James & Wilkens

Susan James & Ken Wilkens

Sea Grape Gallery Artist Members since 2021
Fine Art Medium: Intaglio Printmaking and Photogravure

Punta Gorda based artists Susan James and Ken Wilkens specialize in the art and science of Photogravure. Susan has been a printmaker since 1985, and Ken has been a photographer since the pre-digital days of film and darkrooms. When they met in 2011 Ken began to teach Susan about photography, and in 2015 they took a Photogravure workshop together to learn how to combine the two art forms.

Photogravures are photographs etched into copper and printed traditionally with ink on an etching press. The resulting images are valued for their deep shadows, luminous highlights, and delicate shades of gray. Each image in an edition is an original in its own right: inked by hand and printed one by one on an etching press.

“Making a Photogravure is like getting into a time machine,” Susan says. “We use modern technology to capture images, 19th century technology to produce the plates, and 15th century technology to create the prints.”   Their studio, Passerina Press, is where the magic happens these days. Susan also continues to do etching based on her own original drawings, many of which are hand-colored, and depict whimsical subject matter.   A full explanation of the Photogravure process can be found at https://www.passerinapress.com