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Old News | Reviews
FROM RAGS TO PAPER - Charles Donelan
Behind Door # 9: 20 Years of Atelier Richard Tullis in Santa Barbara - 2004.
An artist himself, Santa Barbara resident Richard Tullis is also, to paraphrase Falstaff, "the cause that art is in others." This stimulating 20-year retrospective brings together works produced at his Door #9 workplace on Salsipuedes Street. Despite its generous size of approximately 50 images, the show only hints at the productivity of the last 20 years in the atelier. The exhibit records a unique, historically significant situation. Tullis uses his talent and experience, along with specialized equipment and radical techniques, to empower and provoke the many world-renowned artists who travel to Santa Barbara to live and work with him. The results of these prolific collaborations are beautiful and instructive. They give the immediate pleasure of sensory gratification and the more subtle, hard-earned one of insight into the nature and possibilities of the various media.
While there is no such thing as "the Tullis method," there are signature elements in Tullis' approach to artmaking. Such works as the large, untitled seven-panel white relief by Arnoldo Pomodoro (1996) that dominates the back wall of the rear gallery are made on a high-tech, high-pressure press that can handle very large sheets of handmade paper. "Bottled Paper" (2004), a freestanding work by Joan Tanner on view in the main room, displays the sculptural qualities of pressed pulp. Shirley Kaneda is represented by an untitled piece from 1997 in which yellow vertical stripes, green and brown checks, and pink ovals are combined to emphasize the signature Tullis effects of highly saturated color and sensuous dimensionality.
One of the largest and most striking pieces on display is a 1988 work by John Walker from his "Salsipuedes Series." It's a big blue duality animated by dark, spiraling figure eights. Nicole Strasburg's brilliant "Overpass Series" (2000) mines the potential of multiple cuttings and impressions made from the same piece of wood. It's a great piece - simple and sophisticated, down to earth and sublime - in other words, pure Atelier Tullis.
Reviewed by Charles Donelan 2004
PRESSING MATTERS -
BEHIND DOOR NINE -
Joseph Woodard - 2004
Richard Tullis is one of those prominent yet also slightly mysterious figures in Santa Barbara's art community. Having run the respected Atelier Richard Tullis for 20 years and counting, he's a force to reckon with and a facilitator and workshop-keeper to artists both renowned and emerging, and he casts a large shadow. But who is he?
The question is both raised, and in many ways, answered in a large exhibition, "Behind Door # 9: 20 Years of Atelier Richard Tullis in Santa Barbara," at UCSB's University Art Museum. One of the answers gleaned from this diverse sampling from his workshop is that he's pursuing neither a particular method or stylistic movement. Work, experimentation and creative results are the main products that seem to come out of his place.
It has been an ongoing life's work for Tullis, going back to a childhood spent helping out at his father Garner Tullis' International Institute of Experimental Printmaking in Santa Cruz. Richard started working there at age 10, and was 13 when he first started helping abstractionist poet Sam Francis. The operation moved to Santa Barbara 20 years ago, and Richard carried on after his father moved to New York City in 1992, renaming the workshop Atelier Richard Tullis.
Suffice to say, it's one of the hipper and more creatively motivated operations down in the industrial zone on Calle Cesar Chavez. Visitors can view exhibitions of work done there by appointment, or get a broad overview at UCSB, an eclectic sweep of ideas and techniques testing the limits of what we thought we knew about printmaking.
Some indication of the conceptual stretching in the show is given by Martin Beck's "Favorite Painters Series," on the wall facing the exhibition entrance. Irony, ersatz science and systematic visual planning blend in the series of images, reputedly arrived at in response to polled artistic taste.
There are plenty of lovely and intense examples of image-making using traditional printmaking techniques in the show, including Roger Herman's loosely linear "Self Portrait" and David Trowbridge's pulpy-textured, rusticated Minimalism. But the odder works, made under peculiar condition, tend to leap out for attention under the circumstances.
Joan Tanner's "Bolted Paper" is a decidedly sculptural aggregate, with 19 handmade paper panels attached to a central axis, treated, embossed and painted in various ways. John Millei's "Terra Sub-Terra" is a floor-to-ceiling scaled triptych, with gooey black palimpsest of unknown origin or reference.
One might ask where the printmaking ends and the dada-ist art mischief begins in Italo Scanga's oil painting of a vessel on a "found" plywood desk scrap. Here, physical object and the process of reproduction embrace, cautiously.
And yet this artistic world's underlying physical creative process is a running theme in the exhibition. All aspects of the printmaking act - and what could be called anti-printmaking - and materials become integrated. The process behind the product can become almost dramatized by the specific descriptions of the works, many of which were created under 800 tons of pressure.
Sam Messer's dark-comical diptych "Couple," we learn, is a "hand-rubbed engraved plastic plate, pressed into Awagami Washi by a 1940s Chas. Wagner Lithography, Offset Proof Press." Thus, armed with knowledge, our respect for what went into the creation of the images bumps up a notch or three. David Florimbi's "Project 2 Parcel 10" (the titles often refer to the ongoing processes rather than to fixed end products) is an odd, mostly sky landscape image, made partly on aluminum tiles applied to acrylic sheeting.
The "real world" sneaks into view in a different way in Lawrence Carroll's "Obituary Series," of which pieces in homage to Mike Kelly and Robert Ryman are seen here. The "pulpy" reality of newspaper death notices are filtered through the idealized methods of art-making, using screens, prints, and canvas wrapped panel to put death into more poetic terms.
In the museum's back gallery, Arnaldo Pomodoro's seven-panel work fills a wall, as if telling a vague narrative story. It's abstract, white, embossed paper state makes it at once elegant and wily, possibly alluding to topography, anatomy and sexuality. Though austere, on one level, this work is also imposing by virtue of the work and physical intensity behind its creation. The artist's muse willed that a 1,000-ton Anderson-Vreland Hydraulic Platen Press be involved. That's no sketch in the park.
Tullis, the man behind the scenes, is very much intertwined into what we're seeing on the wall. His input is further demonstrated by a series of photographs from the Atelier, including such artists as Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis and Sean Scully.
The photographic documentation continues at Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum in Tullis' small selection of images shot in his space. That little show, fittingly, is called "Where Artists Work." Work, as verb and noun, is the critical word in these 20th anniversary shows.
By Josef Woodard 2004
MAKING THEIR MARK -
THE ART OF ATELIER RICHARD TULLIS -
“It's about making your mark.” For most people, these cliched words conjure dreams of personal success and leaving a lasting impression. But coming from the mouth of Richard Tullis, the remark carries both metaphorical and literal meanings. As the creative force behind Santa Barbara's Atelier Richard Tullis/ART 9, Tullis endeavors along with the rest of us to make an enduring contribution. Though substantial, Tullis's impact on the arts is a well kept secret. Tucked between industrial warehouses at the end of Calle Cesar Chavez, Tullis invites artists from around the world to find creative refuge in his atelier and collaborate in an ongoing exploration of aesthetic mark making under the force of an 800 ton press.
Though well situated in the history of American printmaking through the legacy of his father Garner Tullis, Richard Tullis's individuality is manifest in the unbounded quality of the works produced at his atelier. Not weighed down by the sheer mass of the presses that link his production to the art of printmaking, Tullis facilitates the creation of unique works on paper by encouraging artists to experiment with an array of techniques and materials for mark-making. Print techniques are united with painting and drawing to create complex patterns, nuanced textures, and rich color combinations. Standing before a work by Lawrence Gipe, Tullis poses the facetious question, "Is it a print or is it a painting?" The ambiguity enables ART 9 to step outside the limits of traditional printmaking in a collaborative pursuit of new ideas, new directions, and new types of mark
making that artists can take back to their studios.
Over the past seven years, ART 9 has evolved into a working retreat that supports artistic freedom, experimentation, and reflection. In an attempt to preserve this environment, Tullis collaborations have unfolded beyond the public eye. Nevertheless, Tullis's passion for the art emerging from his workshop periodically transcends his modesty and quiet intensity. Sharing this enthusiasm while offering support to local organizations, including Hospice and Planned Parenthood, this month Tullis has opened his workshop to a series of events that coincide with a survey exhibition of works on paper produced at the Richard Tullis atelier.
Curated by Diana DuPont of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the show reviews the entire production of the atelier since Richard Tullis stepped up to the plate in 1992. Works resulting from numerous collaborations are represented in an eclectic body of abstract, representative, and conceptual pieces. Uniting the various approaches to mark-making explored at ART9, the works selected by DuPont from Tullis's extensive archives collectively foreground the versatility, material sensitivity, and technical ingenuity that Tullis stares with artists invited to work in his studio. Describing the characteristics of Tullis collaborations, DuPont invites the viewer to relish the way in which “lyrical abstraction, beauty of color and the accident of mark-making lend a sense of intuition to ART9 production that keeps the work in the realm of poetry.” Tullis's affinity for color, shape, and materiality infuses the imagery produced at ART9 and can be identified as the underlying theme of this exhibition.
In the playful work of Michelle Fierro, for example, paint and graphite are layered on a printed background of Tullis's handmade paper, creating a web of hypnotic visions and associations. Similarly, the accretion of the painted surface by John Millei explores the material attributes of paint and paper in an obsessive manner that parallels Tullis's approach to his own artwork, some of which is also included in the show. Even within the stark geometry of Martin Beck's conceptual work, Tullis's enjoyment of pigment is embodied in color relationships used to graph the popularity of artists across social class.
April 29, 1999 The Santa Barbara Independent by Niki Richards
The 800 Ton Secret - Rachael Howard
The 800 Ton Secret – The Presses of Atelier Richard Tullis
Richard Tullis would almost prefer not to have an article written about him or his art studio. Having run a highly respected creative haven for over a decade, Tullis is aware of the fine line between recognition and hype—and treads it lightly. Even at 8:30 a.m., however, he’s remarkably indulgent of my curiosity as we tour Atelier Richard Tullis, explaining how an intimidating 800ton press—only one among several bulky, brutish machines he’s expert in handling is used to create finely tuned pieces of art. Perhaps this tolerance is prompted by a realization that his days as Santa Barbara’s best kept art secret may be over.
Made In Santa Barbara:Work from Atelier Richard Tullis / A.R.T.9 on display in the County’s Channing Peake Gallery through August, is only the latest step in Tullis’s gradual and somewhat reluctant local emergence. Although Tullis and a host of renowned artists have collaborated within the former Lemon packing plant on Salsipuedes Street since 1985, their work has been carried on quietly beneath Santa Barbara’s art scene, finding notice instead within New York circles. For Tullis, that’s been just fine. “I run a very private studio,” he said simply. “I’ve done a really good job of not being well known in Santa Barbara. I don’t want people knocking on my door and disrupting the art process.” Seeing the quality of work that privacy nurtures, one understands why Tullis has safeguarded it so passionately. But in recent years he’s opened his studio to exposure, and begun the balancing act between promoting his artists’ works and protecting the sanctity of their studio time, by donating a selection of Atelier Richard Tullis prints to UCSB’s University Art Museum and participating in a handful of Santa Barbara exhibitions.
This latest exhibit features the work of Michelle Fierro, Thérèse Oulton, Jacqueline Humphries, Shirley Kaneda, Nancy Haynes, and
Joan Tanner, produced during intense individual residencies with Tullis. Only Tanner, however, is actually from Santa Barbara, making this show an interesting twist in the gallery’s functioning.“It’s the first show they’ve had without Santa Barbara artists,”Tullis said.“They’re bending the rules a little because I live and work here, and I love Santa Barbara, but the artists are actually from many different places.” By happy coincidence, Tullis selected all female artists to represent his workshop at a time when female focused exhibitions are dominating the Santa Barbara scene.“It was fortuitous that so many other galleries are focusing on women right now,” Tullis said. But beyond the gender solidarity, the diverse works of these artists speak of the workshop’s range of capabilities.
“I have six artists in this show, but none of them work in the same methods,” Tullis said. “My job is to help them learn how the materials in my workshop are similar but different to what they’ve already worked with. If I do my job well, artists will come back to me and say they have a whole new body of work.”
Tullis learned the trade of facilitating talent from his father, Garner, who founded the International Institute of Experimental Printmaking in Santa Cruz. The studio later moved to San Francisco, and finally to Santa Barbara.“Garner brought me down from San Francisco in‘85 to build this place,”Tullis said.“My plan was to go back to San Francisco, but he sold that press in ‘87.” Tullis assumed full control of the Santa Barbara press in 1992. His father now runs his own workshop on the East Coast. Overcoming the shadow of his father’s incredible reputation hasn’t been easy, but Tullis has taken pains to establish himself in his own right, in part by working with artists his father passed over. “Nancy Haynes and Thésèse Oulton are both artist my father introduced me to,” he said.“But I had been impressed with Jacqueline Humphries’s work, and that was something my father didn’t want to do.”
To the uninitiated, the tools of Tullis’s studio seem more suited to destruction than art. In fact, the offset proof press Tullis’s artists use to create their prints was originally used to manufacture B29 bomber struts during World War II.That piece of equipment and a massive hydraulic platen press (built in 1935 to print newspaper) are so heavy that they have to be supported on their own foundations of steel beams to avoid sinking the entire building.“It’s like stacking hundreds of elephants on top of your piece of paper,” Tullis said of the hydraulic press’s power.
It’s not surprising that Tullis’s expertise is crucial to transforming artists’ ideas into unique works on paper.While a works components seem simple enough usually oil paint, aluminum cutouts, and wood only Tullis, through decades of experience, knows how they will perform under extreme forces. “Basically, an artist will come here with ideas, sometimes with sketches,” he said.“There’s a learning period where what the artists wants to achieve isn’t happening because the materials aren’t behaving like they thought they would.The artists have to learn to work in a more fluid manner.”
But Tullis strives to do more than provide mechanical tools within his atelier he offers the artist an atmosphere conducive to creativity. During his or her residency, each artist is given the complete run of Tullis’s studio.“Only one artist is invited to work here at a time,”Tullis said.“I try to keep the walls free of anyone else’s art.This really becomes their studio.They’re got my technical assistance, but the phones not ringing for them. They’re left to their own devices as far as how fast they want to work, how much they want to get done.”
During his busiest period with his father, Tullis would work with up to 40 artists each year. Now he prefers to concentrate on six to eight projects within that time span.This significant down scaling is in part due to Tullis’s return to paper making.As if the two presses weren’t enough, Tullis also owns a 250gallon hydropulper, and spends two consecutive months each year making special papers for his artists to work on.
Tullis works with both new and experienced, well known and just being discovered artists. He worked with Sam Francis and Charles Arnoldi, two artists he finds most inspirational, for over a decade each; but Michelle Fierro, among others, is relatively new to his studio and the scene.This balance helps his studio keep afloat financially! “The old people help the young people, and they pretty well know that. It works somehow, Tullis said. Something by Per Kirkeby will help cover the expenses for something by Michelle Fierro.” None of his artists sell much in Santa Barbara, however. “I sell almost nothing here,” Tullis said “It’s a tough market.” It will be interesting to see how much longer Tullis’s achievements will go virtually undetected.
Rachael Howard, July 10, 1997 Santa Barbara Independent
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 Atelier Richard Tullis work for European shows, initiated a series of Atelier Richard Tullis 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”x 84” and smaller pieces of Siegfried and Valhalla measuring 50 inches by 40 inches.Richard begins donating work for a new archive from Atelier Richard Tullis 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 Studio, travels to Europe for the Basel Art Fair, and prepares future artist projects at the Atelier Tullis.
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.
Once 1995-2006 hit Richard had his hands full with the Santa Barbara studio. This section needs to be written...
In 2006 Richard closed the Santa Barbara space, he and Karen returned north and landed near Portland Oregon.
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