22 December 2009


I'm in the process of getting a proper studio up and running. Here is a shot of the new exposure unit. Notice the darkroom timer I have connected to my light source. A few friends' shops have a similar rig, and it just makes sense to expose screens that way. I'm just happy to not be using the microwave to time my exposures anymore.
I've got plenty of new projects underway, and I'm looking forward to making lots of new posters, art prints, illustrations, and drawings.
Having my shop out of commission has been somewhat difficult. I've made it a point to be at work on something nearly every day this year, so to be somewhere in between set up and disassembled is a little frustrating. Things are shaping up, though, and I will be able to get some new art prints printed and available in the next week or so. Stay tuned for more pictures of the new shop!

Due to the move, I encountered a slight delay in shipping out recent orders. If anyone has placed an order within the last three weeks, I assure you it has shipped by now.

13 December 2009

Insomnia, carthritis, and holy matrimony

For the fourth time this year, I've driven the distance between Montreal and the south suburbs of Chicago. I semi-temporarily relocated to Montreal for about half of the year. Operating my studio in Canada had proven to present various unanticipated difficulties, and I decided that I would make Illinois my home again. Not that it hasn't been home all along.
On Tuesday night, I drove a completely packed car out of downtown Montreal and onto 720 Ouest, bound for the Midwest. I made the entire drive with the help of two big cups of coffee, some bagels, about two and a half tanks of gas, Archers of Loaf, and Jawbreaker. I was able to sleep off my self induced nocturnality and draw, prepare films, and print a last minute poster job at Screwball Press. It was great to see some of the Screwball family again. It makes me happy to be closer to the Chicago printing and poster art scene again.
Speaking of Chicago poster art, those of you in the Chicago area (that's me again!) should go see my friend Jay give what I expect will be an awesome presentation about his work and process at the Hungry Brain (2319 W Belmont) this Monday, December 14th at 9 PM.

It feels good to be in Illinois. My dear, dear friend Johnny was married last night!
Brand new studio in the works, as well as lots of other great stuff. Check back soon.

30 November 2009

December Mystery Tubes!

I've never done a mystery tube offer before, but it sounds fun. So here goes:
Introducing the December Mystery Tube. Each tube will contain at least five prints; including gig posters, art prints, one imperfect/misprinted art print, and an unreleased line variant. And each tube will have an original drawing or sketch.
All work comes signed (and numbered when applicable). Only five tubes available.
Check it out!

Additionally, you can see original drawings, monoprints, and new art prints here.

Get stoked. I am!

22 November 2009


In an email to a friend today, I mentioned that it's hard for me to believe that with all the possibilities this world has to offer, so many people chose the most ordinary and unimaginative paths to follow. Saule Sidrys was not one of those people. I so rarely meet someone with her passion and ability to make friends with absolutely anyone. On November 18th, my friend Saule passed away.
It's so sad and confusing to know that you'll never see a person again. I had not spoken to her in a while, as she had been living in Poland, but one of the last times I had seen Saule, I got the distinct impression that she was living life in pursuit of her dreams. Her zeal was both admirable and inspiring. I'll forever wonder what else she would have accomplished had she not left us so early.

We will miss you.

09 November 2009

Phun With Photocopiers

Hello! Quite a lot of things are going on here. I'm working on a brand new art print for Pandora's Prints, and I had the pleasure of doing T shirt artwork for an excellent band from Germany, Bogatzke. I tried something kind of different for the process, which involved me inverting the image on a copy machine and using a sharpie to reestablish highlights. I've grown to really enjoy being able to work subtractively on my films when preparing for screen printed art. This job required no film preparation on my part, however, so I needed to complete this step in a different way.
The image on the left is the completed drawing, which is ink and sharpie on paper. I was not entirely happy with some of line hatching.
The picture in the center is the negative of the image, produced on a photocopier. I then went into the highlights (now black) and extended them into the shadows (now white) and inverted the image back to a positive. At this point I touched up the new positive, and inverted it back to a negative. I worked back and forth like this a couple of times.
The image on the right is the finished product, which I scanned and emailed to the client.
I really have no idea how to use a computer to create an illustration, and that's fine with me. I enjoy drawing, inking, cutting, and scratching at my films by hand.

One more thing before I take a walk and get some groceries on this beautiful fall evening:
My friend and fellow technophobic artist, Gina Kelly (of recent Nightmare on Elm Street fame) has a new blog up about art, astrology, animation, and things that don't necessarily start with the letter "A". Check it out! www.weathermakerarts.blogspot.com

26 October 2009

Impending transparent astronauts

Hello! Things have been pretty busy here. I've been doing a lot of drawing lately. To the right is some ink work for a new print. I'm starting to keep other parts of film preparation process in mind when doing the art for my key plate. I'm leaving a lot of open spaces to be occupied by colors, textures, layering, atmospheric perspective (which I often like to attempt with split fountains), and this one will probably have some more hand cut cumulus clouds in the sky. I'm beginning to approach the screen printing process more like a painting and a little less like a finished drawing to which I'm simply adding color.

Shifting gears a bit, here is the information for the 2010 print subscription:
Subscribers will receive one of each print I do for the entire year (an estimated 40-50 different pieces), which includes all art prints and gig posters. Subscribers will receive matching edition numbers, there will also be a small closed edition for subscribers only, as well as some other fun bonuses.
The subscription will open on November 1st. Information regarding cost, payment, etc. can be found at justinsantora.com

08 October 2009

Helium balloons and hanggliders

I finished printing these last night. Seven screens, edition of 33. I'm quite pleased with how they came out. Today I'm working on the drawing for the last in the series.

06 October 2009


I've been back in Montreal and back to work, first on a gig poster for The Flaming Tsunamis, and I've resumed working on the third print in the narrative series. I printed the fourth color today and have at least three to go, but I might do an eighth layer for some highlights if necessary. To the right is a picture taken after the first and second screens were printed. I am using transparent inks for each of the colors on this print, including the key line, which presents opportunities for subtle underprinting to achieve additional colors, texture, and depth. Cutting films knowing that the key line will be printed with a semi transparent color changes the approach a bit. Colors have to be trapped more carefully, but it's proving to be a challenging and interesting way to work.

I have a few pictures from my recent European excursion (including some from Groningen's Vera). I'll get those posted soon!

Stay tuned--this new print will be finished and available soon, and the fourth in the series is on the way, as well.

25 September 2009

All Roads Lead to Ausfahrt

Seriously. They do. I'm in Hamburg right now, and day one of Flatstock Europe 4 (or "Euro-Flatstock," as I've just decided would be a funnier moniker) has come and gone. It was great to see some familiar faces, as well as meet some new ones. Jay and Diana taught me some German. If you ask me how I'm doing, I know how tell you that I'm good. Awesome.
I'll be back home Sunday night, and will resume working on the new narrative series. Expect to see two new prints available at the beginning of October.

I'll be here at Euro-Flatstock, but if you're in the Chicago area, go to this:

Multimedia Benefit for the Cause and Affect Foundation
Quennect4 Gallery, 2716 W. North Ave & California, Chicago, IL
September 26th, 2009. 8PM-2AM
Live music by Black Umbrella Brigade, Isis Rose, Alltruism, Noble Savage, and Spacesuit. Live art, DJs, and screenprinted art and posters by Dan Grzeca and Justin Santora. $10 minimum donation. All proceeds will benefit the Cause and Affect Foundation.


19 September 2009

Notes from Willem II Straat

Greetings from Tilburg. Today was my second day in the Netherlands. Tilburg is a pretty quiet town in a southern part of the country. I've been learning all sorts of interesting things about the different parts of Holland. I already know four words in Dutch (one of them is the word for "squirrel"). One thing that's really great about poster events like this is having the opportunity to talk to other artists about their work and their process, as well as about the different places they come from. The poster scene is very different in Holland than it is in US. There are many talented poster artists here, but there does not seem to be a fully developed poster culture. My friend, Mara (who organized Z-Stock) is working hard to bring that enthusiasm we enjoy in North America to different parts of Europe. I will be in Groningen before heading to Hamburg, and I will have an opportunity to check out Vera, a music venue that has an in house print shop to produce all the posters for its shows. This place has produced many beautiful posters. Check it out: http://www.vera-groningen.nl/posters/
I've been eating delicious sandwiches and cupcakes from my new friends at 50 Food Combo, a small vegan food and catering company from Germany. They have a booth fifteen feet from mine. Needless to say, I've been a frequent visitor.
Okay, I'm going to head back to my hosts' house. I've been stealing the internet from a small cafe in town, and strangers keep talking to me in Dutch. And unless they're talking about squirrels or mentioning names of cities that I recognize, I can only smile and nod.

14 September 2009

The TV's broke. That's a good thing.

To the right is part of a film that I'm working on at the moment. It will be the third piece in a current narrative series. It's two 11x17 transparencies cut and spliced together (note the litho tape going through the head of the figure). I've still got some touching up to do and adjustments to make. As anxious as I am to finish cutting films and start printing this, I don't think I will get around to it before I leave for the Netherlands. This print will have my undivided attention upon my return, however! I plan on doing a lot of layering and transparent colors for this one. It's going to be at least six screens.

In other news, fellow Illinoisian, Dan Grzeca and I will have some screen printed art and posters on display (and for sale) at the Quennect4 Gallery in Chicago as part of a benefit for the Cause & Affect Foundation. Check it out.

Multimedia Benefit for the Cause and Affect Foundation
Quennect4 Gallery, 2716 W. North Ave & California, Chicago, IL
September 26th, 2009. 8PM-2AM
Live music by Black Umbrella Brigade, Isis Rose, Alltruism, Noble Savage, and Spacesuit. Live art, DJs, and screenprinted art and posters by Dan Grzeca and Justin Santora. $10 minimum donation. All proceeds will benefit the Cause and Affect Foundation.


01 September 2009

New art print

I'm Going to Tell God How You Treat Us
7 screens on ivory cover, 18x24"
Edition of 40, signed & numbered

I recently came up with an idea to do a print of businessmen chasing lightning bugs. I thought the concept was kind of funny, as we outgrow (either naturally or through social shaping) this pleasure by the time we're adults.
As children, we were so fascinated by these unique, luminescent creatures that our first instinct was to own them -- to capture and collect them in old pickle jars. I remember poking holes in the lids of jars and even adding small branches to their artificial environment. But despite our best efforts to domesticate them, they seldom made it to the following morning.
I see a parallel in the way many facets of the industrialized world set out to conquer and tame nature while we inescapably remain a part of it.
In short, I am critical of the business world for its practice of possessing and commodifying things it ought not to, but I'm sympathizing with those who have been groomed to view the world in such a way.

25 August 2009

Two down.

Une Forchette Dans le Grille-Pain, 5 screens, 19x25, edition of 33

Chicago Printers Guild Mystery Tubes!!

Chicagoland has been known for it's vibrant printmaking and poster art scene. At the August Chicago Printers' Guild meeting, we devised a plan to raise some funds for the beloved gigposters.com. Each tube contains 18 prints from various Chicago-based artists (including one Jay Ryan monoprint per tube!) : Jay Ryan, Dan Grzeca, Sonnenzimmer, Delicious Design League, Steve Reidell, Justin Santora, Phineas Jones, Francisco, Diana Sudyka, Kathleen Judge, Spike Press, Ryan Duggan, Keith Herzik, Steve Walters (Screwball Press), Erin Armstrong (Kill Hatsumomo Prints).
There are only ten tubes, so act fast! Check it out.

I'll be putting the last color down for the second print in the new narrative series today. It should be available tonight. More art and posters on the way!

14 August 2009

Doesn't anybody want to see the damned sunset?

I'm back in Montreal and hard at work on some new artwork. I've been experimenting more with transparent inks, and I'm having a lot of fun with it. To the left is the first in a new narrative series. I'm really excited about all the new things I've been learning and applying to my process lately. I've been mixing some of my colors with Floetrol, which is a paint additive that printers sometimes use to thin ink (a little tip I learned at Screwball last month). It proved to be very useful with large amounts of transparent base, which tends to be a bit thick. I will be doing a lot more with transparent inks in the future. I'm already nearly finished cutting films for the second print in the series and can't wait to start printing again.
In other news, I'm gearing up for some poster events in the Netherlands and Germany, Z-Stock and Flatstock 23, respectively.

I also wrapped up an enamel painting last week, which admittedly has me wanting to start painting a lot more. It's hard to pull any energy away from printing right now, though. If I have some time this fall, I want to get some oil paint and a few small panels and see what I can do with them. I'll be sure to post it on here, provided it's not too embarrassing.
It's terribly hot in Montreal right now. I've spent a large part of today in the air conditioning, at my light table drawing platypuses.
Huge thanks to all who have been reading and getting in touch with me. That's really awesome of you, and it makes me happy. Lots of new stuff on the way!

01 August 2009

Drive somewhere

One thing I really like about screen printing (and heaven knows there's a lot that I like about it!) is that nearly every part of the process presents new opportunities to change what the final image will look like. I'll usually sketch an image between two and five times before beginning the final drawing. Below is the concept sketch for a poster I did last month for the band, Hostage Calm. Next to that is a shot of the finished poster.
After the final drawing is inked, it is usually blown up on a black and white photocopier. I will format all the text by hand (more xeroxing, inverting, resizing, cutting, pasting, white out, etc.), and since I don't often have a fully developed plan in mind when entering the copy shop, this can be a fairly inventive and spontaneous venture. The final image is printed on film, which still sometimes requires the splicing together of films with Scotch and litho tape. I also usually touch up or manipulate the image by working subtractively with an X-Acto knife and removing toner from the film.
Each color is cut from rubylith to the key plate (the black and white line art, see right). Lately, I've been manipulating some of my rubylith films with opaque film markers. This ads a whole new element to the process, as I'm able to acheive a greater range of values and subtleties by adding tight line work to under printed layers of color. I still have a lot of exploring to do with this, but I'm definitely excited about the possibilies.

The next few months should prove to be busy for me. I'm finishing up a commissioned painting, and I will be starting a brand new paper airplane narrative series. In September, I'm off to Europe (for the first time ever!) to participate in Z Stock, a poster convention in Tilburg, Holland. Then a few days later, I'll be in Hamburg, Germany for Flatstock 23.
Some new prints will be available early next week, so stay tuned!

24 July 2009

Narrative Series part II

Flatstock 21 has come and gone. The two days went by quite fast -- both were filled with new and familiar faces, conversation, mailing tubes, vegan ice cream cones, and print trades. I also met a nice woman from Australia who gave me an Australian twenty-cent piece (featuring the platypus!) and got a great Bonnie Prince Billy poster from Gina Kelly.

I spent the two weeks prior to Flatstock printing at Screwball Press in Chicago. I fell in love with Steve W's vacuum table, which took a bit of getting used to at first. I'm definitely planning on building my own once I establish a more permanent workspace.

Yesterday, I began doing sketches for a new narrative series. Right now, it looks like it will be four prints, but I'm planning on working a little bigger than my last narrative series. Each print will be approximately 18x24, and edition sizes will likely be small, around 30 or so. To the left is a rough sketch for one of the drawings.
I've also been working on a private commission and skating a lot of miniramps. Ah, summer...

There's lots of drawing and printing to do!

11 July 2009

One week 'til Flatstock

...and so much left to do! The reception at Fill In The Blank was wonderful last night. They did an amazing job with everything. It was a great way to end the week. I also put down the last two colors on my Flatstock 21 poster, which will be available at Flatstock and online shortly. I'm also printing tour posters for the band, Hostage Calm this week, and I'm going to try to have a new art print finished in time for Flatstock, as well.
Okay, lots more drawing, printing (and skateboarding) to do! Stay tuned.

06 July 2009

Fifteen hours and a bad case of trucker's arm

A Similar Sound: The Art of the Rock Poster opens this Friday, July 10th. I will have some of my posters on display along with many of Chicago's finest printers. It will be at Fill In The Blank Gallery (located at 5038 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago), and the reception begins at 7 PM (it's free; come hang out!). I've been really looking forward to this show, as well as terribly excited to be showing work alongside so many talented poster artists.
I drove from my apartment in Montreal to the suburbs of Chicago yesterday. It was a very sunny day, so my left arm is suffering a mild sunburn from resting on the edge of the driver's side door. Today, I put the finishing touches on the films for my Flatstock 21 poster, which I will be printing tomorrow at Screwball Press.
I have been lacking in the art print department lately, since I've been pretty busy with gig posters and coordinating the bit of traveling I have in store for the rest of the year. I'm planning on participating in Flatstock 23 in Hamburg, Germany, which will be my first time in Europe. I will be printing a new art print at Screwball while I'm in Illinois, and I've got a whole slough of sketches and ideas for future ones. They're on the way!

25 June 2009

Bikes, robots, geese, trombones, paper airplanes.

Test prints are a common practice among screen printers and poster artists. A printer will usually keep a few sheets of stock around to make sure the screen is clearing properly or to check registration. They're essentially the protracted layering of several different colors from various prints on a single sheet of paper. The result is a unique print, often rife with aesthetically pleasing happy accidents. Test prints are one of my favorite parts of screen printing. Below are some that I recently put up for sale in the gigposters.com classifieds. Just for fun, I will be including an original drawing to ship out with each of them.
One more thing--check out one of my favorite posters of all time by Nick and Nadine at Sonnenzimmer. I can't say enough good things about this print. They truly are blurring the line between fine art and illustration in this thing we call the rock poster.
Nick and Nadine are the founding members of The Chicago Printers Guild.
Also, Nadine speaks German!

24 June 2009

One or more of your subjects may have closed their eyes.

Today was Saint Jean Baptiste day in Quebec, which is more or less like the provincial version of the Fourth of July or Canada Day. I printed a poster this afternoon for the Flaming Tsunamis and took advantage of the holiday and skated at some downtown spots. I also went swimming in a fountain, but that's neither here nor there.
I love the paper I've been printing on. It's a bristol stock, and it seems to take the ink very smoothly. The prints look especially organic on this paper, and I really like that. I feel like I'm finally getting the hang of arranging two-screen posters, too. Although I wonder what this poster would look like had I done a third screen for the two suits..
I draw a lot of figures with closed eyes, so I always get a kick out of my digital camera notifying me that "one or more of your subjects may have closed their eyes." If I can fool the machine, I suppose I'm on the right track.
I'll be heading back to Illinois to show some posters at {fill in the blank} Gallery and participate in my first Flatstock event, Flatstock 21 at Pitchfork Music Festival. I have a really big poster for that on the way. I'll be printing it at Chicago's Screwball Press.
I've also got some new art prints on the way, as well as a poster for the band Cursive.

There will be a lot of drawing, printing, and driving in the next few weeks. Or months.

04 June 2009


Today was one of those days where I had to practically drag myself away from my table. I'm thoroughly engrossed in a new art print at the moment. I also began doing sketches for a poster I will be printing for Chicago's own Mucca Pazza, among other things.
Mucca Pazza are an interesting (and really good) band. I've been listening to their music and watching live performances on youtube in order to figure out of what sort of drawing I should do for this poster. I think I finally settled on an idea, and my rough sketches have let my Bill Watterson influence show a bit. For those who are unfamiliar (shame on you), Bill Watterson is the creator of the comicstrip, Calvin and Hobbes. I'd like to retain a shred of this semblance in the finished product, not only for aesthetic purposes, but as a modest nod to the man himself.
Lastly, and on a much sadder note, my heart goes out to friends and family of Chicago musician Stephanie Morris, who unfortunately passed away this week. She had been active with the Pawner's Society and Dianogah. May she rest peacefully.

30 May 2009

Wake Up Stanley

To the left is Lac Champlain in Vermont. I was totally unaware of how expensive postage is in Canada, so in order to ship out a bunch of mailing tubes without giving up eating for the next three weeks, I drove back over the border into upstate New York to use the US Postal Service. It actually isn't nearly as big of a hassle as it sounds like. And since I'd never been to Vermont, I decided to take a small detour along the shore of Lac Champlain before making my way back into Quebec. I ended up taking a kind of roundabout way back to the highway, so I drove through a small town in rural Quebec called Lacolle.
Below is a picture of a recent art print I did for an upcoming bird themed group show at Leia Bell's Signed and Numbered Gallery. It was the first thing I printed in my Montreal apartment setup.
I tend to forget how how fun birds are to draw. This particular piece was especially fun to work on.

I used an X-Acto to work subtractively, removing toner from the film to establish highlights (a little move I lifted from Chicago poster artist, Jay Ryan). I've been using clayboard a lot lately, as I've been into working back and forth, adding and removing ink. But I find doing the faux scratchboard technique on photocopy toner yields a slightly crisper result. I've always loved the way Jay uses this technique, particularly the way it contrasts with his signature use of rough pencil rendering. I try to apply it differently when working on my films--which are made form ink drawings-- using more of a straightforward scratchboard approach.
Some new art prints on the way, as well as some mono prints, and a private commission. À la prochaine!

24 May 2009

"Bon session!"

This was one of my first sort of "weekends" where I actually did very little work in quite a while. I kind of cheated and did an exposure test and exposed and washed out two screens for something I will be printing tomorrow. I'm trying out a different emulsion, and I quite like it so far. I also saw some good bands (The Flatliners and Hostage Life). My old band actually played with the Flatliners in 2005 in Ontario. It's really cool to see a punk show where people actually seem excited about what's going on. I tend to see a lot of that in Montreal--it's refreshing.
Today, I saw a French separatist rally and went skateboarding at the world famous Olympic Stadium. I met some very nice locals and got to practice frontside rocks, a bit of French, and in one case both ("C'est mon premier frontside rock en le Big O!"). It has been two years since I last skated at this spot, and it has been difficult adjusting to its unique shape and feel. Nevertheless, there is nothing like it, and I can't wait to skate there again. As a sort of outsider, I try to approach such a sacred local spot with a certain degree of
cautious respect. The locals I met were all extremely nice and offered encouragement as I worked on frontside rocks, tailslides, and backside disasters. Their respective bags of tricks were much larger and considerably more impressive than mine, but as one of them said today, it's really about the energy of the session and how we feed off of and push one another. I can't help but think he was absolutely right. I ended up feeling like I was a part of the skate session rather than just some quiet American lurker. After we were all finished skating, we ended up hanging around and shooting the shit for over an hour. We parted ways shortly after it got dark.
I skated back to the Metro (Montreal's subway system) with a big smile on my face. I simply couldn't help it.

19 May 2009

Almond milk and bagels

Greetings from Montreal! I arrived at the apartment at about 5 AM on Sunday following a fourteen hour drive across Michigan and Ontario. I've already gotten lost in the city once and have engaged in multiple faux arguments with some friends regarding the metric system.
While I still haven't totally unpacked, my light table is set up (right in front of a window, too), and I've been hard at work on two new prints, as well as finishing up some art for a band t shirt. I've also been eating a lot of veggie pâté and tofu dogs, the former being something I've never been able to find in the US, unfortunately.
I do enjoy illustration work, and I'm very happy with the project I'm working on at the moment. But I've been especially excited about these new art prints. Even as I was eating lunch today, I couldn't wait to get back to the light table to continue working.
It's a beautiful late spring evening, and I can hear a bunch of kids playing outside of our living room window. I can't help but smile a bit, as it reminds me of being ten years old again -- just counting the days until summer vacation. With that said, I believe it's time to go skateboarding!

13 May 2009

You might go off

To the left is the art in progress for a poster I'm doing. I've pretty much been drawing since 4 PM, and I'd say it's coming along pretty nicely. However, I'm doing my best to talk myself into calling it quits for the night. I also printed a new poster on my brand new manual press this morning, so needless to say, I'm rather tired.
On Friday of this week, I will be driving to Montreal. I'm moving in with my friend Phil, and I will be living and working (from an apartment) in downtown Montreal for the rest of May and June. I plan on participating in Flatstock 21 in Chicago, so I'll be back in Illinois come July. I have lots of art prints and other projects to work on as soon as I get there, so my first week in Montreal is slated to be a very busy one.
At some point, I do plan to take a short vacation and see some whales or something. Yeah, you can do that in Quebec.

09 May 2009

Notes from the couch

Last night was the opening reception for my show at Within(Reason) in Chicago. I unexpectedly woke up on Wednesday with stomach pain, which ended up being appendicitis. I had surgery to remove my appendix and spent the following day in a hospital bed. I was discharged on Thursday evening and managed to finish installing the show with help from my friends Logan, Vija, and Ron. This show also featured a small group exhibition to raise money for a community library in Nairobi, Kenya.
Earlier during the week, I attended the first meeting of the Chicago Printer's Guild. The aim is to form a local network for support, technique/tip sharing, and social gatherings. The Chicago screen printing scene is notably tight-knit and non competitive. I'm very excited to see what great things will come from the Chicago Printers Guild.
Next on the agenda are two new posters and some prints for a couple of group shows (Screens N Beans and a bird themed print show at Liea Bell's Signed & Numbered gallery). I will also be spending some time in the beautiful city of Montreal this summer---more on that soon!

28 April 2009

Past is Present

There has certainly been a lack up updates here, which can be attributed to the regular ten-hour days I've been putting in creating new work for my upcoming show, packing and shipping out mailing tubes, and getting all my ducks in a row for an exciting next few months. That and the weather has been (kind of) nicer, so I'm spending time on my skateboard when I can. In any event, I'm really looking forward to the opening at Within Reason in May 8th. I'm anxious to see how it will all come together.
Other than that, I've got a couple of gigposters and some new art prints in the hanger (hanger, airplanes--get it? Ha.), so while my sore wrists may be requesting otherwise, I do have quite a bit more printing to do in the coming months.
Above is a shot of my light table. It actually belonged to my mother, who used to do typesetting by hand in the 70's and 80's. She taught me how to use a T-square and triangle. I snapped this picture as I was organizing my space this morning. That brand new sheet of clayboard will be occupying a portion of my day. Working with clayboard is an interesting process. Maybe I'll document its journey.

Shifting gears quite a bit here, please check out The Real News if you haven't. It's in its early stages right now, but their stated goal is to become a totally viewer-funded, non-corporate TV news network to deliver real analysis that would be crucial to a true democracy. Right now, network news is little more than sensationalism and Washington stenography. Any deviation from the official story is considered "biased" or simply goes unreported.
For starters, I highly recommend their recent report, Past is Present in Latin America.


04 April 2009

Come to the Sabat

April is going to be a very busy month for me, as I'm preparing for a small solo exhibition in Chicago at the art gallery I worked at last year. Information posted below.
Gestures in a Blender
An exhibition of screen printed art and drawings by Justin Santora
Friday, May 8th, 2009
reception: 6:30-9:30 pm
1932 S Halsted, #408, Chicago, IL 60608
This opening will also feature an additional group exhibition of donated artwork that will be sold to raise money for community programs in Kenya. Ron Reason is an awesome guy who has been doing things to help people in Nairobi establish a community library with donated books, as well as a kids club and arts program. Check out some of Ron's pictures from his travels in Kenya.

07 March 2009

Condition Ashland

Well, it's getting to be that time when I can go skateboarding outside again. Yesterday was especially nice, but I used the sunlight to print some cyanotypes instead. To the right is a shot of me in my friend Logan's workspace preparing paper for the process. Something I especially like about the cyanotype printing is that you can get really nice washed edges by applying the solution with a brush. Logan has also acheived some nice results by using a puddle pusher, which I suppose would be the photography world's counterpart to the scoopcoater.
The cyanotype process is rather easy, and it's a form of contact printing, meaning the film is placed directly on the coated paper and exposed to a light source. I made a negative by inverting a page from my sketchbook and xeroxing it onto acetate. We sandwiched the film and paper between two sheets of glass and exposed in direct sunlight. After exposure, we rinsed and dried the prints. I was very pleased with the results, and since I was working from an inverted pen drawing, the high contrast proved to be rather easy to print.
Expect a small edition of hand-coated, sun-exposed cyanotypes in the coming days. Ha, once a printmaker, always a printmaker.
Here is a more detailed process in the gigposters.com forums

I printed posters for one of my all time favorites, Propagandhi earlier this week. I've been exploring clayboard as a medium lately. I love drawing with ink, but I also enjoy working subtractively. Clayboard is a remarkably versatile drawing surface, making it pretty easy to work with once you start to get a feel for it. Kathleen Judge and Dan Grzeca are two very talented Chicago poster artists who use a lot of clayboard for their drawing. Below is the final printed Propagandhi poster (original drawing was ink on clayboard) and an illustration I completed this week for the band, Caustic Casanova.

Lots of new art prints, cyanotypes, and a poster or two are well on the way, so I hope you'll check back soon!

18 February 2009

Borrowed bike, stolen photography

So on Valentine's Day, I went on a sweet dude-date with my friend, Logan. To the left is shot of his fixed gear bike that I rode from the South Loop to the Northside and back. This had been my first time riding a fixed gear bike in Chicago, and it was not nearly as stressful as I expected it to be. I used to be intimidated by city riding, but I had a lot of fun. Needless to say, I am now more motivated than ever to set up my own bike this spring and get riding. I rode to the post office to ship out a bunch of mailing tubes today (before the snow started). It's a very satisfying and enjoyable mode of transportation, and it's great to not deal with parking, pollution, etc. I think the act of riding a bike is more fulfilling and mentally engaging than driving a car.

On the artwork and gigposter front, I'm hard at work. I've got two posters to do this month, one of which is for some band called Propagandhi. I'll be sure to post that as soon as it's done. I'm thinking I'll make a post documenting the process form start to finish. I've also got a lot of drawing and art print ideas, as well as some other exciting developments for later in the year.
Logan and I have been friends since eighth grade. He has a functioning photo enlarger in his apartment. He develops and prints from home, and his brother brews his own beer. Logan recently began doing platinum/palladium printing, which is a photographic process that hasn't been popular since the first world war, automatically making it awesome. The process is not terribly unlike the way a screen is exposed in screenprinting, which has unavoidably inspired me to try doing a print or two on palladium from films of drawings.
Logan and I have plans to combine our respective minds and mediums to create a few collaborative pieces. This is a process I'll be sure to document. Or have Logan do it.
Check out Logan's black and white photography on Etsy.

08 February 2009

Dancing at discos, eating (soy) cheese on toast

I have long been tired of freezing cold, gray skies, and disgusting black slush lining every street. Chicago winters are most unkind. I couldn't be happier to see this season on its way out. We in the midwest know how it goes every year, however: we'll get a couple of warm days, then a few more weeks of winter, followed by another couple of nice days. Repeat until May.
In any event, I've been spending a lot of time at the light table, which is always a good thing. I've got the last two prints from my little narrative series on the way, as well as a modest inflow of freelance work. I'm keeping busy for sure.

I've had a lot of fun with the whole Paper Airplane Narrative thing. I like the idea of telling a story through a series of prints. Right now, the "story" probably doesn't make a lot of sense, but it should after the next two prints are finished. I like keeping it brief and somewhat vague, too, so people can interpret it individually and take something different from it. Ah, Delacroix would be pleased! Or possibly rolling in his grave.

01 February 2009

I am your pamphleteer.

Above is a new art print that I printed today (instead of watching a certain vaunted festival of popular athletics and advertising). 19x25 inches, eight screens used, printed on French Speckletone. I will be signing them tomorrow, and they'll be available this week. This is the most screens I have used for one print so far. I couldn't be happier with how it turned out, but I'm admittedly looking forward to resuming my "paper airplane narrative" series with 3-5 screens and smaller edition numbers.

This week, I had the pleasure of visiting Chicago's Screwball Press. It was great to meet Steve and Erin, talk shop, and actually see an auto press in action. Watching Erin work on the auto sure makes printing an eight color run by hand feel particularly labor intensive. Steve Walters also hooked me up with a new art print depicting various squeegee angles. He used photographs of his own hand holding the squeegee and converted them to halftones. Coupled with Steve W's very distinct sense of color, this makes for a killer print. I think I'm going to hang it on the wall right above my hand press.
Now I owe Steve a print.

More prints are on the way. Stay tuned!

15 January 2009

Let me let you buy me a rootbeer.

Things have been pretty busy lately, which is a good thing, of course. I had to rush to UPS yesterday to ship some freshly printed posters out for a last minute job. I feel like I am learning something new about screen printing every time I print. It has been somewhat intimidating to enter the screen printing and poster art world (modestly as I have) in the shadows of so many great Chicago artists.
Right now, I am working on a small narrative series of art prints that focus on some personal experiences (as well as cultural themes, as always). I start printing the second from the series today. I'm keeping the edition numbers relatively low and printing on linen cover stock
I have some other fun things in the works, too. I just turned 25, and it's not as bad as I thought it would be. Ha. 2009's looking pretty good so far!

08 January 2009

Notes from the drying line

"I'd like to see a forklift lift a crate of forks. It'd be so damn literal!"
- Mitch Hedberg

04 January 2009


Have you ever seen somebody you went to high school with that you only kind of knew and you're not sure if they recognize you, but you still would really rather not say "hello" anyway? I mean, there would be nothing to talk about other than the particulars of a class you had together seven years ago, and you don't remember even caring too much for that person in the first place. Well, that happened to me at the gas station today.
And oh yeah, here are some new posters.