IN THIS SECTION

A CONVERSATION WITH BRANDON GUNN

February 1, 2016
We are excited to introduce Brandon Gunn to Tamarind's followers -- particularly those interested in our educational programs. Brandon, Tamarind's interim Education Director, will lead the 2016 Summer Aluminum Plate Workshop, and the 2016-17 one-year, intensive Printer Training Program. To get to know Brandon better, Tamarind's Shelly Smith asked him a few questions about himself and teaching. 
 
 
 
 
Brandon Gunn, Tamarind Education Director
 
Brandon Gunn completed the Tamarind Professional Printer Training Program in
2007, and received his Tamarind Master Printer certificate in 2008. Since leaving
Tamarind, Brandon has taught printmaking at Santa Fe Community College,
Concordia University (Montreal), Brigham Young University Idaho, and Indiana
University (Bloomington).
 
 
 
Shelly: Brandon, let’s start with why you’re passionate about lithography, and why you’ve chosen the route of teaching, as opposed to, say, starting your own workshop?
 
Brandon: I’m drawn to lithography because collaboration requires a perfect blend of both right and left-brain mastery; you have to have both a strong technical background, and a creative spirit. It’s an art and a science. 

I choose to teach because I love that point where a student begins to really understand the process.  Collaborative printers, who work in a workshop, get joy from seeing an artist discover what they can do with the medium.  I get that same joy, but from the students, and there’s so much to discover about the process. So, it’s very rewarding. 
 
Shelly: Would you say you have a teaching philosophy? And, if so, what would it be?
 
Brandon: There’s only one way to teach litho. You have to give complete information – and then turn students loose to get direct experience. First, you learn it in your head, and then you practice. That’s how I learned, and that’s how I teach. 
 
Shelly: Tell me what your favorite lithography process is to teach?
 
Brandon: Tusche. It’s underused because it can be difficult to handle, but it allows you to do so much in lithography. An example is that Stackhouse on your wall. You can’t do that kind of mark-making using a crayon. Once an artist starts using tusche, the movements become very fluid, and they break out of the space. The drawing start to come from the elbows or shoulders instead of the wrist, and that changes the drawing, how you see it, and how you think about it. It’s so unlike any other process. That mark-making is what makes lithography so powerful. 
 
 
 
 
 
Robert StackhouseSoundless (1992). Five-color lithograph, 22.19 x 60.50 inches. Collaborating Printers, Bill Lagattuta, and Sarah Amos. Edition of 25. Available for purchase. 
 
 
 
 
 
Shelly: What makes a great student of lithography?
 
Brandon: Patience. Determination. Attention to detail. That’s on the technical side. To be a great collaborative printer, you have to be humble, or have the ability to be humble. And, you have to know you’re going to work hard, but still be able to have fun. 
 
Shelly: What would you say was the secret to your success at Tamarind back in 2007? 
 
Brandon: Oh, boy…that’s a good question. I can tell you what I remember, and that’s that I failed, and I printed, and I failed, and I printed, and I failed… You get the idea! I remember one project – acid tints – where I had to do it four times. I really wanted to get it right, and I was determined. Maybe the secret was staying easy-going through all those failures. I finally got it. 
 
Shelly: Finally, any advice to someone passionate about lithography? 
 
Brandon: Well, I might be biased, but Tamarind is the place to learn lithography. Lithography is complicated, but it’s not impossible. It isn’t magic. It takes time to learn. You don’t get that at a university where you are also trying to be an artist and work through ideas. It takes focus to learn the technique – and that’s why the program takes a full year. 
 
 
 
 
 
 The deadline to apply for Tamarind's 2016-17 educational programs is February 1. 
Details on Tamarind's educational programs, including the application, are available online under Programs. You can email Brandon at gunnb@unm.edu, with questions regarding program content. For administrative questions, please email tamarind@unm.edu