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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego Mesa College’s Art Gallery is inviting the public to a drive-thru premiere of “Heavy Duty: A Steamroller Printmaking Exhibition,” from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.

The exhibition features 3-foot-by-5-foot and 3-foot-by-4-foot fabric prints made with a steamroller. Mesa College invited 16 artist printmakers to carve a relief woodcut on a piece of plywood. Mesa students created smaller square foot pieces to learn the technique.

The wood plates were inked and fabric laid on top, and a steamroller drove over them, transferring the images onto the fabric and working as a moving printing press.

Art Gallery director and professor Alessandra Moctezuma has a background in printmaking, and she conceived this project with the help of gallery coordinator Jenny Armer.

“Mesa College wants to continue to offer innovative art programs for our students and the community,” Moctezuma said. “When I conceived of this project, I was looking for something both interesting and fun — and we succeeded.”

The project incorporates printmaking concepts at a large-scale. Chris Lahti of East County Printshop was the lead artist who conducted a workshop for the students and assisted with printing, details and logistics. The project took several months of planning, including research to rent the machinery, selecting, washing, cutting and ironing the fabric and scheduling all the artists and students so they could be involved in the printmaking process, which took place on the campus parking lot.

“Steamroller printmaking” in the parking lot at Mesa College. (Photo: Hai Duong via San Diego Mesa College)

The 24 students in Prof. Wendell Kling’s drawing class carved smaller square woodcuts that were arranged in a grid.

Artists were provided with the wood boards and given two months to create their designs. They used traditional methods and carving tools but also routers and torches.

The resulting images range from the personal to the political. Tijuana- based artist Jose Hugo Sanchez carved an Indigenous woman shaman figure, while Jennifer Anne Bennett’s city landscape is reminiscent of a Japanese style print.

Many of the works were inspired by nature. Jim Melli enlarged an ant within its environment, and Trevor Amery captured the “eyes” in a forest of Aspen trees derived from photos he took in Teton National Park. Katie Ruiz offers up a radiant opening in the midst of a dark border fence, while Morgan Miller III emblazons his print with the words “Health Care for All.”

The finished fabric prints will be attached to the chain-link fence along the parking lot for an outdoor display.

The exhibition is located at 7250 Mesa College Drive, outdoors in parking lot 1.

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