Robert Porter 

Hand Arbeit*


For my residency at ECF's downtown location I offered one on one day long workshops in monotype printmaking to any artist working at the center who showed genuine interest. In a couple weeks I had four artists who took to the process naturally and with enthusiasm. For the second half of the residency we all went deeper into the process, printing multiple times each and trying new images and approaches. All of us learning a lot!

I had not yet conceived of what my contribution to the residency other than instructor was going to be. It wasn't until I was able to step back and observe the individual artists during their second and third sessions that I realized how beautiful the physicality of printmaking is.

The action of making a print.

The intention to document the residency with photos and accompanying text was a given. But my real interest turned into a concentrated focus on the essential. More than simply documenting them at work I wanted to capture a sense of their individual character and style evident in their working hands. The hands hard at work here are Humberto, Mathew Beal, Maurice and Tony Brown. My contribution to the residency of these four images speaks of an admiration on my part for the dedication each of them has toward their own practice and their openness to explore the printing process.


I was honored to share their space and I hope the photos speak of the tenderness I have for these four gentlemen.


*Hand Arbeit says more to describe the physical working of the hands than its english translation, 'hand work' or 'made by hand'. I learned printmaking in Germany and it was taught to me in german. Printmaking in Germany has a long history with a very rigorous and passionate process devoted to the skill in hand eye coordination. It is with reverence for the process I use the german title