A glimpse of Philagrafika

In a guerrilla action they are calling Book Bombing – two artists will paste handmade posters in downtown parks to disseminate ideas about public space and homelessness.

Philagrafika is billed as the largest printmaking arts festival in the world. It will launch in Philadelphia at the end of the month. But some artists are giving the city an early taste.

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Philagrafika begins on January 29th, bringing the work of more than 300 artists to Philadelphia. It aims to showcase the fundamentals of the printmakers craft, and to point out how it is expanding. Two exhibits this weekend are getting a head start.

In a guerrilla action they are calling Book Bombing – two artists will paste handmade posters in downtown parks to disseminate ideas about public space and homelessness.

And inside the relative warmth of a Rittenhouse Square gallery, artist Merle Spandorfer is showing prints using environmentally sustainable materials. After years of exposure to chemicals in her studio, Spandorfer says she maxed out on toxins and nearly died while undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer.

Spandorfer: When I taught at Tyler, I was teaching silkscreening using solvents, highly toxic chemicals. Etching traditionally uses many toxic chemicals – nitric acid, kerosene, and what I’m teaching is non-toxic printmaking.

Spandorfer will demonstrate her techniques at the Cheltenham Art Center in February. Hundreds of artists will participate in Philagrafika beginning on January 29th.

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