After a week in town, well-known artist Joe Feddersen is leaving with several prints and leaving behind nuggets of knowledge with University of Montana students.
Feddersen’s visit was a collaborative effort between MATRIX Press, Missoula Art Museum and Portland, Ore., art collector Jordan Schnitzer.
MATRIX brings artists in residence to the university several times a year to work with students.
Most art lessons in the classroom are from an art historian point of view, said Jim Bailey, an art professor and MATRIX director.
“I think there’s a real nice immediacy and connection that’s really important,” Bailey said about professional artists coming to Missoula.
While in town, Washington-based Feddersen also spoke with several university classes and the work sessions were open to the public, which helps educate community members about prints, Bailey said.
Prints are the most common form of art that people see, from posters to screen-printed T-shirts. However, the different between one-of-a-kind prints – like the ones created by students and Feddersen – and mass-produced ones often is misunderstood, he said.
The collaborative experience provides mentorship and exploration for students while also providing inspiration for guest artists.
“I wanted to do something that I couldn’t do by myself,” said Feddersen, who taught for 20 years.
After four days of work, more than 54 hand-inked and pulled prints were created, including three large prints, comprising nine panels each, depicting high-voltage structures. The panels will go on display at Spokane Falls Community College in Washington this fall along with other work by Feddersen.
Originally, Feddersen said he was envisioning prints of fish traps, but the vision evolved over the course of working with students to the high-voltage towers, which still fit into the theme of honestly looking at surroundings.
Where fish traps were traditionally seen, the towers are what’s currently seen, he said.
Graduate students Tressa Jones and Beth Huhtala said they got a lot out of the experience of working with Feddersen, including being exposed to new techniques.
“It’s always encouraging to do projects like these,” Jones said.
Hearing about another artist’s journey through school and the professional world also was helpful, the students said.
“It’s always really helpful to hear that there’s light at the end of the school tunnel,” Huhtala said.
Feddersen’s work will be on display at the MAM as part of the “Under Pressure: Contemporary Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer & His Family Foundation” through June 1.
Prints from the collaboration are available for purchase at matrixpress.org.