Art21 Extended Play

Kiki Smith’s Printmaking Process

Kiki Smith Printmaking

Kiki Smith revising the copper printing plate for “Two” (2002) at Harlan & Weaver, New York. Production still from the series Exclusive. © Art21, Inc. 2013. Cinematography by Mead Hunt.

“I really love printmaking. It’s like a mystery and you’re trying to figure out how to rein it in.” Kiki Smith

Today’s Exclusive, filmed in 2002 at the printmaking workshop Harlan & Weaver, features artist Kiki Smith discussing the challenges and pleasures of printmaking. Shown working on a portrait titled Two (2002), Smith and the workshop’s master printers make numerous proofs and revisions until she is pleased with the image. Using ink on paper, Smith combines traditional and self-taught etching techniques in her attempts to represent the subtleties of human flesh.


  1. Ariana L. says:

    I thought that this was a really fascinating process. It was really cool watching how the picture popped out at the viewer and practically came to life. I also enjoyed the print of the cat the fur looked so real. Smith is definitely a fantastic artist with great skills behind her. This process must be really hard and I can’t even imagine the amount of time it takes to draw this up and have to keep re-printing it until it gets to be perfect.

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