‘Creating community through art’: visiting art professor Mike Kondel discusses recent projects

Visiting art professor Mike Kondel uses a variety of tools to create his prints. (Photo courtesy of Mike Kondel)

Visiting art professor Mike Kondel has some simple advice for aspiring artists: “Be in your own world and immerse yourself in it…Be true to what you are making.”

While he has only been a member of the college faculty for three weeks, Kondel has been working in printmaking for over a decade.

An expert in both traditional and more recent innovations in printmaking, Kondel explained that printmaking follows a long lineage and involves many years of intense practice and apprenticeship. On campus, Kondel is now brining these years of experience to assist fellow artists in the college’s printmaking studio.

Kondel was born in the eighties and grew up on a farm, according to his website.

“I’m aware of where I came from, and sometimes I love to forget as I become a new American,” the website states.

Kondel incorporates untraditional canvases in his work for a very specific reason: when he started printmaking, he could not afford regular canvases.

“I had to work with what I had,” Kondel said.

While Kondel is a printmaker by trade, he is also a painter currently expanding his painting and education career. In addition to working in the printmaking studio, Kondel is also teaching two introductory painting courses this semester.

Kondel is currently incorporating a wide array of modern tools into his recent pieces such as laser cutters and computer design programs with traditional etching processes, which, according to Kondel, can create vastly different looks in a final product.

The advantage of printmaking over other forms of artistic expression, such as painting or drawing, Kondel said, is that a piece can be duplicated with the same textures and nuances of the original piece.

Kondel added that he is motivated by the process of focusing on his craft instead of looking for external rewards or end results.

“The best musicians, for instance, aren’t famous, but they are well known by other musicians,” Kondel said.

Kondel said that printmaking courses are applicable to other art forms and professions, and to anyone who thinks creatively or enjoys the mathematical intricacies of “measurement and delicacies of the fine details such as engineers.”

“Everyone is an artist in their specific trade,” he added.

Kondel also has a website documenting a network of trade and sale of fractional pieces of his paintings. He explained that the network is an expansion of his underlying messages in his pieces: creating community through art and exploring theories of love in this virtual world.

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