KITE PROJECT | 2019 - 2020
When I was given a four by five foot piece of Tyvek by Koichi Yamamoto, professor at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, I was forced to out of my comfort zone. Koichi invited me print an image on that Tyvek which would be made into a kite to be flown with a group of artist kites at the Southern Graphics International Print Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in April 2020. I had never printed on Tyvek, a synthetic wrapping material used in construction. The print size was too big for our press and the usual overall surface texture and subtle color shifts in my prints would not create strong graphic image needed when the kite was flying 20 meters in the air.
With the help of student assistants, Annabel Druissi and Allie Gish, I made many iterations and explored new options. We researched and practiced printing on Tyvek. We began with a laser cut birch plywood prototype at a quarter scale and we quickly discovered inking and printing so many different colored puzzle piece parts was going to be too labor intensive when moved to a larger scale. We made many more iterations before the final four by five foot version was completed using three pieces of plywood printed with the white line wood cut methods used by Blanche Lazzell and other Provincetown Printers in the early twentieth century.
On a blue background the color of a typical San Juan sky, we printed a bird of paradise, a flower my family associates with Hawaii, my birthplace. I was born before Hawaii was a state so I thought it was appropriate for the bird of paradise to be flying over Puerto Rico, another U.S. territory.
(The conference was cancelled due to the pandemic but the kite was exhibited in the Art Department Gallery at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and I hope the kite will be flown with the others at a later date.)