Today I’ll be heading to the opening of American Handscape, a new show featuring the art prints and posters of Judge and Gina Kelly.  I couldn’t be more excited.

It’s not every day that a poster gallery show opens in Brooklyn, and this one features two extremely talented artists.  I’ve been keeping an eye on Judge’s work for a couple years.  She’s done a ton of fantastic posters for Neko Case, among many other great bands, and she contributed an amazing poster to the Screens ‘N’ Spokes show last year.  I’m just now becoming familiar with Gina’s work, and having seen her poster for American Handscape in person, I’m really looking forward to seeing more.  I caught up with Gina and Judge and asked them about the show, “covering” each others work, and their poster process.

DM!: Where did the name American Handscape come from?

GKelly: Judge and I both thought we were gonna just use our names for this show. Eventually, we started throwing some things back and forth on the e-mail and when that became too time consuming, we got around to texting show title ideas back and forth. I think American Handscape works because we work largely with hand process techniques and since we can’t escape being American, well, we might as well embrace it. Really though, i think that there aren’t many folks working with landscape and environment in the way that Judge and I do, though Mat Daly is kind of a savant for it. Not an idiot, just a savant.
Judge: Gina and I were going back and forth on different titles. Gina came up with the chosen title. It stuck as we both incorporate landscape, real or imagined, into much of our work; we both work by hand and live in different parts of the U.S.



DM!: What will you guys have up for the show? Will there be art prints in addition to gig posters? Will you have any originals?

Judge: Largely hand silk screened posters with a few original art prints. I’ll have some original scratchboards, films and rubyliths in the show (not for sale) so folks can see the elements that go into making a poster.

GKelly: One art print, monoprints and gigposters primarily. I do have a “sentence” of paintings for sale, a series that is narrative an intends to be something like an abstract sentence. I was putting together more art print for the show, but didn’t feel as though they were as finished as I would like.

DM!: Who came up with the great idea to “cover” each others art for the American Handscape posters? And how did you choose which piece you would re-interpret?

GKelly: The idea was mine, I thank Judge for being up for it. I just thought it was appropriate and would be interesting for the audience who both a) saw the posters for American Handscape on the street and b) noticed the original gigposters they referred to in the show. I guess that remains to be seen.  We just chose one of our favorites to re-interpret. Also, musicians do it all the time and it works, so I figured it would work for posters. It was going to be hard to try and collaborate from across the country on a show poster since we don’t use computer files to make our work anyway.

Judge: We left it up to each of us to choose the piece they wanted to ‘cover’. I love so many of Gina’s posters but decided on the birds because it was the first poster I saw of hers on gigposters.

DM!: Can you go into a little detail about your process when it comes to print making. Judge, I know you usually use scratch board to sketch out your designs, but I’d be interested to hear more about the printmaking process. Gina, your prints have a real painterly quality (in my opinion) how do you prep for printing? Do you guys both do all your own printing?

Judge: 95% of the time I print my own posters. When I first started out Steve Walters of Screwball Press, in Chicago, printed them but then I learned how to do it. A couple times when I’m unable to get to a studio, Steve will print them, but most posters I do–that’s how I guarantee a finger print or smudge on each print!  I spend a lot of time daydreaming, or coming up with an idea and then sketching it out. I then enlarge it and either transfer it onto scratchboard and/or rubylith.  From there it’s a straight forward silk-screen process.

GKelly: I draw a very loose idea and kind of go from there. I rarely (if ever) know how these things are gonna look before I’m done, my process is really open. Typically I start with a concept, and use rubylith and ink on transparency to create positives, then I burn them in the Cali sun. Takes seconds. I really am just excited about how transparency in the ink works and am still exploring how to get the most out of a color palette. I do my own printing because I couldn’t just hand off an idea and have full faith that I would like it in the end, I change my mind too much in the process.

DM!: What else is in store for you this year? Any specific posters you are excited about, other gallery shows coming up, or any other opportunities?

Judge: There’s a series of woodcut art prints I’ve been figuring out since the summer and hope to get them done in the next few months.  May also be in a show in Chicago in the spring, waiting on confirmation. Also am trying to set up an open studio in NYC (Chelsea) to show only drawings and art prints (possibly early April or mid May). That opening would be shared with another artist, Duk Ju Kim, a painter out of Chicago.  I’m very excited to be curating a six week collaborative show in Chicago called ‘The Exquisite City’ which will recreate a city out of cardboard and will involve 40-50 artists. That will run at The Viaduct Theater in Chicago November-December 2008. I hope to have a website up mid February @

GKelly: Ummm… Anyone wanna give me a show or poster job?

American Handscape opens today, Saturday, January 19th, at The Arm Letterpress in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (281 N. 7th St).  There will be drinks and music, show opens at 7:00 PM.