Photographer of Artists Working
How Richard Tullis got his start.
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. He began learning about his father’s world by making paper. Richard’s earliest paper making experiments were natural fibers ground into pulp by a macerator, including anise, grass, fox tail, wool and cotton and printing experiences began shortly thereafter. Etching, blind embossing and monotype were the first printing skills he learned at the Institute.
Fletcher Benton was the first artist to invite Richard to participate with a project, and he encouraged the eleven year old to help, by coating sheets of handmade paper with hot paraffin wax. These sheets were then embossed in a hydraulic platen press and hand colored by the artist.
During the Santa Cruz years, many experiences and experiments wove their way into Richard’s life. One morning Richard went to get dressed only to find his favorite red cotton shirt missing. Visiting artist Kenneth Noland had taken a liking to the red color. His shirt had been macerated into red paper pulp and incorporated into the center of a Noland Circle. Unfortunately for Richard, the sacrifice of his shirt didn’t entitle him to the cast paper piece.
Richard worked at the Institute most afternoons after school. He assisted extension students from the University of California, Santa Cruz in paper making and etching classes taught by Garner, he also assisted in setting and cleaning up Artist collaborations done at the Institute.
He was thirteen when Garner began collaborating with Sam Francis. Since that initial printing experience, Richard’s life continues to be profoundly influenced by Sam, who put him to work cleaning brushes, mixing paints and preparing plates with flat colors.
This apprenticeship led to Richard’s printing for Sam during many of his sessions at the Tullis studios. Sam even credits himself with Richard’s primary education in the school of hard knocks, saying that he gave him most of them.
At fourteen, he accompanied Garner to Bennington College for a summer paper making workshop, in conjunction with classes taught by visiting artists Anthony Caro,
Friedel Dzubas and Kenneth Noland. As was an assistant teacher, he showed students how to build molds and deckles, and later helped them to fashion traditional vat molded sheets of paper.
In 1977 when he 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, and Arnaldo Pomodoro sculptures combining cast paper with polyester resin. He also prepared printing plates and dyed paper pulp for projects with Kenneth Noland, Friedel Dzubas, Joe Zucker, Billy Al Bengston and of course, Sam Francis.
It was in San Francisco that Richard began working with a young artist named Charles Arnoldi. Thus began a collaboration effort and lasting relationship which continues today. Arnoldi began collaborating with the Tullises at Experimental Printmaking in 1980 working with eucalyptus branches cast into sheets of paper. Over the years Arnoldi has used the Tullis Workshops and their expertise to further explore ideas for his painting. Moving from collaging branches to straight painting Arnoldi has pushed the bounds of monotype past its inceptions in printmaking. Collectors and dealers often comment that the work looks as if it could not have been printed, but rather painted.
In 1978 Richard began to photograph artists while they worked in the studio. These photographs chronicle working life at the studio and offer him insights on how artists create in a collaborative environment. His positions as studio assistant, collaborator and photographer allow him access to a world hidden to most individuals gaining the confidence and trust of the artists he works with, give him the unique opportunity to photograph an artist while working at their side.
Starting in 1980, he studied photography and ceramic sculpture at Humboldt State University and later at the University of California at Davis. Richard’s passion with photography intensified and he was awarded a degree in fine art photography and a minor in ceramic sculpture. During his years at Davis, he commuted to the studio after school and on weekends and upon graduation he turned his full attention to the studio.
In 1982 Garner had built the largest hydraulic platen press used for art making in the world, nicked named the Big Press, for the new Emeryville studio. The press was especially made for Sam Francis, with platens measuring 6 feet by 10 feet and two hydraulic rams exerting six million pounds of pressure. It became the ultimate printing experience.
Richard’s collaborative experiences began in earnest during the Big Press years when he helped to print large scale monotypes with Charles Arnoldi, Billy Al Bengston, Roy De Forest, Friedel Dzubas, Sam Francis, Yvonne Jacquette, Red Grooms, Tom Holland, Tom Lieber, Kenneth Noland, Beverly Pepper, Italo Scanga, William Tucker and John Zurier. For projects with Charles Arnoldi, Richard collected eucalyptus branches in the forest and saw them into half rounds. Arnoldi would then paint and collage these branches together prior to running his artistic composition through the press. Richard also invented a special paint for Beverly Pepper which when run through the press approximated the decaying metal surfaces reminiscent of her sculptures surface. William Tucker felt uncomfortable using a brush to create his line, so Richard created a thick viscous paint that Tucker used to draw with like a crayon.
During the Big Press years the studio’s entire creative focus was dedicated to monotype collaborations with artists, and all papermaking activities were temporarily suspended.
In 1985, the Tullis Workshop moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to the old Sunkist lemon processing plant at the foot of Salsipuedes Street in Santa Barbara, California. An offset proof press, originally used to print the strut of the B-29 bomber during World War II took one full year to refurbish and provided the capacity to print a flat sheet of paper 4 feet by 7 feet. Sam Francis initiated the space with a project created on the newly renovated press. In addition, a hydraulic platen press with a bed size of 24 inches by 32 inches was added to the equipment at the Santa Barbara studio.
A campaign to work with younger artists began during the first years in Santa Barbara. Louisa Chase, Eric Erickson, Robert Feintuck, Mary Hambleton, Roni Horn, Ron Janowich, Margrit Lewczuk, Richard Nonas, Rona Pondick, David Reed, Andrew Spence and Clinton Storm came from New York to work. Martin Beck, Jean-Charles Blais, Ken Kiff, Thérèse Oulton and Christopher LeBrun crossed the Atlantic from Europe between 1986-87 as part of this program emphasizing young and mid career abstract artists in Europe. During his project, Clinton Storm preferred not to remove the plate from the offset press but rather climbed upon the press to paint. Storm’s efforts gave Richard some fascinating photos. LeBrun succeeded in making the largest print yet at the Workshop, a piece 15’x37’ that filled a good portion of the main studio wall.. Jean-Charles Blais came from Paris and worked on both presses. Dissatisfied with the results of the French handmade paper provided, Blais turned to the timpan material (an eighth inch paper board used on press to take up irregularities in the plate surface) as a substrate for his prints. The timpan, made his work look and feel closer to his paintings both in size (86” x 48”) and material. The wood pulp board is not archival and would change color over time, a fascination for Blais. Richard commented that, “it was my worst fear to forget the paper and mistakenly print on one of the timpan instead.” Blais proved the timpan works well for some applications.
Wolf Kahn and Emily Mason came and printed together. The husband and wife team seemed to each need the press and printer simultaneously. The work was a success but this combination exhausted the entire studio. Sean Scully and Catherine Lee came and worked together. Sean used the offset proof press to create a body of work that inspired a window to be included in his paintings. Catherine worked with cut aluminum shapes painted and embossed into the thick paper by the smaller hydraulic platen press. Together they filled the walls with beautiful new creations. Sean gave all present a display of his karate skills by canceling the Douglas fir boards used for his stripes with kicks and punches.
From 1986 through 1989 John Walker came and worked in Santa Barbara a number of times on his way to and from Australia and New York. Walker brought pieces from his extensive aboriginal art collection to use as inspirations for his work. During these visits bark paintings, combs and ceremonial masks hung about the studio. Walker incorporated materials into his paintings that enabled him to build up the painted surface. Richard’s job was to come up with a material that would allow Walker to build up his surface and still achieve clarity after running the piece through the hydraulic platen press at 800 tons of pressure. By using plywood plates and Rives BFK paper, Richard and John created three bodies of work 84”x74”.
Nineteen hundred and eighty-eight was an exciting year for Richard. Richard Diebenkorn whom Garner had been waiting to work with for twenty years came to the Santa Barbara studio. Richard not only assisted with the printing but also extensively photographed the Diebenkorn project. Per Kirkeby also came to Santa Barbara from Copenhagen with his family in that year. Richard introduced the medium to Kirkeby and together they embarked on producing large scale work. With Kirkeby’s desire to use the offset proof press to its full capacity and Richard’s love of very large scale, they produced monotypes 84 inches by 42 inches. Kirkeby was extremely happy with the results and returned in 1993, repeating the success of 1988. Tom Holland and Richard experimented with printing woven paper glued to flat paper, and the resulting textured print achieved the feeling of Tom’s sculpture. Charles Arnoldi, Friedel Dzubas, Christopher LeBrun, Tom Lieber, Sam Messer, Kathy Muehlemann, Italo Scanga, Rick Stitch, David Reed, Trevor Sutton and David Trowbridge came to created bodies of work in Santa Barbara. After a heavy printing schedule the first half 1988 the Santa Barbara studio set up for paper making. Richard resumed making paper at the Santa Barbara studio with a 250 gallon hydro-pulper, a laboratory paper macerator and a 150 gallon stainless steel vacuum pump with white water return (for recycling water) connected to a vacuum table with a capacity to produce paper up to 6 feet by 8 feet. He began producing flat sheets of cotton rag paper for use by artist at the studio. Artist begin to work on Tullis Handmade Paper fabricated by Richard .
The 1989 schedule in Santa Barbara was full. Visiting artists that year included Charles Arnoldi, Martin Beck, Jake Berthot, Laddie John Dill, Sam Francis, Christian Garnett, Mary Hambleton, Nancy Haynes, Roger Herman, Ken Kiff, Christopher LeBrun, Margit Lewczuk, Tom Lieber, Robert Lobe, John Monks, Thérèse Oulton, David Reed, David Row, Carol Seborovski, Andrew Spence, Clinton Storm and Emilio Vedova. Laddie Dill and Richard completed a suite of work for the Los Angeles County Museum’s Graphic Arts Council as their annual print for members, Dill incorporates cement washes over the prints to integrate their surfaces, as with his cement and glass sculpture. Emilio Vedova came from Venice, Italy, and the studio looked as if an Italian tornado had touched down leaving the floor and walls painted as well as the abstract expressionist monotypes hanging on the walls. Vedova enjoyed his photo being taken and many photos of their working sessions were later published in three of Vedova’s European and American full color show catalogs . Thérèse Oulton returned to set a new record for painting a plate, 4 hours per image. The long hours working with a small sable brush paid off with very beautiful large works.
In 1989 Richard traveled to Japan to learn the art of Japanese paper making . He first traveled to Mino City to visit one of Japan’s Living National Treasures (in the art of Gampi, a very thin translucent kind of paper) and observed his working methods. Then he continued on to Awagami Paper Mill for his chance to make paper. Japanese papermaking is a process quite different from the methods used to make western paper. His introduction to making Washi (Japanese handmade paper) was as traditionally based as possible owing to time limitations. He started by washing the Kozo fiber (mulberry bark) in a cold mountain stream with his feet. He then prepared the fiber by stripping the outer bark from the inner bark with a knife, and boiled and beat it into pulp with a wooden mallet. The pulp, fully beaten into individual fibers, could be dispersed into water and the sheet forming process begun, and very quickly ended, considering only 500 grams of pulp were produced. Richard then learned that in Japan today it is very rare to find anyone using the traditional methods of preparation for papermaking. The Japanese buy preprocessed Kozo fiber by the metric ton from Micronesia. Taking advantage of this supply of pulp, he learned to production mold large sheets of washi almost as fast as the paper mill workers.
During 1990 Richard collaborated with Charles Arnoldi, Peggy Wirta Dahl, Mary Hambleton, Nancy Haynes, David Row, Clinton Storm, Emilio Vedova, and John Zurier. He also perfected the paper making facility to better handle the increasing demand for his handmade paper. He commuted to New York to assist Garner in his studio on special projects using his handmade paper on Garner’s new 40’x50’ hydraulic platen press. Charles Arnoldi and Emilio Vedova created projects for Garner at the New York facility with Richard’s involvement and assistance.
In 1991 the Tullis family give back a bit of their working history to Santa Barbara. An archive of 38 artists work from Tullis Workshop hangs on permanent exhibition at the Luria Library, located on the West Campus of Santa Barbara City College. Ten of Richard’s artist photographs illustrate visually the working environment of Tullis Workshop. During the summer of 1991 forty-five of Richard’s photographs of artists were shown in his first one man show in Pietrarubia, Italy. The Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida accepted forty-five of Richard’s artist photographs into their permanent collection. The Santa Barbara Art Museum includes Richard in a show of alternative process photography, and added one of the photos to their permanent collection. Charles Arnoldi, Martin Beck, Christian Garnett, Jon Groom, Roger Herman, Nancy Haynes, Jim Muehlemann and Yoshito Takahashi collaborated with Richard during 1991. But paper making becomes the predominant activity for the studio because of increasing demand for Richard’s paper from artist working in Garner’s New York studio.
In 1992 Richard acquires the Santa Barbara studio and changes its name to Atelier Richard Tullis. Charles Arnoldi, Martin Beck, David Lasry, and John Millei collaborate with Richard. Paper making activities continue to increase due to the increased demand on both coasts for Richard’s paper.
Charles Arnoldi, Jacqueline Humphries, Per Kirkeby, John Millei and Thérèse Oulton collaborate with Richard in 1993, and he begins to open the studio for exhibitions of work produced in the studio. His first non -Workshop exhibition, featuring Paul Tuttle’s prototypes and one of a kind furniture pieces, accompanied an exhibition of Richard’s photographs of Artist working . Thérèse Oulton creates monotypes on large sheets of washi 39x49 inches imported from Japan, she makes her first experimental prints on half inch birch plywood instead of paper, and leaves the door open at the end of the project for further experimentation with Richard.
Per Kirkeby creates another body of work 84x42 inches. By experimenting with crayons and oil pastels on the aluminum plate, a favorable effect is produced that look like drawings from his sketchbook enlarged to a grand scale. Richard is invited to teach techniques in monotype at the Santa Fe Institute of Fine Arts : Masters Program, based on a recommendation by Phyllis Diebenkorn. This is his first teaching experience since Bennington College eighteen years earlier. He shared some of his Tullis handmade paper with his ten students, and they were hooked immediately. He also introduced his students to artists oil colors instead of traditional printing inks used to make their monotypes. Artists oil color allowed the paint to flows from the brush, and allowed the hand to move freely instead of fighting the sticky printing ink. The change of material became a revelation, helping to free some of the students hands and brushes in a way that traditional printing could not. As a result the images created were much closer to paintings, richer and full of life.
The curator of Photography at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art encouraged Richard to submit photographs to a juried show “The Santa Barbara Connection, Ten Santa Barbara Photographers” at the Museum. Richard was accepted and spent the beginning of 1994 working on a group of large scale alternative process photographs. With a sequence of his chemical and light drawings, Richard continued to push the boundaries of the photographic process with experiments he began exploring at the University of California, Davis in 1982-1984, and continued in the 1991 show at the Santa Barbara Museum of Arts “Alternative Process Photography. “ Richard prepared exhibitions of Richard Tullis Workshop work for European shows, initiated a series of Richard Tullis Workshop exhibitions in the Santa Barbara studio, and collaborated on another project with Arnoldi using a special paper made to his specifications with exaggerated deckles. Experiments with the offset press prove it can print Tullis handmade paper beautifully. Christopher Le Brun returned from London and made pictures based on Wagner’s Ring Cycle Operas. Using Richard’s newest size hand made paper measuring 74 inches by 42 inches, Christopher combined two sheets at the center and produced two prints of Brünhilde 74”x84” and smaller pieces of Siegfried and Valhalla measuring 50 inches by 40 inches.Richard begins donating work for a new archive from Richard Tullis Workshop at the University Art Museum, University of California Santa Barbara, including unique works on paper by Charles Arnoldi, Peggy Wirta Dahl, Don Gummer, Jacqueline Humphries, David Lasry, Robert Lobe, Sam Messer, John Millei, Thérèse Oulton, Ron Pondick, Carole Seborovski, Andrew Spence and John Zurier. Richard focuses on sales of works made at the Workshop, travels to Europe for the Basel Art Fair, and prepares future artist projects at the Tullis Workshop.
The start of 1995 brought Idelle Weber to the workshop on her way to Australia. Her vision of landscape begins a new direction at the workshop with Richard branching out in new image areas.
RICHARD BARCLAY TULLIS II
1962 Born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1983-1984 Assistant Printer, Garner Tullis Workshop, Emeryville, California.
1985-1992 Master Printer, Tullis Workshop, Santa Barbara, California.
1992-2006 Owner, Atelier Richard Tullis, Santa Barbara, California.
1980-present Owner Richard Tullis Photography, various locations.
2006-present Owner Studio Tullis, Northwest Oregon.
1972-1976 Apprenticeship at the International Institute of Experimental Printmaking.
Paper making, Paper casting, Etching, Monotype, Monoprint, and Relief
Printmaking Techniques under the supervision of Garner Tullis.
1976 Assistant Teacher Bennington College, Bennington, Vermont,
Summer Arts Program.
1976-1980 The Principia, Saint Louis, Missouri.
Introduction to photography.
1980-1982 Humboldt State University, Arcata, California.
Studied Photography and Ceramic Sculpture.
1982-1984 University of California at Davis, Davis, California, BA Art.
Continued study in Photography and Ceramic Sculpture.
1980 The Principia, Saint Louis, Missouri.
Multi-media Visual Presentation and Still Photography. “Sleeping Bear Dunes”.
1984 Basement Gallery, University of California at Davis, Davis, California
Experimental Photographic Technique, “Chemical & Light Drawings.”
1991 Castello di Pietrarubia, Pietrarubia, Italia.
“Immagini Fotografiche di un Workshop”.
1992 Bobbie Greenfield Fine Art, Venice, California.
Photographs of Sean Scully in conjunction with “Sean Scully, Works from the Garner Tullis Workshop”
Design Gallery, Sarasota, Florida. “Artists Working”.
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California.
Alternative Process Photography, Santa Barbara Photographers”.
1994 Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California.
“The Santa Barbara Connection, Ten Santa Barbara Photographers.”
Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, “Charity”
1995 Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, “Homework”
1996 KCBX Auction
1997 KCBX Auction
Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum “Xcite Auction”
1998 KCBX Auction
1999 KCBX Auction
2000 “Santa Barbara Printmakers”
Elaine LeVasseur, Falkner Gallery, Santa Barbara Public Library
b. sakata garo, Sacramento, California
Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum “Valentine Auction”
2001 Matrix and the Monoprint, Maudette,
Santa Barbara County Arts Administration, Santa Barbara County Building
30 Arlington, Santa Barbara, California
“Santa Barbara Printmakers”
Susanne Munchnic, Falkner Gallery, Santa Barbara Public Library
H.Pollock Fine Art, Summerland, Calilfornia
the Arts Fund auction, Santa Barbara, California
2004 “Behind Door Nine: Twenty Years of Art Collaborations with Richard Tullis in Santa Barbara”
University Art Museum, UCSB, Santa Barbara California
Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum
2005 “Made In Santa Barbara”
Santa Barbara Museum of Art
2009 Central Coast Wine Classic Barrel Painting
Avila Beach, California
Arkin Museum, Denmark
The Cleveland Museum of Art
The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers,
Luria Library, Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara, California.
Museo Pomodoro, Pietrarubbia, Italia
Museum of Art, U. of N.C. Chapel Hill , North Carolina
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Milwaukee
Museum Without Walls, Santa Cruz, CA
Puskin Museum, Moskova
Ringling Museum, Sarasota Florida
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California
The State University of New Jersey
University Art Museum, University of California at Santa Barbara
1983 Casa & Gardino, Italia. Magazine Photo Spread.
1984 Peter Voulkos, Hope and Charity in Hope Gallery. Catalog
1987 Sean Scully, Pamela Auchincloss Gallery. Catalog
1988 Collaborations in Monotypes, University of California at Santa Barbara. Catalog
Richard Diebenkorn, Pamela Auchincloss Gallery. Catalog
1989 Collaborations in Monotype II by Phyllis Plous and J. David Farmer, University Art Museum, UCSB, Catalog
Charles Arnoldi, Pamela Auchincloss Gallery. Catalog
Garner Tullis by Charles Millard, Print Quarterly, June 1989, Periodical
1990 Kenneth Noland, Karen Wilkin, Rizzoli NY, Book
Emilio Vedova, Museo Nationale S. Ravenna, Italia,. Catalog
Emilio Vedova, Pamela Auchincloss Gallery. Catalog
1991 Sean Scully, Prints from the Garner Tullis Workshop. Book
1994 Sam Francis, Book of Monotypes, Daco Verlag, Book
1996 Per Kirkeby,Stotter Arken Museum for Modern Kunst, Catalog
1997 David Carrier, Garner Tullis: The Art of Collaboration, Book
1998 Riviera Living in Santa Barbara, Sunset Magazine, June 1998
2001 Atelier Richard Tullis, A printmaker and painter who shares his art, Curators Choice by Jane Ellison, Santa Barbara Magazine Summer 2001
2005 Made In Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Catalog
COLLABORATIONS WITH ARTISTS
1983-1992 Richard Aber, Charles Arnoldi, Martin Beck, Billy Al Bengston, Jake Berthot, Jean Charles Blais, Stanley Boxer, Louisa Chase, Peggy Wirta Dahl, Roy de Forest, Laddie John Dill, Richard Diebenkorn, Friedel Dzubas, Eric Erickson, Robert Feintuck, Margarit Smith Francis, Sam Francis, Christian Garnett, John Gillen, John Groom, Red Grooms, Don Gummer, Mary Hambleton, Joseph Haske, Nancy Haynes, Roger Herman, Tom Holland, Roni Horn, Yvonne Jacquette, Ron Janowich, Wolf Kahn, Ken Kiff, Per Kirkeby, Catherine Lee, Margrit Lewczuk, Tom Lieber, Robert Lobe, Emily Mason, Sam Messer, John Monks, Jim Muehlemann, Kathy Muehlemann, John Millei, Richard Nonas, Thérèse Oulton, Beverly Pepper, William Perehudoff, Rona Pondick, David Reed, David Row, Italo Scanga, Sean Scully, Carol Seborovski, Andrew Spence, Rick Stitch, Clinton Storm, Trevor Sutton, Yoshito Takahashi, David Trowbridge, Emilio Vedova, Peter Voulkos, John Walker, and John Zurier.
1992-2006 Gregory Amenof, Charles Arnoldi, Martin Beck, Peter Brandes, Lawrence Carroll, Xiaowen Chen, Emily Cheng, Michelle Fierro, David Florimbi, Lawrence Gipe, Roger Herman, Nancy Haynes, Jacqueline Humphries, Shirley Kaneda, Per Kirkeby, Gary Lang, David Lasry, Christopher LeBrun, Hugh Margerum, Kim McCarty, John Millei, Thérèse Oulton, Michael Reafsnyder, Lucas Reiner, Carol Robertson, Nicole Strasburg, Trevor Sutton, Joan Tanner, John Walker, Idelle Weber, Dan Weldon and John Zurier.