After earning a graduate degree from SUNY-Oswego, Pamela Drix came to Ithaca to find there was no studio for local artists outside of the city’s colleges. Ten years later, the Ink Shop is celebrating a decade of artistic talent and community.
Located on the second floor of the Community School of Music and Arts, the Ink Shop is a cooperative not-for-profit gallery and art studio run by volunteers to give artists a place to produce and display their work.
From Friday to Jan. 15, the shop is celebrating 10 years of existence with the Decadia Portfolio Exchange exhibit, which is free and open to the public.
Drix, a member of the shop’s board of directors and lecturer of art at Ithaca College, is one of four founders of the Ink Shop. Alongside co-founders Gregory Page, Mirri Amina and Christa Wolf, Drix spent three weeks in Ireland scouting out studio set-ups to start the Ink Shop.
The shop has had three locations and more than 100 shows in its first decade. Its current exhibit is its largest show to date and marks the first time patrons can buy a piece of artwork on the spot, instead of having to wait for the exhibit to end.
Though not part of the celebration, the Ink Shop is also housing a Print Salon, a collection of prints made by past and present Ink Shop members being sold at discounted prices, ranging from $45 to $400, to benefit the shop’s programs.
The Decadia Exchange is a portfolio of prints made by 18 local Ink Shop artists focused on celebrating the shop’s anniversary.
Drix said Decadia is a combination of acadia and decade, and the exhibit is meant to support the shop’s success and look forward to its future.
“Acadia refers to our hope and future and current status as a place for artists to be creative and support one another and also hope for the future of sharing and growing in this endeavor,” she said. “And decade is of course celebrating 10 years.”
The Decadia exhibit required each artist to make 25 prints — 18 to be exchanged with other artists, one to be archived with the Ink Shop and the rest to be sold.
Kumi Korf, a local artist and former professor of art who has worked with the Ink Shop since its beginnings, said the artists’ willingness to create 25 prints showed their passion.
“That is the most exciting thing — people want to do this work,” she said.
Korf created a print for the exhibit and said it was Ithaca’s natural beauty that inspired her creation. “Verse” shows blue and green swirling shapes that often cross to create darker color formations.
“Generally speaking, my inspiration comes from observing what I see in Ithaca — the nature,” she said. “Luckily we have very beautiful sights physically. Quite often I am very moved by what I see.”
Page, associate professor of art at Cornell University, is an Ink Shop board member and co-founder. He said his print was inspired by his appreciation for horticulture and belief that the Ink Shop will continue to grow. “Motifs of My Backyard: Horse Tails” depicts a dark green and black shape with light brown lines across it.
“There’s a type of plant in my yard that’s very persistent,” he said. “It’s called a horse tail, and that’s something I wanted to have in that image — a kind of indicator of something that’s going to be here for a long time.”
Junior Jiné Andreozzi, who interns at the Ink Shop to develop its web presence and bring the shop more recognition in the community, said the Ink Shop is a good tool for people to use to develop their art.
“The Ink Shop in general is a great resource that a lot of people don’t know about, especially for people who are interested in the arts but maybe don’t have time for a class on campus,” she said.
The Ink Shop’s yearly memberships come in two forms: artist associates are open to anyone and cost $350, and printmaker associates require the artist to submit a portfolio to receive a key to the shop and cost $500. The shop also offers art classes for learning skills from InDesign and Photoshop to screening and etching. A typical class costs $220 for four three-hour sessions.
Drix said the shop’s relaxed policy regarding what artists create encourages artists’ personal style.
“We really wanted to celebrate the diversity and the beautiful array of styles and techniques that our artists use,” Drix said. “We don’t proport a certain stylistic kind of manifesto to our artists. We really try to encourage individuality as much as possible, and that’s what this show really expresses.”
Page said the Ink Shop is a valued presence in Ithaca because it brings attention to printmaking.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the Ithaca community to have an operation like the Ink Shop — one [that supports] a unique type of art form — printmaking,” Page said. “To have that here is pretty phenomenal, and it doesn’t happen in a lot of communities.”