(please go to the Artists page, above, for images of published etchings and information about the artists)
Born in 1951 in Los Angeles, California, Gary Eisenberg has been involved with the visual arts for the past three decades. In the early 1980’s, he acquired a 16”x30” Charles Brand etching press,
which has become the center of his printmaking universe. In 2000, he began working with other artists.
The first collaborative project was with Michael Montfort, the noted photographer of the late Charles Bukowski. Montfort and Eisenberg produced two photo-engravings, which were exhibited at the Coagula Projects.
By the summer of 2000, Gary started working with noted painter Sandow Birk, which has resulted in seven etchings thus far. The Sandow Birk etchings include Overview of the Carnage South of Market, The Rakes’s Progress, and Old Folsom State Prison. The etchings have been exhibited at several museums, including the Skirball Museum and the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, as well as several California galleries.
Sandow also invited Gary to do the the theme and incidental music for his first movie project
In 2001, Gary began working on etchings with Rafael Buñuel and Juan-Luis Buñuel, sons of the legendary filmmaker Luis Buñuel. The etchings have been shown at galleries in Madrid and Paris, as well
as solo shows in Los Angeles at Christine Argillet Gallery and the Italian Cultural Center, as well as a group show at Jan Baum Gallery. Gary Eisenberg has also worked with a broad range of other
artists, including Enzia Farrell, Daniel Ponce Márquez, Jean Kazandjian, Vasken Matyan, and Artemio Rodríguez.
In 2003, Gary printed and sponsored an etching by Raymond Pettibon for the Graphic Arts Council of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
The Making of “The Beautiful and the Dammed”
By Gary Eisenberg
On a sparkling late afternoon in early June 2003, I greeted Raymond Pettibon at my tiny studio in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles. Raymond had agreed do an etching to benefit the membership drive of the Graphic Arts Council, and I had agreed to do the chemistry and edition printing. Raymond’s low-key demeanor and subtle sense of humor was refreshing. I also could not help but notice that our overly protective hound took an immediate liking to him, which I correctly interpreted as a sign of good things to come.
We examined Raymond’s plate – the detailed image of a beaver, floating in the middle of otherwise blank space. Raymond explained that he still had a little work to do, so I set him up at the backyard table, reminding him that we only had an hour or so of remaining daylight. He assured me that there was plenty of time. I watched in amazement, as he worked on the plate with precise and deliberate strokes of the etching needle. These strokes were made with full-arm motions, as if wielding a brush upon a canvas. When Raymond was finished, there was a striking gathering of twigs alongside the beaver.
After the image was completed, Raymond explained that he had several ideas for an accompanying text. He reached into his knapsack, pulled out a ragged bundle of papers, selected the text, and deliberately did the lettering without hesitation. This is no small feat, as the writing must be done in reverse. It is easy to make mistakes, and difficult to correct them.
Before the sun had fully settled into the horizon, Raymond took a long look at the plate and declared that it was completed. He quietly wished me a pleasant evening, walking out into the summer evening air without fanfare - in the same gentle manner in which he had greeted me.
I spent the next half hour studying the plate, trying to determine how much time it would need in the acid. Too much time would destroy the fine subtlety of Raymond’s lines. Too little time would fail to produce adequate definition. It was seventy degrees Fahrenheit outside, the perfect temperature for a nicely controlled acid bath. I decided to go ahead with the biting.
By midnight, the plate had been bathed, beveled, and polished. Over the next two days and nights, almost non-stop, I printed the edition. By the end of the run, I had developed quite a rapport with the industrious beaver and his triumph. As Raymond’s caption below the beaver so aptly states, “And if I come safe to the end of it, I feel like one escaped.”