The Old Print Shop

Michael Pellettieri

Michael Pellettieri studied at Art Students League with Edwin Dickinson, Robert Beverly Hale, Joseph Hirsch, and Harry Sternberg.  He has a BA in Fine Arts from the CUNY, School of Arts and Sciences, and a MA from Hunter College, NY.  He studied printmaking at the New School of Social Research with John Ross.   He taught at Columbia University, NY and is currently teaching at The Art Students League.   Pellettieri is a MacDowell Fellow and the recipient of a State Department grant to India.  He has received many awards for prints and paintings and has had several solo exhibitions in New York. Pellettieri's drawing, paintings and prints have been shown internationally.  His work is in the collection of The Library of Congress, Washington, DC; National Gallery, Washington, DC; De Cordova Museum, MA; New-York Historical Society, NY; New York Public Library, NY; and Newark Public Library, NJ.   

I found myself fascinated by & drawn to printmaking at the age of 15. My first experience with prints was the woodcut, followed by etching and lithography.  Prints engage one with an awareness of the relationship between the image and ground, in this case, paper. The marriage of ink to paper under pressure generates an image with a unique presence.  Prints also offer the opportunity to create a multiple that can be shared with a broader audience and the fact that prints are an original art form that is affordable is an appealing concept.  I have also always enjoyed working with the directness of paint media and find working in a variety of media stimulating. . .making prints and painting inform each other.

Lithography is a media that is truly autographic.  I prefer working on traditional stones because one can use a wide variety of media to create images, and the stones make it possible to change or transform the image even after one has begun the printing process.  The stones offer a luxurious surface upon which to work, and once you are conversant in the process, anything is possible.  I have an inventory of stones of various sizes and print them in my studio on an antique Fuchs and Lang type press.

Occasionally, I delve into the realm of the figure or an iconic still life. The still lifes invariably also have autobiographical origins. The figure paintings and prints are mostly personal, but often I am seeking a way of addressing the human spirit.  I don’t think that I select my subjects, rather they select me. And as with media I find variety stimulating.  I was born in Manhattan, raised in the Bronx and returned to Manhattan for my education which is where I lived for over 40 years.  The many trips around New York have left an impression on me.  And today it seems that most of my work is about the city where I have always lived.  These images are in a sense autobiographical, as they are based on scenes that I pass on my way to and from work or studio and are views from places where I have lived or worked.  Usually, there is a moment when something that I have seen many times comes into view and appears different to me thus provoking me to initiate a new work. The city offers its geometry, order, and chaos for me only waiting to be seen.