Texas A&M University-Kingsville

First Hispanic master printer Ernest de Soto offers show, workshops in Kingsville

KINGSVILLE - October 04, 2006

Contact: Julie Navejar
kajam03@tamuk.edu or 361-593-2590

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Ernest de Soto, the first Hispanic master printer, will be in Kingsville to open his two-week show and hold printmaking workshops in the Ben Bailey Art Gallery at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. The exhibit, Maestro Grabador, will open Tuesday, Oct. 10, and close Friday, Oct. 27. A reception honoring de Soto will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 10.

De Soto will give master workshops from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 10-11. This is a special project with the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin. It is sponsored in part by the university Hispanic Heritage Committee.

“A Master Printer is one who has learned every possible way to make a lithograph; how to tackle a problem and solve it,” de Soto said. “A printmaker should be able to prepare the work in such a way that long editions, sometimes up to 200 can be printed. This requires special skill, especially in lithography because the higher the number of impressions, the greater the effort and knowledge needed to prepare for a long print run.

“An artist can print his own work, but a printer-artist, as I call him, is first of all a printer. He is more skillful than an artist-printer in terms of technical knowledge. The Master Printer also must be inventive in helping the artist to achieve any special effects he wishes and above all, a Master Printer can not make mistakes.”

He started as an artist studying in Los Angeles under printmaker Lynton R. Kristler in the late 1940s. De Soto then moved to Mexico, printed his own work and taught at the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende. He later attended the Universidad de Guadalajara and went on to earn his bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Illinois.

In 1965, he received a two-year grant from the Ford Foundation to work, learn and experiment at Tamarind Institute in Los Angeles. At the end of his two-year apprenticeship, he was awarded the title of Master Printer in 1967 and went on to become co-founder and master printer for Collectors Press Lithography Workshop that same year.

In 1972, he became partners in Editions Press with Jose Luis Cuevas. He remained with Collectors Press until 1975 when he opened his own show, the Ernest F. de Soto Workshop in San Francisco.

De Soto has made significant contributions to the art and craft of printmaking that qualified him to receive the NEA National Heritage Fellowship.

In addition to being the first Hispanic Master Printer, de Soto was the first Mexican-American to develop, manage and direct a studio for the creation of original fine art prints, the second master printer trained at Tamarind Institute and the first American master printer to establish an international relationship with artists in Mexico.

Recognized as one of the foremost original print studios in the country, de Soto ’s studio has collaborated with artists from the United States, Europe and Asia. Through the production of the highest quality artwork, he has contributed to the development of the U.S. and Latin American art market.

He has created work for the finest Mexican artists including Jose Luis Cuevas, Alejandro Colunga, Gunther Gerzo, Alfredo Castaneda, Francisco Toledo, Francisco Zuniga and Leonora Carrington.

De Soto is listed in the 2006 edition of Who’s Who in America and he served on the board of directors of the Mexican Museum in San Francisco from 1987 to 1993. He was honored in 1982 with the Award of Honor from the San Francisco Arts Commission.

With over 50 years of experience collaborating with important artists, de Soto has created a significant collection that has been exhibited in the Boston Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Library of Congress, the National Museum, the Los Angeles County Art Museum, the San Diego Museum of Art and the Museo del Estado de Guadalajara.

The Ben Bailey Art Gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 361-593-2619.

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