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I Am/You Are
Tia Blassingame

I utilize printmaking in the book form to address issues of race and of racism in the United States. I am interested in how racism has warped our perception and has melted into our vocabulary, social structure, and our urban landscape. I grapple with such questions as who owns opinion and memory and who is authorized to bear witness?

Employing a mixture of poetry, typography, printmaking techniques like etching, screenprinting lithography, letterpress printing, and book arts endeavors including papermaking and bookbinding, I examine African American architectural, spatial and cultural history, racial prejudices and perception. As many of my pieces deal with historical racism, I employ period typefaces to create a look and ambience that transports the viewer to the appropriate era. Because of its tactile nature and deep impression on the page, letterpress printing invites the viewer to connect immediately and then dissect the text and images slowly.

Disturbing images and histories rendered using wooden or metal letters or an etching plate can be atmospheric and intriguing. Instead of repelling the viewer, artists’ books can allow for a nuanced discussion on issues of race to unfold with each page turn. The reader/viewer can locate themselves within the book as they create their own path to view and connect deeply with the the book, its text and prints, history itself.

Tia Blassingame will also be giving an artist talk on her exhibition in the gallery.


Exhibition Run: March 9 – May 3
Artist Talk: Thursday, March 26, at 4:30pm

Image: Proofing I Am artist’s book