I met Tatana Kellner at graduate school, in the printmaking department at the Rochester Institute of Technology. We were both refugees from the Master of Fine Arts painting program, a seeming stepchild of that technology-rich school. In printmaking, I am able to work across media, including the photo techniques for which the school is renowned. After graduation, Tatana and I moved to Rosendale where, with two other women, we founded Women’s Studio Workshop (WSW). Our organizing philosophy was to create a studio space where artists could work collaboratively in an environment designed to encourage the voice and vision of individual women artists. Artists’ books were the perfect medium to celebrate our vision. With the abundance of printmaking and papermaking media available at WSW we have been able to create an even dozen book works.
Primarily our work is satirical. From Headdress
, a book work that is wearable, to Your Co-Worker Could be a Space Alien
, an illustration of a tabloid text, to Pistol/Pistil: Botanical Ballistics
, a book about the culture of armaments and gardens, we create tongue-in-cheek commentaries that reflect our mutual concerns.
As artists who both live and work together, Tatana and I have learned that collaboration is a polite word for negotiation. We negotiate concept, text, images, layout, design, binding, and production techniques. Sometimes we argue. In the end the work is richer and a more complete expression of our intent. We publish under the acronym “KAKE”, which refers to the first letters of our last names and to our love of sweets.
Statement courtesy of Ann Kalmbach