"Our mission is to inspire a greater public appreciation for large-scale woodblock printmaking and to extend its practice."
BIG INK is an organized network of creative thinkers focused on carving, printing, and promoting large scale woodcuts. We invite artists, via a call-for-entry application process, to submit a proposal to create a woodcut, at least 24” x 36” in dimension, through bigink.org. Approximately sixteen artists are accepted per event and given two months to carve an image. At the end of the two months, BIG INK meets with the artists at a predetermined space, such as an art center, festival, or community print shop, and helps them print his or her woodcut onto paper. These events culminate in exhibition opportunities and potential sales for the artists who participate.
In addition to our call-for-entry program, BIG INK also works with organizations for a flat fee. This is common with universities who’d like us to work with students or museums who’d like us to work with their patrons. BIG INK provides students with an excellent example of how arts management is multifaceted and constantly evolving. Hosting an event or lecture helps them contextualize what skills are needed to succeed in the arts. For museums, BIG INK is an engaging educational component to print related exhibitions.
Each year over a dozen arts organizations throughout the country open their doors for BIG INK events. The woodcuts are printed using either the host organization’s existing facilities, but more often they are printed on BIG INK’s giant mobile etching press dubbed “The Big Tuna”. “The Big Tuna” is unique in that it can travel practically anywhere, can be setup indoors or outdoors, and prints woodcuts up to 48″ x 96″ in size. No other such machine exists that can travel readily and provide artists easily affordable access to specialized printing equipment.
Initially BIG INK began as a way for Lyell Castonguay and his partner to share their acquired knowledge of the medium with others. Since 2012, a national community of over a hundred past participants has formed! We believe it’s important that the prints produced at BIG INK events are seen and appreciated as a whole. Therefore, we request ownership of one print from each participant to archive in the BIG INK portfolio. Their work is professionally photographed, added to the bigink.org online gallery, and used for curatorial projects. Most recently, prints from past BIG INK events has been exhibited at the Seoul Museum of Art and Florida State College.
BIG INK provides an opportunity to network with a broad demographic of artists, from emerging to established. Events have been organized to coincide with exhibits, open studios, and fundraising efforts just to name a few. In addition, each host venue’s name is displayed next to the artist’s work both online and in exhibitions. BIG INK provides all the consumable materials and handles every aspect of the call-for-entry. This allows host venues to participate with a minimal investment of time.
We’re passionate about printmaking and BIG INK focuses that enthusiasm. By uniting under a common cause, we help to ensure a bright future for the medium. Wanna join our network of die hard relief printmakers? Apply on this page and carve wood for the good of humanity! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check out the gallery of prints created by past participants. Your work could be featured next. Would you like a BIG INK event at your place? Start a conversation by filling out this contact form. Thank you and happy printing!
"Being a professional sculptor, carving a woodcut was something that appealed to my sensibilities but was also something I'd never done. BIG INK's step by step videos was helpful in guiding me through the process. BIG INK answered my technical questions quickly and gave me feedback on my image when I emailed photos. I'm now taking what I learned as a BIG INK participant and integrating it back into my 3-D work." Kerry O. Furlani
"BIG INK encouraged all the participants to work together to execute their prints. The event inspired me to continue exploring scale and surface in my practice and opened up a new channel of communication with a great group of artists." Enrique Figueredo