What happens when you drive a road roller over inked wood blocks and paper? You make massive prints hot off the pavement! You’ve probably never seen this kind of printmaking before. But we can tell you where you can watch it today.

Photo courtesy of Kansas City Art Institute

By Peg Cameron Gill

Come see the amazing process of road roller printing and meet Printmaking Visiting Artist Taro Takizawa at the 16th Annual Road Roller Day. This unusual event is taking place Wednesday, March 8, from 10 AM – 5 PM at Rowland Commons near Vanderslice Hall on the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) campus.

Road roller printing is an experience the general public doesn’t often get the chance to see. The process requires using a road roller (a heavy construction vehicle used  to level surfaces) as the pressure point to transfer the ink from a matrix onto a piece of fabric or paper, creating a printed design. KCAI Printmaking students will be making and displaying the prints throughout the event with the theme of Liquid Ecologies.

The Wacker Neuson RD12 double drum, ride-on road roller pictured here weighs one ton and is normally used by contractors to compact asphalt and subbase materials. But it’ll be put to a far more artistic use at the Road Roller event.

Visiting Artist Taro Takizawa focuses on printmaking, wall vinyl installations, drawings and 2D designs. Born in Japan, he has been creating images connecting what he experienced growing up in Japan with what he later experienced in the United States.

His works contain both western and eastern aesthetics with an appreciation of traditional printmaking processes and mark making (the action of producing marks on a surface such as paper, canvas, textiles, walls and floors, or objects with a mark-making tool. For a painter, the most familiar forms are pencil, pen, brush, palette knife and charcoal).

Takizawa is fascinated with blending the boundaries of contemporary studio practice and traditional processes, printmaking, and installations influenced by traditional Japanese patterns from textile designs, architecture, and crafts. 

He received his BFA with a printmaking emphasis from Central Michigan University in 2011, and MFA in printmaking from Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts in 2017. Takizawa has exhibited nationally and internationally at a variety of esteemed art centers and museums such as at Fowler-Kellogg Art Center, PARADOX European Fine Art Forum and its exhibition at CK Zamek in Poznan, Poland; and ArtPrize 10 at Grand Rapids Public Museum, LUX Center for the Arts, Ty Pawb in Wales and China Printmaking Museum. He recently went to artist residencies at Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts in Ithaca, New York, Morgan Conservatory in Cleveland, Ohio, and GoggleWorks in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Takizawa is currently based in Copenhagen.

For more information contact Kathy St. Clair or go to Road Roller Day.

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