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Carol Robertson 2000

Atelier Richard Tullis



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


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

Atelier Richard Tullis - A printmaker and painter who shares his art. 

Atelier Richard Tullis - A printmaker and painter who shares his art. 

Santa Barbara Magazine - 2001



“When the mobile above your crib is an original Calder, you grow up knowing something about making art,” Richard Tullis reflects. That knowledge and the fulfillment it brings is the inspiration behind the unique art produced at the widely recognized Atelier Richard Tullis. It’s clear watching him in the studio and listen- ing as he describes what happens there, that making art has never lost its excitement.

It’s an excitement that’s infectious as you step from the barren parking lot along Calle César Chávez into the studio’s soaring space. The quality and quantity of the abstract, representative and conceptual works resulting from Tullis’ collaborations over the past 20 years is nothing short of astounding. Artists come from all over the world to work here. A few are students; most are established. They all share a common interest in exploring new avenues of expression. Although his own training is in photography and ceramic sculpture, Tullis most often invites painters into the studio whose works have caught his attention. “I’ve pretty well edited before the artist arrives,” he reveals, “although there are no predetermined outcomes because the process invites spontaneity.”

Tullis describes himself as more facilitator than collaborator. “Artists may rediscover aspects of their previous work or be introduced to materials that inspire them to move in entirely new directions,” he notes. “They’re passionate about the work and I allow them the freedom to experiment by lending sup- port through my expertise in techniques, processes and materials. I’m also curator, photographer and chief cook and bottle washer—the ultimate studio assistant,” he laughs. “While here, the artist is the most important person, whether it’s the supplies provided, music selected or the meals prepared,” he continues.

“Richard provides a real service to Santa Barbara, bringing internationally known artists here and infusing the community with the larger contemporary art scene,” notes Meg Linton, executive director of the Contemporary Arts Forum. “Best of all, it’s a working studio that’s open to the public, providing firsthand knowledge of art making,” she adds. “I’ve never known another atelier like it; Richard is unique in the art world.”

Among the artists who recently have been privileged to be in residence are Los Angeles painter, Lawrence Gipe, whose work is represented locally in the collections of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and The Norton Simon Museum; and Per Kirkeby, internationally acclaimed Danish painter, sculptor and poet. Other artists working with Tullis have included painters Lawrence Carroll, David Florimbi, Nancy Haynes, Roger Herman, Shirley Kaneda, as well as Santa Barbara landscape painter and UCSB alum, Nicole Strasburg.

Huge tables combined with supplies the presses and create unique works on paper that defy the conventional idea of printmaking. While one may be satisfied with the printed surface, another may work the surface with additional paint and graphite, blurring the line between printmaking, painting and drawing. New York artist, Jacqueline Humphries, has said of her experience at Atelier Richard Tullis, “’s not drawing, not prints and not painting. For me, it is a very fertile way of working, very process-oriented.”

Tullis’ passion for the work comes from a lifelong exposure to art as the son of renowned printmaker, Garner Tullis. As an apprentice at his father’s International Institute of Experimental Printmaking he played a supporting role to such luminaries as Sam Francis, Richard Diebenkorn and Louise Nevelson. “There aren’t many people who could claim they cleaned plates and brushes for Sam Fran- cis,” he boasts. By 10 years of age he was learning the art of papermaking and running presses. Today the distinctive Tullis paper is available only in his studio.

His education in the arts continued during four years at The Principia in St. Louis as a student in photography. Another four years studying photography and ceramic sculpture followed at Cal State, Humboldt and UC Davis.

He returned to work in his father’s studio, ultimately moving to Santa Barbara in 1985, when Garner asked him to set up the Garner Tullis Workshop here. It was renamed Atelier Richard Tullis after he acquired it in 1992, serving notice of his independent vision.

“Working side by side with artists is a rare calling, definitely a job for the young and energetic,” notes Santa Barbara artist and printmaker, Elaine Le Vasseur. “Richard has determination, courage and above all, good taste. That explains why his work is so respected. He carries on a 500-year- old tradition without any hype; it’s the real thing.”❖


Jane Ellison is a frequent contributor to Santa Barbara Magazine.


“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 

Behind Door Nine - Michael Darling

Underneath the noses of so many of us who follow the art scene in Santa Barbara, Richard Tullis has been operating one of the most exciting laboratories for artistic experimentation in the state. Situated in an old Sunkist lemon processing plant at the end of Salsipuedes Street, Tullis has quietly facilitated the creation of numerous bodies of works on paper by an eclectic range of artists from all over the world. Although the operation has technically been active since 1985, it is only within the last three years that the studio has come under the ownership of Richard, and been guided by his own particular vision. Formerly the Garner Tullis Workshop, Richard took over the business in 1992 from his father and changed the name to Atelier Richard Tullis / A.R.T.9, emphasizing the individuality of his enterprise.


Trained in ceramics, printmaking, and photography, it is painters that have attracted Richard’s attention for projects during the last two years, looking to artists with a particular facility for paint handling and distinctive image-making for his collaborations. Artists as far-ranging as Shirley Kaneda, Christopher Le Brun, Jacqueline Humphries, Per Kirkeby, Thérèse Oulton, Chuck Arnoldi, Idelle Weber, and Joan Tanner have come to push their craft within the cavernous warehouse space of the Tullis Atelier, relying on the two enormous presses, hand-made Tullis paper, and Richard’s encouraging expertise for a variety of undertakings. Artists usually stay for a two week period, during which time it usually takes a few days to work through some adjustments to the technology before they really get into a rhythm of familiarity and facility. The works created are never made in multiple editions, but are instead made as singular works, one at a time, using the uncommon technology of 800 ton presses to open up new creative avenues in their practice.

Joan Tanner, for instance, who engaged in a short but prodigious stint at the Atelier, put the funky materials with which she has been working lately together into intriguing compositions that are given a whole new dimension when pressed against paper. Copper wire, plywood, rubber, aluminum sheeting, solder, and roofing material were all employed in Tanner’s extraordinary prints, resulting in stained and compressed plates that hold as much interest as the complicated prints from which they were made. New York painter Shirley Kaneda’s recent residency introduced an element of expediency into her work that is usually absent in the paintings she builds up and adjusts over a long period of time. The complex interrelationships of patterns, colors and shapes that Kaneda balances in her paintings were complicated further by the exciting shifts of depth created by the bas-relief of the embossed prints. The Danish artist Per Kirkeby exploited the immediacy and largescale capabilities of Tullis’ large offset proof press, a machine that was refitted to artistic tasks after its original purpose of printing B-29 Bomber struts during World War II. Kirkeby created numerous human-scaled impressions around nature-based themes. Exhibited as a group, as in the recent “Untitled” exhibition at UC Santa Barbara’s University Art Museum, these works become environmental in both their scope and feeling.


Tullis is just beginning to expand the visibility of his Atelier, making the products of his labors more accessible to a wider audience. His recent collaboration with Chuck Arnoldi, resulting in a large body of wildly colorful and expressive works on paper, was featured in the Venice Art Walk in Los Angeles in May. A selection of Atelier Richard Tullis prints were recently donated to the collection of the University Art Museum at UCSB, some of which were part of the Museum’s permanent collection exhibition, “From Warhol to Baule,” on view this summer. “Works from the Atelier Richard Tullis,” a sampling of artist’s projects fresh from the Tullis presses, was also presented at Sullivan and Goss in Santa Barbara. As these various showings have proved, increasing accessibility to this challenging material, for audiences both near and far, is a welcomed development, as this work is just too good to keep hidden.


Michael Darling, June 14, 1995

Santa Barbara News Press

Stack of handmade paper

Richard Tullis II - Brief History


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. 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 included anise, grass, foxtail, wool and cotton.


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 hot in a hydraulic platen press and hand colored.


Afternoons in Santa Cruz found Richard at the Institute helping with University of California, Santa Cruz, students studying with Garner.    

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. 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.


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.


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."


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 the Tullis Workshop in Santa Barbara. Arnoldi began working at Experimental Printmaking in 1980 and continues to work with Richard to this day.


In 1982 Garner opened the Garner Tullis Workshop 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, where the focus was exclusively on paper making.


It was at the Big Press 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, Re Grooms, Tom Lieber and John Zurier.


Beginning yet another chapter in printing history, the Garner Tullis Workshop moved from the Bay Area to Santa Barbara, California in 1985. For the 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. While waiting for the press to be restored, Richard constructed the new studio on Salsipuedes Street in Santa Barbara.


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 kind 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. Printing continues today and paper making has resumed. Richard has perfected a vacuum system for casting paper sheets up to 6' x 8' and 1/4" in thickness. These sheets are used for projects done with artists invited to work at the Santa Barbara studio making unique works on paper. Richard also supplies his father, who relocated to New York City and opened a new studio there, with handmade sheets specially made for Garner's presses.




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 

SF Dreaming

Richard Tullis - Owner operator

Does pretty much everything these days



Northwest Oregon

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