Ian Kochberg

In this harried world of mediocrity, planned obsolescence and transient fashion, Ian Kochberg is a throwback to a quieter time… a nobler era, where pride and craftsmanship were the norm, rather than the exception.

A gifted child artist, by the age of fourteen Ian was already recognized as being “a technical genius” by Mr. Alan H. Jarvis, late director of the National Gallery in Ottawa. The Ontario College of Art awarded him a scholarship the following year. Ian went on to study both architecture, and classical animation. His first glimpse of international recognition came when he produced and directed his own award-winning animated film, which was featured at international film festivals, in North America and Europe. Upon graduating, Ian taught himself printmaking. The once budding ‘technical genius’ was to blossom into an accomplished artist.

Much has been spoken and written about Ian’s timeless work. Using materials and methods that pre-date the Renaissance, he painstakingly, and in his own uniquely innovative style, creates each of his original prints by hand. A stubborn, uncompromising perfectionist, Ian is a genuine modern-day master of his ancient craft. His striking original graphics are renowned for their keen wit, precision and artistic excellence.

Ian’s Richmond Hill home and personal studio, is a permanent gallery of his art, where friends and patrons are warmly greeted by Arlene… his wife, partner, agent and soul-mate. His works are found in private and corporate collections throughout Canada, the USA, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and South America.

Except for making the paper himself (Ian’s paper of choice is made in an ancient mill in France), each of his works is created entirely by his own hand. Each original print is a marriage of two distinct printmaking techniques:

Ian attains his rich colours using SERIGRAPHY. In serigraphy, the image is ‘drawn’ by carefully opaquing or blocking out areas of a specially prepared, stretched screen. As ink is forced across the screen with a squeegee, the unblocked areas of the screen allow ink to penetrate onto the printing paper below. A separate screen is required for each colour; he has spent up to 180 hours in the creation of a single screen for a single colour.

His second printmaking technique, EMBOSSED ETCHING, is done after all the colours are complete. Ian draws his design onto a solid metal plate. The plate is then precisely hand-cut. Each piece of plate is individually filed, engraved, and etched in a bath of nitric acid; these processes are repeated as necessary, after which the finished pieces of metal plate are affixed onto a transparent base. The paper is dampened, and registered onto the finished “plate”. Finally, Ian “hand-pulls” the paper and plate through his massive, custom-made press. The press, which exerts up to 24 tonnes of pressure, permanently embosses the image of the metal plates into the paper.