Written by Tori Smith, Public Relations and Social Media Intern
Art students sketched on their canvases as guests arrived past DOMA’s normal hours. On Thursday, March 23, DOMA hosted a Printmakers Panel and reception to celebrate A Wild Story: The David and Sarojini Print Collection. Printmakers, community members, students, faculty, and staff joined to enjoy refreshments before the panel at 6 p.m.
The panel included David and Sarojini Johnson, Nathaniel Russell, Colleen McKenna, Randy Salway and Teddy Lepley.
David Johnson, recently retired, taught drawing and printmaking at Ball State for more than 30 years.
Sarojini Johnson is a Professor in the School of Art here at Ball State who has taught for 30 years.
Russell is a 1999 Ball State graduate and former student of the Johnsons who has worked in the San Fransisco Bay Area, and then moved back to his hometown of Indianapolis. He has hosted national exhibitions and been published in the New York Times.
McKenna holds a master’s degree in Printmaking from Indiana University. Her husband, Chris Bonham, was a former student of the Johnsons. Bonham also attended the panel discussion.
Salway is DOMA’s Preparator and Exhibition designer, who has earned his BFA and MFA at Ball State studying with the Johnsons.
Lepley is a former student of the Johnsons and is currently earning his MFA in Printmaking at the University of Milwaukee.
McKenna said that she has a real appreciation for what the Johnsons have brought into printmaking. She said seeing the collection out of their home showed that it was “in the wild,” but still accessible.
Lepley said he found it interesting to see the works on DOMA’s walls instead of in the Johnsons’ home.
“It’s weird to see them on their laps and now here,” Lepley said.
Lepley is inspired by the lineage that art creates, saying he wishes that the public has every opportunity to be inspired by what they see in the collection, and take what they want from it.
Russell, again a former student of the Johnsons, said he feels gratitude for the collection and the Johnsons.
“It’s visceral. It has real teeth and human emotions. It’s not passive, it’s rewarding. It’s a window in the human soul,” he said.
Russell remembers when students would frequent the Johnsons house to view their art collection. He even mowed their lawn. Of course, the Johnsons paid him, as they were “supporting poor art students,” Russell said.
Attendees of the reception moved to the Recital Hall where the panel was held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Director Robert La France asked the panelists questions, and attendees were encouraged to enter questions on notecards delivered to the panelists at the end of the talk. On printmaking, the panelists had a great discussion about their different opinions on the processes.
Lepley said that when he is printmaking, it gives him a feeling of ownership. “I can mess it up, and it’s fine,” he said. “I can re-do the same prints over and over again.”
Russell said that the democratic nature of printmaking was always important to him.
David Johnson said, “Printmakers have a weird intelligence. I warn students that it is an addiction.”
The event was a success with over 70 attendees. Thank you for supporting the museum!
As always, thank you for reading the DOMA insider and make sure to visit the museum soon! DOMA is free and open to the public; we are open Tuesday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Check out our website at bsu.edu/doma.