Garner Tullis launched Experimental Impressions Graphic Workshop in Philadelphia in 1961 using a hydraulic platen press to make monotypes. Unsatisfied with traditional printing papers, Garner visited Scott Paper Company in 1962 and began making his own paper, adapting the paper fabrication process to fit his printing needs. Garner’s enthusiasm for paper and monotype printing spread through his teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Stanislaus State Collage, UC Davis, Harvard and Yale.

Tullis’ unconventional approach to materials started early in Philadelphia. Handmade paper formed around large timbers was the first of many award-winning cast paper sculptures. After winning a Fulbright scholarship—not in printmaking for which he applied but in sculpture for his deeply embossed wood cut monotypes—he studied bronze casting in Florence, Italy. His foundry work influenced his inventive papermaking and in 1972 Tullis fueled the cast paper movement in Santa Cruz, California, continuing in San Francisco, with his International Institute of Experimental Printmaking. Using paper as the casting medium he achieved results resembling cast bronze—but with the weight of paper. Collaborations with artists produced cast paper heads, dustpans, lingerie and figures, and exhibited the paper pulp’s flexibility, pliability and moldability.

Richard Tullis learned hand papermaking growing up in this unique innovative environment. After studying photography and ceramic sculpture at Humboldt State University and UC Davis, Richard joined his father at Garner Tullis Workshop in Emeryville, California in 1984. There Richard learned monotype and collaboration on a hydraulic platen press Garner built that was capable of printing a sheet of paper 6 x 10 feet.

1985 brought the Tullis’s to Santa Barbara. Still unsatisfied with conventional printing papers and unwilling to cast their signature sheets using the traditional method of removing water with gravity and a sponge, they incorporated vacuum technology, creating a labor saving way to produce their thick cast sheets.

Today, Tullis’ Santa Barbara paper mill specializes in flat white waterleaf sheets. Clean white cotton pulp is hand cast into sheets 1/4-1/2 inch thick up to 43”x75”. This special paper is ideal for printing on their hydraulic platen press and is utilized in artistic collaborations. Paper production is limited and only available for use in the Tullis Studios.


Richard Tullis was ten when he began working for his father, Garner Tullis, at Garner's International Institute of Experimental Printmaking in Santa Cruz, California. Garner had begun printing experimentally during the early 1960s in Philadelphia and his approach to materials and printmaking was inventive and unconventional. Growing up in Garner’s studios, Richard wasn’t taught to approach anything in the usual manner.

Richard began to learn about his father's world by making paper. Using found natural fibers ground into pulp by a macerator, Richard's earliest paper making experiments incorporated anise, grass, foxtail, wool and cotton. He was encouraged to help in the studio and learned how to solve problems with an open mind and willingness to innovate and experiment to reach his final goal.

During the sixties and seventies handmade and cast paper became the focus of the International Institute of Experimental Printmaking. By inviting artists to the Institute to collaborate on making monoprints and monotypes on handmade papers, Garner paved the way for artists to approach print making and art in a new and exciting way. Encouraged by Garner, Richard would help after school with whatever they would let him do. Casting paper, cutting rags and occasionally helping with artists’ projects hooked him on helping artists make art.

Printing experiences began for Richard shortly after his introduction to paper making. Etching, blind embossing and monotype were the first printing skills he learned. Fletcher Benton, the first visiting artist Richard worked with, encouraged the ten year old to help with his project. Richard's job was to coat sheets of handmade paper with hot paraffin wax. These sheets were then embossed in a hydraulic platen press and hand colored.

Over the years, many experiences and experiments wove their way into Richard's life. One morning Richard went to get dressed only to find that his favorite red cotton shirt was missing. Visiting artist Ken Noland had taken a liking to the red color and the shirt had been ground up the previous day into red paper pulp and incorporated into the center of a Noland Target. Unfortunately for Richard, the sacrifice of his shirt didn't entitle him to the cast paper piece.

When Richard was thirteen Garner began collaborating with Sam Francis, and Sam has had a profound influence on Richard's life since then. Garner bought a vacuum silkscreen machine, loaded it up with color and he and Sam began making unique prints, also known as monotypes. Early on, Sam and Garner put Richard to work cleaning brushes and printing plates. Later, Richard learned to mix paints, cut and prepare plates with flat colors, and eventually to construct presses and print for Sam during his many monotype sessions. During these projects Garner pushed Richard in ways he wouldn’t fully understand until much later: Garner was setting the ground rules for assisting artists.

Teaching was always important to Garner. When he wasn’t on tenure tract at a university, he’d teach classes in the studio. Paper courses brought students from all over. Teaching the joys of paper and the many facets of casting, Garner was something of a pied piper during the late sixties and early seventies. Paper’s versatility made it a great medium for artists to explore in sculptural applications. Paper pulp and paper casting became a very popular activity for artists. Paper is a wonderfully versatile material and, in the right hands, a great medium for artmaking.

At fourteen, Richard accompanied his father to Bennington College for a summer paper workshop, where he was an assistant teacher for the summer course Garner was teaching. Students including Riva Castleman, Anthony Caro, Friedel Dzubas and Ken Noland were taught to build molds and deckles then to use them to make traditional vat molded sheets of paper as works of art.

During high school Richard began photographing artists working at the studio. Sam Francis was a willing subject. Years later at a birthday party for Sam’s young son, Augustus, Richard was asked where he’d gone to school. Before he had a chance to reply, Sam offered, “the school of hard knocks and I’ve given him most of them”. Richard thought the comment was funny and later set about remembering many of those experiences. Fortunately the hard knocks part of that education was tempered with the outrageous behavior of Garner and many of the artists that ventured through the studios.

In 1977 Richard was fifteen. The Institute moved from Santa Cruz to San Francisco and shortened its name to Experimental Printmaking. Richard spent high school summers at the studio casting Louise Nevelson paper multiples, Robert Arneson Paper Heads from the series "Up Against It," Arnoldo Pomodoro sculptures combining cast paper with polyester resin, and Helen Frankenthaller's "Bay Area Monotypes".

Throughout the seventies and early eighties the paper movement at Experimental Printmaking transitioned from teaching to editions. Through alliances with Pace prints and Andre Emmerich, Garner produced paper multiples, cast paper paintings and a variety of other innovative paper products. Emphasis shifted from paper-as-an-end to paper-as-a-slave in the experimental printmaking process. A signature paper began to be produced. Cast heavy sheets made by pouring pulp into deckles, covering it with cheese cloth, then removing the water with sponges became a favorite of artists printing with Tullis. Sam Francis continually pushed Garner. His requests for bigger, thicker paper and ever-increasing hydraulic pressure prompted Garner to increase the size of his presses and the size and shape of the cast paper he and his talented staff at Experimental Printmaking produced.

It was in San Francisco that Richard began working with a young artist named Charles Arnoldi. Like the lasting relationship that Garner and Sam Francis always shared, Richard has carried on the tradition of long term relationships with artists collaborating at his studio in Santa Barbara. Arnoldi began working at Experimental Printmaking in 1980 and continued to work with Richard through the mid-1990s.

In 1982 Garner parted ways with Experimental Printmaking and opened the Garner Tullis Workshop across the Bay in Emeryville, California. There he built "the Big Press", a hydraulic platen press for Sam Francis and the largest platen press to be used for art in the world. Platens 6' x 10' and hydraulic rams exerting six million pounds of pressure made this press the ultimate printing experience. Paper making activities were temporarily suspended in Emeryville, and the focus turned exclusively to printmaking.

It was in Emeryville that Richard's real printing experiences began. Commuting from University of California, Davis, after classes and on weekends, and working full time after graduating in 1984 with a degree in Fine Arts, Richard helped print large scale monotypes with Sam Francis, Charles Arnoldi, Ken Noland, Friedel Dzubas, Beverly Pepper, Yvonne Jacquette, William Tucker, Red Grooms, Tom Lieber and John Zurier. Accepted by most of the artists that came through the studio, he also continued the intimate task of photographing the artists during their projects.

Beginning yet another chapter in printing history, the Garner Tullis Workshop moved from the Bay Area to Santa Barbara, California in 1984. Garner had married Pamela Auchincloss, an art dealer with a gallery in Santa Barbara, and his new home was there. For his new studio Garner bought an offset proof press with the capacity to print a flat sheet of paper 4' x 7'. Originally used to print the strut of the B-29 Bomber during WW2, it was a full year before the press was refurbished and brought to a usable condition. In addition to the offset press, the new studio would house a small hydraulic platen press. Paper making stayed in the Bay Area with Experimental Workshop.

Richard, meanwhile, continued running the press in Emeryville. After about a year of doing this full-time, Garner summoned him to Santa Barbara to build out the interior of the new studio while they waited for the new press to be restored. Located in a retired lemon processing plant near the beach in the industrial section of Santa Barbara, the studio space was large and open and bathed in natural light.

After months of sheetrock and paint, the space was finished, the presses ready, and Richard was set to return to Emeryville. Unfortunately, one aspect of the new studio didn’t go according to plan: “Stop the presses” was the advice of the structural engineer on the first attempt to bring the presses inside the space. No one had mentioned that although the building could hold the weight of the presses, the soil on which the building sat could not. Only two blocks from the beach and a foot or two above sea level, the name of the street—Salsipuedes (Spanish for “get out if you can”)—was taking on new meaning. Having spent a small fortune renovating the space and signing a long lease, Garner was not deterred. They spent the next few months tearing up the floor and installing concrete pads with steel pipes and platforms so the presses could sit free of the building and not sink it into the ground.

Finally the day arrived when the riggers and haulers, with their trucks and forklifts, moved the presses in. Richard was ready to head north and resume duties at the Emeryville studio. Much to Richard’s shock and dismay, this was not to happen.

Garner had sold the Big Press and turned over the leasehold for the space in Emeryville to Sam Francis. Richard was heartbroken, for although the new offset press could print a 4’x7’ sheet, it was a toy compared to the 120,000 pound behemoth capable of crushing a 6’x10’ sheet of paper with six million pounds of pressure. Garner assured Richard that Sam tried to purchase him with the press, but Garner wasn’t ready or willing to let him go that easily.

And so life in Santa Barbara began for Richard. The year was 1985. Pamela had just started to bring in work by important artists from outside the area. With Garner on board she increased her visibility, and with his art world contacts, made a name for herself showing famous artists from New York and Europe. Her energy and ambition propelled her forward and her contact with younger artists began to show an influence on Garner. Already established form his lifelong pursuit of artistic collaborations, he was excited to start this new chapter. He’d already worked with some of the masters: Sam Francis, Kenneth Noland, Louise Nevelson, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Helen Frankenthaller, Friedel Dzubas and many others in his studios in Santa Cruz and San Francisco. He wanted Santa Barbara to be different, with a focus not just on older and successful blue chip artists, but on the younger, ambitious-yet-unproven artists that Pamela was introducing to him. Between the gallery and the studio they made an interesting team: Pamela would want to show an artist and Garner would invite them to work in his studio.

During this time Richard acted as his father’s studio assistant (the title master printer would come later) and spent his time preparing the artists’ work areas, mixing materials, fabricating plates, selecting paper and helping the artists learn the monoprinting process. He also set up a darkroom in the studio in order to continue his photgraphic projects. He was still taking pictures of artists working, as well as fitting in time for experimentations of his own.

The paper bug never left Garner and in the late eighties he bought back his paper mill from Experimental Printmaking and enlisted Richard to further the pursuits of Tullis handmade paper. Having grown up experimenting with different ways to use paper as a medium for art, Richard began to specialize in sheets for monoprinting. Casting cotton linter into 1/4”-1/2” thick waterleaf sheets for use in his presses was his goal. By factoring in the pressure of the presses and the viscosity of painters’ oil pigments, a specialized sheet was achieved. By excluding sizing and optimizing the absorbancy of the paper, artists could archive results closer to those in their studios. Papermaking was again up and running, this time in Santa Barbara and guided by Richard’s vision.

1987-1988 was a pivotal time in the history of the Tullis studios. Garner and Pamela left Santa Barbara for New York in 1987 after realizing the limitations of the art world in a small provincial town like Santa Barbara. Pamela at one point observed that more people visited her New York gallery in the first week she was open than had visited most months in Santa Barbara. Work was selling at an unreal pace, prices were increasing daily and no end seemed in sight for the art market. Richard stayed in Santa Barbara and continued to work with artists and finetune his papermaking processes.

By 1988 a new era was unfolding in Garner’s career, and thus in Richard’s. Garner’s New York studio, designed by famed New York architect Richard Gluckman, was complete. Pamela had opened a new gallery on Broadway. They both loved being in New York.

With Garner’s New York space in various stages of construction, much of the work sold through New York in the late eighties came from collaborations done in Santa Barabara. 1988 brought 52 projects to the Santa Barbara studio, and most were with artists Richard had never met—they came to the California studio at Garner’s invitation to work with Richard. Later the same year Garner decided that the Santa Barbara collaborations no longer fit his program. His studio was up and running and by the end of the year, the flow of artists was redirected to the New York studio. Richard shifted his focus to papermaking and providing the substrate for most of Garner’s New York art production for the next few years. 

In 1990 Richard visited Japan to learn the art of Japanese paper making. His introduction to Japanese handmade paper (Washi) began in Mino City with a visit to the living national treasure of Gampi ( Gampi is a very thin type of washi). The real work began as he travelled south to Skoku Island and the Awagami Paper Mill. To learn the art of washi one must start with traditional methods. Richard began by washing the Kozo (mulberry bark - the fiber used for most Japanese papers) in a cold mountain stream with his feet. He then prepared the fiber by stripping off the outer bark from the inner bark, and boiling and pounding the remaining fiber into pulp. After days of preparation the pulp was ready. The Kozo fiber was dispersed in water and the sheet forming process ready to begin.

Richard became owner of the Santa Barbara studio in 1992 and changed the name to Atelier Richard Tullis. Artists projects, papermaking and innnovations with new materials and processes continue today. Richard has perfected a vacuum system for casting paper sheets up to 43” x 75” x 1/2" thick; these he is able to print on the large offset press. In addition to the collaborations, Richard’s time is spent on his own experimentations with painting and digital manipulations

Since 1985 Richard has collaborated with the following artists: Richard Aber, Gregory Amenof, Charles Arnoldi, Martin Beck, Billy Al Bengston, Jake Berthot, Jean Charles Blais, Stanley Boxer, Peter Brandes, Lawrence Carroll, Louisa Chase, Xiowen Chen, Emily Cheng, Peggy Wirta Dahl, Roy de Forest, Laddie John Dill, Richard Diebenkorn, Friedel Dzubas, Eric Erickson, Robert Feintuck, Michelle Fierro, David Florimbi, Sam Francis, Christian Garnett, John Gillen, Lawrence Gipe, John Groom, Red Grooms, Don Gummer, Mary Hambleton, Joseph Haske, Nancy Haynes, Roger Herman, Tom Holland, Roni Horn, Jacqueline Humphries, Yvonne Jacquette, Ron Janowich, Wolf Kahn, Ken Kiff, Per Kirkeby, Gary Lang, David Lasry, Christopher LeBrun, Catherine Lee, Margrit Lewczuk, Tom Lieber, Robert Lobe, Emily Mason, Kim McCarty, Sam Messer, John Monks, Jim Muehleman, Kathy Muehleman, John Millei, Richard Nonas, Therese Oulton, William Perehudoff, Rona Pondick, Michael Reafsnyder, David Reed, Carol Robertson, David Row, Italo Scanga, Sean Scully, Carol Seborovski, Andrew Spence, Rick Stitch, Clinton Storm, Nicole Strasburg,Trevor Sutton, Yoshito Takahashi, Joan Tanner, David Trowbridge, Emilio Vedova, Peter Voulkos, John Walker and John Zurier.


Right clockwise:
Jean-Charles Blais
Louisa Chase
Stanley Boxer
Richard Diebenkorn