Printmaking at RISD supports the creative development of artists dedicated to visual exploration and expression using intaglio, lithography, screenprint, relief and related photo-processes. Both undergraduate and graduate majors explore a focused personal direction through the mastery of traditional and contemporary techniques, including digital and alternative print methods.
- 4-year undergraduate program
- 2-year graduate program
In the studio
Printmaking majors work in Benson Hall, a well-equipped facility with state-of-the-art equipment and separate floors allocated to lithography, intaglio and screenprint studios. Visits to the RISD Museum along with off-campus museums, galleries and symposia underscore the rich historical context of contemporary printmaking.
Henry McClellan | senior
“I love that printmaking is such a public art form and that the printed object is such an important part of youth culture. It’s so much a part of musical culture and contemporary aesthetics—it’s how people really see things and understand the world we live in.”
Cornelia McSheehy | department head
"Printmaking generates a tremendous amount of visual inspiration and excitement when Medieval technical elements merge with experimental and contemporary applications. Mastery of tools, machines and new materials provide students with valuable skills and professional confidence, as do critiques with faculty, visiting artists and critics. The program emphasizes print history and the role of prints in today’s world, acknowledging that the prints we make transmit ideas about where we come from, who we are and what our future might be."
After RISD, Printmaking majors go in many different directions, often pursuing interests they’ve defined through multidisciplinary exploration as students. Many alumni go on to become practicing fine artists who exhibit their work all over the world. Others run galleries, curate shows, write art criticism, teach, launch small startups and make an impact on the contemporary art world in a wide variety of other ways.
Alumni at work
Internationally recognized painter and MacArthur Award winner Julie Mehretu is known to have concurrent solo exhibitions on opposite sides of the Atlantic. The Marian Goodman Gallery in New York and White Cube in London both showcase her large-scale abstract paintings inspired by the Arab Spring and other political uprisings around the world. In the Ethiopian-born painter’s own words, her work explores “the multifaceted layers of place, space and time that impact the formation of personal and communal identity” in an attempt to make sense of world.
Mural artist Jane Kim majored in Printmaking at RISD and says her education shaped how she works as an artist. In addition to honing technical art skills, she learned to ask herself why she makes what she does. After graduation, Kim pursued her love of nature by enrolling in the Science Illustration Program at California State University at Monterey Bay. She is currently working on a series of roadside murals in the American west depicting endangered species, such as the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, in order to draw attention to their plight.
Through sculpture and works on paper, Pakistani-born artist Huma Bhabha creates highly figurative work that addresses such related themes as memory, place, war and displacement. Based in Poughkeepsie, NY, she exhibits widely throughout the US and Europe and her work is included in the permanent collections of MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney, among several others. Incorporating a diverse range of found materials in her sculptural figures, Bhabha has received wide acclaim for recalling primitive and classical aesthetics in work that is urgent and unmistakably contemporary.