Drawing Magazine features Souto's new direction

· 4 min read

Drawing Magazine features Souto’s new direction

Francisco Souto
Greg Nathan | University Communications
Francisco Souto

Francisco Souto, associate professor of art, is featured in the Winter 2014 issue of Drawing Magazine. The article, “In Search of Lost Time, Pencil in Hand,” is about how an injury led Souto to explore new art forms.

Drawing Magazine is the premier, national, quarterly publication focused entirely on drawing. The magazine explores technique and materials, but also reviews contemporary artists.

Souto was contacted by Austin R. Williams, associate editor of Drawing Magazine about six months. Williams asked if Souto would participate in an article about his drawings.

“I have always worked hard on my career, and when you spend five years in a new media making new work, and then you get in a national magazine, it makes you think you’re doing something right,” Souto said. “It’s very exciting.”

Born in Venezuela, Souto moved to the United States in 1997. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking at the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis and his Master of Fine Arts in printmaking at Ohio State University. He has been at UNL since 2004, teaching printmaking and drawing.

Souto is known primarily for his printmaking. He specializes in mezzotint, a process through which tonality is achieved by roughening a copper plate for shading and partially scraped smooth to show light areas.

In 2006 after working on a particularly intense print that took six months to complete, Souto became injured.

“After I finished a very elaborate and challenging piece, my arm literally fell apart,” he said.

As he recovered from his injuries, he began searching for a new way to make art, which led him to drawing.

“The injury I had with mezzotint really allowed me to explore other realms,” Souto said. “Drawing has always been part of my career because I do drawings as preparatory sketches for prints, but understanding drawing as a final medium, that was a revelatory approach.”

He likes the immediacy of drawing.

“In printmaking you make a sketch, you work on the copper plate—in my case, for three months—and then eventually you see the image on paper. It’s a very slow process,” Souto said. “When you make a line on a drawing, you see it right away, for better or for worse. You make a line, and you see it. You erase a line, and you don’t see it. That translates emotionally very rapidly.”

His current work involves drawing on paper, which he laminates onto a wood panel. It’s then covered with a heavy, clear UV protective varnish. Then he sands it off with steel wool to create a tooth and adds more drawing. Then he puts another layer of varnish on it and adds more drawing.

“I do that sandwich in between the layers of drawing up to five to seven times, and that gives the drawing a very physical depth that the traditional graphite on paper wouldn’t achieve by itself,” Souto said.

He’s also introducing color into his work.

“I’ve been adding a little bit of color as a strip on the bottom of the drawing itself,” Souto said. “If I add color as a strip, it gives me the sense that I can change the mood of the drawing without being overly dramatic. Eventually color will come in, but for now, color is creeping in slowly in a natural form.”

Last fall he completed a Visiting Artist Residence at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colo., where he completed six drawings during the two-week residency.

Some of his new work is currently on display at the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney, and he will have an exhibition in mid April at Lincoln’s new Kiechel Fine Art, 1208 O St.

“I show my work nationally and internationally, but every time I do an exhibition in Lincoln, it seems very important and relevant,” Souto said. “You bring the work back home. It’s really a way of sharing that with people.”

He remains very excited by his new focus on drawing, though he also has not left printmaking behind.

“Printmaking is always an essential part of my visual vocabulary,” Souto said. “But I’m still enamored with drawing and I’m learning new techniques and ways to achieve different expression with it. I did that for the last 12 years on printmaking. I’m giving myself the chance to kind of develop the same understanding of the vocabulary. To me, at the end of the day, what I’m trying to do is create art and communicate my feelings. It happens to be drawing at this time. Ten years from now, it might be sculpture, who knows?”

Drawing Magazine will be available on newsstands in early February.

Download the Drawing Magazine article at http://go.unl.edu/souto. Reprinted with permission from Drawing magazine, Winter 2014. © 2014, Interweave Press, a division of F+W Media; www.TheDrawingMagazine.com.

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