making Illustrated magazine as a regular contributor. As a freelance curator he specializes in exhibiting artists who utilize image transfer processes in their work as well as multi-cultural artists.
Clay and printmaking have long been combined for decades to make new and exciting imagery. You really get the best of both mediums when making clay prints and it also allows you to manifest your ideas visually in a truly unique way.
Paul Andrew Wandless
- Describe some characteristics of Graffiti Boy. What do you think Wandless is trying to communicate about himself in this portrait?
- Compare and contrast Graffiti Boy with the Warhol and Basquiat collaboration Ten Punching Bags. Describe three similarities and three differences in the works. How do both artworks use symbolism?
- In your opinion, what are the advantages and disadvantages of printmaking on clay instead of on paper?